Wednesday 17 January 2018

Meath boss McEnaney takes late UCD defeat on the chin

McEnaney: no excuses
McEnaney: no excuses
Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

MEATH manager Seamus McEnaney offered no excuses after Meath's surprise defeat at the hands of UCD in Navan on Tuesday night.

The Monaghan man insisted that while his team was an experimental one, they should not be conceding late goals like the one that saw a dogged UCD progress.

Cavan's Josh Hayes stole forward from corner-back to grab the clincher with the last action of the game, condemning McEnaney to defeat in his first competitive game in charge since his high-profile appointment late last year.

"No excuses. We just weren't good enough and we shouldn't be conceding a goal that late in the game. We should have had the game closed out with 15 minutes to go," he said.

McEnaney's preparations had been severely hampered by the weather, with a host of challenge matches called off due to severe conditions, and with the Royals now facing Kilkenny in the O'Byrne Shield in Navan on Saturday, the Monaghan man hinted that he'll use that game to test another batch of hopefuls.

"(The Kilkenny game) will be another opportunity to try out 20 players who have been on the fringes of the Meath panel or who haven't played for Meath before. We have to get four or five trial games played to produce our final panel. That's where our focus is now," he said.

"We have 60 players to get through before we box it off.

"Our priority is to get a 35-man panel together. We had 20 playing tonight, we'll have 20 more playing on Thursday night (in a challenge match against Down) and another 20 next Saturday."

County managers are restricted to a panel of 26 for National League matches, with McEnaney admitting that the rule makes life for first- season managers more difficult.

"It's awkward for training. You need 33 or 34 players to be playing 15 against 15 in training, so it's very awkward to be telling fellas they're not on the squad for the league games.

"The good thing is that it's a challenge to get into the 26, it's a challenge to get into the 20 who get to play and it's a challenge to get into the starting 15.

"They're all challenges for the players as we go along."

Irish Independent

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