A lot done, more to do

Meath… 4-08

Clare… 0-16

Not only was the above one of the greatest political slogans of all time, it also sums up Meath’s positioning in Div. 2 of the Allianz NFL after two rounds perfectly.

After last week’s terrific trip to Cork, producing as good if not better again looked like an onerous task. However, buoyed by the biggest crowd this writer can remember in Pairc Tailteann for a league game in decades, in the early stages it looked as if a carbon copy was on.

Today’s office…

No secret has been made of the fact that Meath are being encouraged to go for goals at every available opportunity and early on it appeared to be a well founded policy decision. As firstly Donal Lenihan tucked away a nice finish and then – after the Dunboyne man had cleverly scored past him for a second time – the Clare goalkeeper David Sexton made an absolute hash of the following kick out.

Thus allowing Jordan Morris send the umpire for the green flag for the second team in 15 seconds and third over all. It wasn’t all plain sailing for the home side though as firstly they lost the very influential Shane Walsh to a hamstring injury and then the Banner County – driven on by the hard working Cian O’Dea – worked themselves right back into the contest.

On the call of half time, Morris claimed a fine Mark and duly split the posts at the hospital end, as the home side took a 3-03 to 0-07 advantage to the dressing rooms at half time. In a move that was symbolic of how the day had gone for Colm O’Rourke’s charges, Morris was out of luck with an effort for another ‘major’.

Chief Disabled Viewing Steward Liam after doing the tea run!

In the end, Jason Scully’s second half three-pointer – constructed by great combination play between himself and Ronan Jones – proved to be crucial as, on two separate occasions, the blue and gold ran off five points in a row without reply.

Still, one suspects that if anyone offered the Meath camp four points after two games, having scored seven goals, conceded none and amassed a score difference of +8, they’d have ran to the nearest vault with it. Are there items to work on? Of course.

Conceding a combined total of 35 points in two games isn’t ideal by any means. A tally of only eight points is only half, if that, of what’s generally required to win games at this level and in my own humble opinion most concerning of all must be how Cork last week and today’s opponents went on runs of consecutive scores unchecked.

Other than that, the most obvious cause for alarm – as an untypically irate O’Rourke seethed after full time – has to be the mounting injury list inhibiting his panel. Exacerbated by the demands being placed on players by the Sigerson Cup.

Now, myself and the Meath manager have polarised opinions on the colleges competition. If I’d my way they’d be dropkicked to the far side of the moon on a one-way ticket.

The third level competitions are the biggest blight on the GAA calender. A complete waste of time that serve no purpose and an unecessary demand on already highly taxed players. As Meath are now finding out to their cost.

Still, looking at the overall picture, the headline above sums things up nicely. By no means a bad position to be in.

MEATH: H. Hogan; A. O’Neill, M. Flood, C. Hickey; J. O’Connor (0-1), D. Keogan, H. O’Higgins; R. Jones, D. McGowan (0-1); C. O’Sullivan, J. Scully (1-1), D. Campion (0-1); J. Morris (1-2), D. Lenihan (2-2, 0-2f), S. Walsh.

Subs: D. Moriarity for Walsh, S. Crosby for O’Sullivan (B/S), B. Conlon for McGowan, R. Clarke for Hickey, Crosby for Campion, S. McEntee for Scully.

Referee: Niall Cullen (Fermanagh)

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