Saturday 17 February 2018

Don't write me off -- Geraghty

Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

MEATH selector Graham Geraghty is holding out hope that he could play again for the Royals and hasn't ruled out featuring again this season.

The 1999 All-Ireland winning captain has struggled with an Achilles injury since shortly after sensationally rejoining the Meath panel last year.

Injury curtailed his involvement in 2011 and he has featured just twice for Meath this season, coming off the bench against Westmeath in February and Kildare in early March.

And while he continues to be part of the set-up as a member of Seamus McEnaney's back-room team, he visited the Santry Sports Surgery clinic yesterday in a bid to keep his inter-county playing career alive.

"I have to get an injection in the Achilles so hopefully I might play some part later on," said the 38-year-old.

"I think that usually takes three or four weeks to kick in. I haven't ruled it out 100pc yet. But at the minute I'm just concentrating on the selecting side of it and getting the team ready for the next day against Carlow."

Despite a slow start, Meath avoided a shock defeat at the hands of Wicklow. The Garden County led by 0-5 to 0-0 after 14 minutes as a Meath team that included four starting debutants took time to settle.

However, they eventually took control, hitting 0-15 of their 0-16 from play to secure a quarter-final date with Carlow in Tullamore on Sunday.

"There were a lot of nerves among the players coming into the game," said Geraghty.

"They didn't really know what to expect. We had played a couple of challenge matches and did reasonably well, but there was always that bit of trepidation.

"We started very badly, but the players dug deep and did well to get it back to a point by half-time and then kicked on in the second half.

"But we still have a lot to do. They had a couple of goal chances near the end and could have brought the game level only for David Gallagher pulled off a great save when there was only three points in it. We have plenty to work on but it's a start for us anyway."


That victory over Wicklow marked a first competitive win since they had 12 points to spare over Westmeath on February 12.

With Joe Sheridan on the edge of the square, they adopted a more direct kicking game, and Geraghty revealed that this has sat well with the squad.

"During the league we were playing a lot of short handpassing out of defence but we have gone back to more of a kicking game, going back to old-style Meath football. You have to mix it, you can't kick it all the time. The lads are buying into it and are more confident. It's working at the minute."

The surprise deployment of Graham Reilly at midfield worked well for the Royals but McEnaney's options are likely to broaden this week with Gary O'Brien, Stephen Bray and Paddy Gilsenan all in contention for game-time against Luke Dempsey's Carlow.

It's unlikely that McEnaney will make many changes, though Bray is thought to be the most likely to start, while Donal Keogan should deputise for injured captain Seamus Kenny.

And while expectation remains low in the county, Geraghty said that the squad are determined to extend their summer into August.

"I suppose unless you win something it's going to be considered a bad year after getting relegated in the league," he said.

"We'll look to get a decent run in Leinster, and if we don't we'll go into the qualifiers. If we got to the quarter-final stages we'd be happy, and from there we'll see what happens."

Irish Independent

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