Friday 19 January 2018

'If anyone can beat Dubs, it's us'

Graham Reilly, Meath. Picture credit: Paul Mohan / SPORTSFILE
Graham Reilly, Meath. Picture credit: Paul Mohan / SPORTSFILE
Colm Keys

Colm Keys

Meath attacker Graham Reilly insists the Royals will bring confidence to their Leinster semi-final with Dublin on Sunday week, despite the overwhelming advantages the All-Ireland champions have.

Meath struggled to shake off Louth in the second half of their quarter-final on Sunday, winning by just four points after leading by five at half-time.

Reilly acknowledged that as champions Dublin are the "benchmark" but he isn't prepared to stand back and admire them.

"You have to be confident. I always say that if there's one team in Leinster that can beat Dublin, it's Meath," he said. "We'll have to play our own game, our own system, our own style and try to nullify theirs.

"Laois identified a few weaknesses in their full-back line. I'm sure Dublin will have that secure for the next day so we have to identify different weaknesses that they have."

Meath were the last team to beat Dublin in a Leinster Championship match when they put five goals past them in 2010, the Dubs' only provincial defeat in 12 seasons.

Reilly is sure his side can again ask Dublin searching questions.

"We need to get our game right, our system right and if we can do that I've no doubt we can be there or thereabouts," he said.

Reilly feels they can build on the Louth performance, their first competitive game in 10 weeks, but they will need goals, which didn't come in Parnell Park on Sunday.

"We created 19 chances in the first half I think, kicked 11. I think in total we missed about 3-10. If you're going to do that against Dublin, you're going to have to kick 2-5 of that 3-10 to have any chance of being in there with them," he said.

"You're going to have to score goals against Dublin to put them to the sword."

Reilly feels Meath's forwards, including himself, didn't defend well enough against Louth and left their defenders with too much to do at times, saying: "The initial pressure on the ball needs to be better, from up front."

Meath won't have their trio of injured defenders - Conor McGill, Brian Power and James McEntee - back the next day, which will really stretch their resources against the champions.

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