Monday 15 July 2019

Dubs' bubble has to burst sometime - Royal legend

No holding back: Martin O’Connell has urged Meath to play on the front foot. Photo: Sportsfile
No holding back: Martin O’Connell has urged Meath to play on the front foot. Photo: Sportsfile
Martin Breheny

Martin Breheny

Meath's Millennium man Martin O'Connell has urged the current crop of Royals to ignore the negativity about their prospects against Dublin in Sunday's Leinster final, believe in themselves and play as if their lives depended on it.

Dublin are odds-on favourites to win the title for a ninth successive year, bringing their winning provincial run to 27 games, almost all of which were achieved by big margins.

O'Connell, who was chosen at left half-back on the Team of the Millennium in 2000, says Meath must disregard the general view that they have no chance of causing an upset.

"They need to stay positive, ignore what's being said, trust themselves and what they're doing and take it from there. Everything needs to go right for them and Dublin need to drop back from where they've been, but it's sport, so you never know what's going to happen," he said.

He regards the opening 20 minutes as crucial from Meath's perspective, a period in which Andy McEntee's men must avoid being swamped.

"Against Dublin, there's no way back for any team if that happens. I don't think Dublin are as good as they were, so you've got to put it up to them. The bubble has to burst some time so if chances come along, they have to be taken.

"You'll hear after games about how it could be different if teams took their chances against Dublin, but they didn't. Meath need to be clinical," said O'Connell.

He believes that they have the fitness level to compete with Dublin, who haven't lost to Meath in the championship since 2010.

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"The past doesn't count. It's all about now and how best to take on Dublin. Meath have got to go out believing they can win - it's the only way. Trying to contain Dublin hasn't worked for anyone ," he said.

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