Monday 23 September 2019

O'Mahonys defeat continues a worrying trend for Royal County

Navan O'Mahonys manager Davy Nelson
Navan O'Mahonys manager Davy Nelson
Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

In the wake of their win in the Meath senior football championship earlier this year, Navan O'Mahonys manager Davy Nelson promised his side would "show up" in their Leinster championship game against Longford champions Killoe.

As it happened, O'Mahonys fell two points short last Sunday. It was hardly a disgrace, considering Killoe had won by 11 points when the sides met in 2012 and that the Longford men had amassed a 5-11 tally in their opening-round game in Leinster.

However, it continued a worrying trend for Meath clubs in Leinster and added further weight to the theory that Meath football's revival is well off.

A team from the Royal County hasn't won a Leinster title since Dunshaughlin way back in 2002 and you have to go back to 2004 since Skryne reached a final.

It should be pointed out that Meath teams have never thrived in the Leinster and All-Ireland club championships. Even when they Royals were one of the best county sides around their club teams failed to regularly make an impact outside of their county boundaries. Meath outfits have collected just four provincial titles behind Dublin, Laois and Carlow. And no team from the Royal County has won an All-Ireland club title.

And since 2004, Meath clubs have struggled for any kind of traction.

Only Skryne in 2010 have managed to win more than one game in the province when they saw off Wicklow's Rathnew and Castletown of Wexford before losing to Rhode.

In the same time Dublin have produced seven provincial winners.

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In all, Meath teams have won six games in Leinster in 11 campaigns, with one of those wins coming against the Kilkenny champions in 2005. Navan O'Mahonys have firmly established themselves as the best team in the county, winning three of the last four Keegan Cups but they haven't got off the ground in the province. In fact, in the last five years Summerhill's win over Louth's Newtown Blues stands alone.

Incidentally, O'Mahonys' defeat to Killoe also continued the run Longford teams have had on teams from the Royal County.

Earlier this year, the Longford minors saw off what was considered as one of the better teams to emerge from Meath in recent years. Going back to 2011, Meath dumped All-Ireland champions Dublin out of the Leinster U-21 Championship only to themselves be turned over by Longford.

This latest defeat comes on the back of a summer that saw the county suffer a first championship defeat to Westmeath. Veterans Stephen Bray and Kevin Reilly have also stepped away since then as Mick O'Dowd continues his extensive rebuilding process.

It'll be the New Year at least before we see if there's a turn in the road ahead for Meath.

Irish Independent

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