Sunday 18 February 2018

Former boss Boylan not surprised by Royal revival

Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

SEAN BOYLAN refused to be drawn on the failed heave against Seamus McEnaney that almost saw the legendary manager back at the helm of the Royals earlier this year.

Boylan was in line to replace McEnaney after Meath were relegated to Division 3 but the county executive narrowly failed to secure the required two-thirds majority to oust McEnaney at a county board meeting in April.

Since then, Meath have made a remarkable turnaround -- after wins over Wicklow and Carlow, the Royals recorded a shock win over Kildare in the Leinster semi-final to set up the first Meath-Dublin Leinster SFC final clash since 2001. But the Dunboyne man insists he isn't surprised at the change in fortunes.

"I'd be very surprised if they didn't (turn things around) because I know the calibre of lad that is there," said Boylan, who steered Meath to four All-Ireland titles between 1987 and 1999. "They have taken some stick in their own county.

"But I always said, there is a certain madness in Meath football. You can't take that out of us. You can't structure us. It is a mad belief you can always win and it has always been the same."

And with the five-goal defeat to Meath in the 2010 Leinster semi-final still fresh in their memory, Boylan believes Dublin won't lack motivation.

"Knowing some of the Dublin management, they would have liked to have beaten Meath on their way to the All-Ireland because of what happened the year before," insisted Boylan. "So they have a serious carrot. Some of our lads have nothing to lose."

Meanwhile, Benny Coulter has revealed he should be able to play for at least 50 minutes of Sunday's Ulster final. Down's former All Star forward has recovered well from the broken ankle he sustained 10 weeks ago and came off the bench for the last five minutes of the Ulster semi-final win over Monaghan.

Now he believes he is ready to start his first Ulster final appearance since 2003 but will accept whatever role James McCartan gives him against Donegal. "I'm passed the stage where I need any injections,'' he said.

"Medically, I'm fine to play so it's up to James now. I have built myself up this last two or three weeks, playing 20 minutes here and there for the club and I played half of a challenge match against Sligo. I'm delighted with the way things have gone since the semi-final.

"Obviously I can't play a full match yet, but they are building me up bit by bit. I hope to be up around the 50, 55-minute mark by Sunday.''

Dan Gordon is also fit again for Down after missing the wins over Fermanagh and Monaghan. While Conor Garvey sits it out through suspension, Aidan Brannigan is back after serving a one-match ban.

Irish Independent

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