Sunday 20 October 2019

Focused McGill issues Royal warning

Conor McGill. Photo: Philip Fitzpatrick/Sportsfile
Conor McGill. Photo: Philip Fitzpatrick/Sportsfile
Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

Trevor Giles didn't mince his words. With promotion to Division 1 secured, his ambitions for Meath have already moved on.

The summer offers an opportunity for progress.

Dublin and Kildare are on the other side of the draw, meaning one of the Royals, Offaly, Carlow, Laois and Westmeath will make a Leinster final.

From there, you're only a win away from the rarefied air of the 'Super 8s' and last week Giles insisted that has to be Meath's aim now.

However, Meath full-back Conor McGill is wary of such expectation.

After all, it's less than a year since they were knocked out of the province by Longford, the midlanders' first championship win over the Royals since 1982, meaning their date with Offaly in Navan on May 12 is their only focus.

"You can't look past the first round," McGill said.

"If you look past the first round to see who you might be playing the next day, you get caught out.

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"Everything we're doing, we're just focusing on Offaly. If we get over them, then we'll look on to a quarter-final but you see it so often in championship games or one-off games that the so-called favourite might be looking past it and they get caught on the hop.

"So everything we do is going to be focusing on Offaly and we'll take it from there."

Leinster has been a foregone conclusion since Meath took their last provincial title in 2010 but McGill insists they can't think like that.

"If you're just going out to make up numbers, there's no real point. We're going out there, we want to challenge ourselves against the best, put it up to them.

"If we get to play them in there, give it a go and we're going to be going into… we're competing to win Leinster, we're not competing just to make up numbers and get knocked out and go through back doors and that."

After securing promotion back to the top flight for the first time since 2006, Meath's players went back to their clubs for two rounds of championship which were wrapped up last weekend.

And McGill is hopeful the promise of the spring can be carried into the summer.

"Promotion was huge. It sets us up that everyone is in such a good place at the moment.

"We set our stall out, we wanted to get up and if you don't meet your first target of the year it might have negative effects on the team and the camp and that but we got promotion, so everyone's in a good place.

"There's a good buzz about the place in the county itself so we have momentum going into the championship."

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