Thursday 22 February 2018

It's up to rest of Leinster to catch Dubs - McEntee

Meath manager Andy McEntee. Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
Meath manager Andy McEntee. Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

Meath boss Andy McEntee insists its up to the rest of Leinster to close the gap on Dublin.

The race for honours in the eastern province starts on Sunday week with Dublin priced as short as 1/33 in some places to win a seventh title in a row in Leinster and an 11th crown in 12 years, with only Meath breaking that run of dominance in controversial fashion in 2010.

But Royal county manager McEntee believes that the onus is on rest of province to catch up on Jim Gavin's side.

"You hear a lot of people complaining about Dublin, that they have all this, and all that. Dublin have set the bar, and it's up to other teams to follow," he said.

"Meath are putting structures in place, have put structures in place, and things have improved a lot in the last couple of years. I think it's obvious Kildare are doing the same, and Louth, Westmeath. Everybody is improving.

"Dublin have probably stolen a march, and do have some natural advantages, but I think ultimately they will be responsible for raising the standards in Leinster overall."

Gash McEntee has been boosted by the return to action of Kilmainham's Mickey Newman after ankle trouble, though captain Graham Reilly sat out a recent challenge game defeat to Cavan after suffering a gash to his knee.

However, he is expected to be fit for their championship opener against either Wicklow or Louth. And McEntee insists his main aim is to reach Croke Park.

"I want to go as far as anyone, if that's last eight, fine. Last 16 not so fine. But our immediate goal is to get to Croke Park, and that means beating Louth or Wicklow. After that I think we have a group of players capable of performing in Croke Park.

"I think they're a decent group, a lot of decent players, a lot of good athletes. And I would have known most of them, whether with the Meath minors, or with Ashbourne.

"So no illusions, one way or the other. I thought they can do something, and my mind hasn't (changed) so far."

Irish Independent

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