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'Our game against Sky Blues will take on a life of its own'


FROM ten points clear with 20 minutes remaining, Meath collapsed to lose a Leinster quarter-final. They later limped out of the qualifiers after a nine-point hammering in Limerick – despite scoring four late goals.

"That was awful ... you couldn't even attempt to sugar-coat it any other way. After the previous year, we got to an All-Ireland semi-final against Cork, got beaten; we really felt that we could push on then and build on our first year with Colm Coyle.

"There was the infamous row with Dublin that year (in the league at Parnell Park) and a few of us getting suspended. Then, losing a ten-point lead to Wexford ... things just spiralled after that and we just couldn't get ourselves back on track."



"You're embarrassed for yourself, you're embarrassed as a group: that you'd let yourself down, you'd let your team-mates down. But for a county that had built up so much tradition – and this is no disrespect to Limerick or anything like that, but they absolutely hammered us. I think we were 20 points down at one stage and it was just ... an embarrassment.

"You were afraid nearly to show your face. You just knew that everybody was talking about you and that you didn't deserve to wear the jersey and stuff like that.

"It's not that you went out to put in a performance like that. What was more frustrating was that we had trained so hard, and then for us to put in a performance like that – again you were questioning 'What the hell are we even doing here?'"



A 'back door' rematch in Páirc Tailteann, and an improving Meath are scenting revenge for their earlier Leinster exit. Then Kenny, who has excelled in his duel with Emmet Bolton, is forced off with a head wound and – in his absence – the marauding Bolton landed a decisive 1-1 in the home straight.

"I went in and the Doc stitched me up and I bled so much that after I was lying down, I got up, the legs just wobbled and I think there was a bit of concussion. I don't want to sound like ... but I would have preferred maybe just to bandage it up and play on.

"That was fiercely frustrating. I would have felt that after going through what we had earlier on in the year, escaping relegation and not having played that well in the (Leinster) championship against Kildare, that we were starting to turn a corner. And then to be dumped out was, again, another frustration. A frustrating year, to go with the one after it."



"We're not naive enough to think just going out there and playing our best football will be enough. There's going to be tactics in it ...

"Dublin are a quality side. They're obviously on a crest of a wave. They're the current league champions. They're All-Ireland champions two years ago and current Leinster champions. They're very strong underage.

"So if you're to look into all of that then it's a massive task and a massive challenge for us. Again, I think Meath and Dublin games take on a life of their own because there's a uniqueness about the fixture. Irrespective of how either team is going prior to that meeting, it just brings out the best in both teams."