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'We must improve to overcome Wexford' - O'Dowd

WHAT will do for day-one won't win a Leinster title – and it probably won't suffice for their upcoming semi-final against Wexford either.

"I'd wait until we look at it on DVD and really analyse it then. There's no doubt we'll need to improve by 20pc," declared Mick O'Dowd, reflecting on Meath's oscillating five-point success over Wicklow.

This was O'Dowd's first championship outing as Meath boss and it suited him that they were the last challenger into the Leinster SFC ring.

"To be honest, I was happy with it because there's a lot of change going on in terms of the dressing-room, in terms of the personnel there and in terms of us as a new management," he said.

"You prepare well, you're not really sure until the day, but the lads did it – 1-17 is good scoring."

Graham Reilly took up the same point. "We were the last team to play but that's not a bad thing. We had a couple of in-house games that brings you up to that level.

"It's our first championship game. We won by five points. We would have taken a one-point win but we know we have to lift our game if we're going to beat Wexford," he warned.

The jet-heeled attacker was enthused by the first summer outing of a young rookie who would probably beat him in the sprints – the electric Eamonn Wallace, who crowned his SFC debut with three points from play. But having two new faces in the full-forward line (Michael Newman mixed some impressive deadball strikes from distance with a couple of fluffed shorter ones into the wind) meant that several established names were warming the bench. And this enhanced competition can only be good, according to Reilly.

"Joe (Sheridan) came on there and got an unbelievable score," he reflected.

"That's what we need. It's something we maybe lacked over the last couple of years but this year lads like Brian Farrell, Seamus (Kenny), Joe, Paddy Gilsenan – lads who would start on many teams in the country – are sitting on our subs bench.

"Those lads are pushing to get a start the next day. They want their turn and, you never know, they could be in the next day."