Sheridan axed in Meath reshuffle as O'Dowd aims to knock Dublin off perch
THE dust has hardly settled after the All-Ireland SFC final and already one of Dublin's fiercest rivals has commenced plans to end their neighbours' reign – at least in Leinster – by dropping a number of established stars from their panel.
Joe Sheridan is the highest-profile casualty as Meath boss Mick O'Dowd starts to bare his teeth as he sets out on his second of a three-year term in charge of the Royals.
Sheridan was informed following his club Seneschalstown's exit from the Meath SFC that he wasn't included in plans as the county seek to end Dublin's dominance in Leinster.
His omission will come as a major shock to Meath supporters, though he only played a bit-part in this year's championship campaign and was mostly used by O'Dowd as an impact sub.
The 29-year-old did start in Round 4 of the All-Ireland qualifiers against Tyrone but was withdrawn early in the second half as Meath exited the championship.
A member of the county minor team that lost out to Derry in the 2002 All-Ireland final, Sheridan was handed a senior championship debut by the legendary Sean Boylan in 2004. However he had to wait until 2010 for his only Leinster SFC medal when his late, controversial goal won Meath the title and deprived Louth of a first provincial success since 1957.
Sheridan previously left the panel for a spell in 2007, basing his decision on a lack of appetite for the game, as the county progressed through the qualifiers to reach the All-Ireland semi-final.
Then in 2012 he emigrated to take up employment in Boston but returned home six weeks later and resumed his inter-county career.
Other high-profile players surplus to requirements include Brian Farrell, Peadar Byrne and Caoimhin King as well as Ciaran Lenehan and Brian Dillon.
Along with Sheridan, Farrell is one of Meath's longest-serving players and was named supporters' club player of the year in 2012.
The Nobber man made his championship debut back in 2004 when coming on as a substitute against Wicklow in the opening round of the Leinster championship.
The semi-finals of the Meath senior, intermediate and junior championships take place this weekend and O'Dowd and his selectors Sean Kelly and Trevor Giles will be attempting to unearth new talent for next year's championship and Division 2 league campaigns.