Sunday 15 September 2019

Meath legend Giles believes it's 'Super 8s' or bust for Royals

Meath manager Andy McEntee. Photo: Philip Fitzpatrick/Sportsfile
Meath manager Andy McEntee. Photo: Philip Fitzpatrick/Sportsfile
Michael Verney

Michael Verney

With promotion to Division 1 for 2020 already in the bag, anything less than a spot in the 'Super 8s' come summer will be deemed a failure by Royal legend Trevor Giles.

Years of perseverance were rewarded with Andy McEntee's men returning to the league's top tier and Giles believes their upturn in fortunes has created a swell of optimism around the county.

Offaly are their Leinster SFC preliminary round opponents on May 12 but Giles is hoping they can negotiate that hurdle en route to a long and fruitful championship.

"That has to be the goal, the Super 8s has to be. It won't be easy. There's probably six or seven of those places locked up but in terms of the last two places Meath have to be in the conversation," Giles said at the launch of the 2019 Beko Club Bua programme.

Neglect Giles - a two-time All-Ireland winner - feels neglect of underage development in the county caused their decline in recent years but he hopes that slide has been arrested.

The 44-year-old admits that "the game changed and Meath were slow to adapt" but he's confident that they can continue their fine run of form in the summer, especially with some chinks of hope emanating from Dublin's indifferent league campaign.

"People in Meath are wondering, 'Have Dublin come back a little bit?' Maybe other teams have moved on. We just haven't seen that in other years, Dublin losing three league games," he said. "Look at Con O'Callaghan losing a Sigerson semi-final, look at Paul Mannion and Cian O'Sullivan losing a Leinster club final. So some Dublin players are starting to experience defeat.

"Maybe they're human after all! Then it may fuel them too. Those are just things that didn't happen in other years. I think the general public are excited with the championship this year."

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