MEATH'S prodigal son Joe Sheridan is adamant that the Royal's annus horribilis can still be salvaged as the summer approaches, insisting "I wouldn't have come back otherwise."
Sheridan (pictured inset) landed back on Irish soil early yesterday morning after answering a plea from embattled manager, Seamus McEnaney, to return to the Meath panel just six weeks after emigrating to Boston.
He will immediately link up with the squad once they re-convene after a round of club fixtures and Sheridan says he remains confident Meath possess the necessary artillery to turn their disastrous 2012 around.
"I know the players are good enough," he insisted. "I wouldn't have come back otherwise. I wouldn't have come back if I didn't think we could go somewhere. If I thought it was that bad, that the team had gone that bad, I wouldn't have come back. I know that's not the case.
"It's amazing how little things can turn situations around. If you get a good run in Leinster, all of a sudden you wouldn't be worrying about what happened a few weeks go."
On the circumstances of his return, Sheridan explained: "He (McEnaney) rang me the night of the meeting and said 'listen, I want you home. I need you home. Is there any chance you can come home? I'm not taking no for an answer'.
"I was in two minds, I spoke to my family at home and a few different lads. It was hard to leave because there were a lot of opportunities over there. But after the way things went over the last few weeks, if I could do anything just to help out the lads then I said I would.
"Especially with all the negativity going around at the moment. If you could even just give a boost and try give them a hand out."
Though he was in a different time zone when it happened, Meath's relegation and the subsequent unsuccessful heave against McEnaney didn't go unnoticed by Sheridan, developments he reckons, have had detrimental effects on the players.
"I can imagine the way the lads are feeling at the minute with the way the results went in the league and the mess that went on," Sheridan added. "I'd say their heads are wrecked and the abuse they are all getting, it's not fair."
TYRONE full-back Justin McMahon will not play any part in Sunday's NFL Division 2 final with Kildare in Croke Park (2.0). McMahon has missed training since suffering a hamstring injury in a club match 10 days ago while attacker Martin Penrose has also been confirmed as a starting absentee as he continues his rehabilitation from a dislocated shoulder.
"He'll (Penrose) be in contention for a place on the panel, but not a starting place," explained Tyrone selector, Tony Donnelly.
Tyrone's opening Ulster SFC opponents Armagh have received a boost by the return from Australia of midfielder Kieran Toner. The Granemore clubman left for an indefinite period of time for Melbourne in December but attended county training on Tuesday night as a spectator and is expected to resume action next week.