When doing the piece yesterday with the Meath team for today’s game against Monaghan, the point was made that the game represented an opportunity for lads to put their hands up for selection for the forthcoming Championship opener against Wexford or Wicklow. Well. Nobber’s Jordan Morris did that and more as Andy McEntee’s team battled back to earn the point their efforts deserved. Not only on the day, but throughout this elongated National League campaign.
Granted, their stay at the top table was unfortunately a brief one but gut feeling is they will have undoubtedly learned from the experience. Which will stand to them in the short and long term. Today, hardly surprisingly, the Farney County’s marquee forward Conor McManus was a constant threat but it was a goal from half forward Micheal Bannigan which appeared to leave the home team comfortable approaching half time.
However, classy late first half points from Ronan Jones and Jason Scully left only the Monaghan ‘major’ between the sides at the break. On the resumption, Meath actually assumed a degree of control with Cathal Hickey and Donal Keogan tenacious in defence, Ronan Jones outstanding at centre field and substitute Morris imperious in attack, Bryan Menton’s goal appeared to have set them on their way to a deserved if unlikely success.
However, if there was one blot on the green and gold copybook, it was again in the form of a malfunctioning kick-out which presented McManus with the type of opportunity you’d expect him to convert in his sleep. That left ‘Banty’ McEneaney’s charges in what might have seemed an unassailable position.
Mind you, whatever they might lack in some departments, this Meath team has all the fortitude, skill and mental strength for which the county’s sides have been famed for over the years and even though a late point from Kieran Duffy appeared to seal the deal for the white and blue, the gut felt there was hope.
And so it was. Driven on by Keogan, Jones, Menton, and substitute Morris and Joey Wallace they dug and chipped away before the Nobber newcomer got the final say he and his colleagues deserved, not only on the day but throughout the campaign.
We roll on to the winter Championship with confidence.