It’s still in the DNA but needs sprinkling around

Meath… 2-15

Down… 2-13

What defines leadership? Of course in different aspects of life it means different things. Ukrainian President Zelenski leading his people to resist the tyranny of Putin is probably the greatest example the world has seen in generations.

To take things back to more mundane sporting levels though, think of Peter Stringer’s try that all but guaranteed Munster their first Heineken Cup success. Or the same player’s tap tackle which prevented the try which would’ve all but guaranteed England the Grand Slam in the Foot And Mouth year of 2001.

What about Paul McGrath’s herculean efforts in New York’s Giants Stadium in 1994 or Stephen Cluxton’s ice cold execution of the free which ended Dublin’s 16 year wait for an All Ireland SFC Final victory in 2011. Now take it back to a very local perspective.

Specifically, St Loman’s Park in Trim on Saturday afternoon and the outstanding efforts of Meath Minor hurling captain Kyle Ennis. The youngster from the host club and his colleagues were in need of a lift after last week’s defeat to Westmeath.

Kyle Ennis hit 1-11

It looked decidedly unlikely early on, mind you, when the men from the Mourne Mountains led by 0-03 to 1-07 after 20 minutes and by half time that buffer had ballooned to 0-06 to 2-08. That grew still further after the break when the visitors hit the first two scores after the break.

When Eoin Kellegher and Anthony Healy missed good goal chances, it appeared it was going to be one of those days, but when that man Ennis followed up on Healy’s effort and netted, it put momentum behind the home side who already had their dander up after being enraged by a few refereeing decisions.

They channelled their understandable frustration in the best way possible and when another Ennis, Luke from Clan Na nGael, raised another green flag it put O’Neill’s young warriors right on the coat tails of their resilient adversaries.

In the end though, it was only fitting that the excellent Kyle Ennis had the final say on his home field when, in hitting the game’s final three points he gave Meath and unlikely but wholly deserved victory.

MEATH – D. O’Higgins; P. Moran, F. McHale, C. McNally; S. Howley, A. Healy, E. Kellegher; F. O’Flynn, T. Anderson; M. Levey, R. Fay, M. Fisher (0-2); C. Murphy (0-1), O. Daly, K. Ennis (1-11). SUBS – L. Ennis (1-0) for Howley, P. Jordan (0-1) for Anderson, M. Heffernan for Murphy.

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