Do you often wonder where certain phrases originate from? Tonight, hope in this seat would be that the mantra will be ‘What doesn’t break you will only leave you stronger’ in the Meath dressing room.
Those of us who’ve been around long enough – none more so than the Meath manager and his assistant my neighbour – know that Meath teams having tough days against the Oak Leaf County is nothing new.
If there was ever a team who had a hex over Sean during his tenure it was Derry. It didn’t take long in the wind and driving rain for proverbial lightening to strike again.
This time in the guise of centre back Padraig McGrogan raiding upfield and put Ethan Doherty in for a goal before Meath knew what way the wind was blowing.
Rory Gallagher’s charges tacked on two further points before Thomas O’Reilly got the visitors off the mark, before Brian Conlon and Donal Lenihan clipped over scores for the visitors.
Alas, any inclinations they had of getting themselves back into the game evaporated as quickly as they had bubbled up when – not for the first time – Niall Toner found the Meath net right on the call of half time.
While it would be hard to disagree with Colm O’Rourke’s assertion that the game was as good as over at half time, he was also correct in saying that his players went about their task greater spirit and confidence after the break.
Points were registered by Ronan Jones, Lenihan and substitutes Diarmuid Moriarity and Aaron Lynch. I will openly admit to being more than a little bit p****d off seeing Donal hauled off immediately after kicking a point.
Though in fairness to An mBainisteoir – and Diarmuid Moriarity – it was a move which was rewarded almost instantly when the Curraha clubman put Thomas O’Reilly in for goal number eight of this League campaign for the green and gold.
Thereafter, he also lofted a fine point over. A tough night shift for sure, but one from which plenty can be taken. The spirit and work ethic within the group is both obvious and admirable.
Tonight’s result probably offers a more realistic appraisal of where Meath are in terms of the overall football scene in the country. Derry were one of the top four teams in the country last season. We are a long way off that.
But that’s OK. If you take heed of the current Red Bull ad, even Julius Caeser ran out of fuel while building Rome. The likes of tonight are tough to take, no doubt.
However, nobody in the green corner should require any motivation this week given who will be awaiting then in the opposite side of the ring.
The road ahead doesn’t look too bad. Best not rule anything in, or, more importantly, out, at this stage.
SCORERS: T. O’Reilly (1-1), D. Lenihan (0-2), R. Jones, B. Conlon, D. Moriarity, A. Lynch (0-1 each)
MEATH: H. Hogan; A. O’Neill, M. Flood, H. O’Higgins; J. O’Connor, D. Keogan, C. Hickey; R. Jones, B. Conlon; C. O’Sullivan, J. Scully, D. Campion; J. Morris, D. Lenihan, T. O’Reilly.
SUBS: D. McGowan for Conlon, S. Crosby for Campion, D. Moriarity for Lenihan, A. Lynch for O’Reilly, E. Harkin for O’Higgins.
Referee: Liam Devanney (Mayo)