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NFL Division 2

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Replying To royaldunne:  "A great weekend awaits next week. Nearly every team has something to play, ok in Meath case it's not as daunting, just ensure they don't lose by 10 points, and we promoted, however the fact that we are not yet technically promoted will bring a huge crowd to navan, also with Fermanagh knowing a win will promote them should see the Erne men descend on navan in huge numbers, up in donegal both Kildare and donegal know a win for either and a win for Meath promotes the winner, and don't even get me started at the relegation end of things.
On a separate note I just want to thank the players and management for their efforts this year, as was said previously the Tyrone game gave Meath the belief that was needed a few extra lads thrown in with the enthusiasm of youth just finished off the job. We were talking about it in the stand yesterday that Graham Reilly is the only non dub still playing that has a Leinster medal , here is another stat he has never played in division one football either, and when he came on yesterday he had ball in the net within 2 minutes (and himself) but that just shows what a fantastic player he has been for Meath he totally changed the game when introduced, donal keoghan has never played in top flight either, for the gaa in general these players need to show what they can do against the best. Honestly I'm giddy with excitement."
As much as I agree RoyalDunne, and enjoy your enthusiasm, I cant help but feel these are only (while definitely) steps in the correct direction.

We are 100% going upwards, however its only mid March.

We need to secure promotion, contest and win a Division 2 league final and at the very least reach a Leinster Final and Super 8's, in order to really measure our undoubted progression/development.

Upwards and on.

David (Meath) - Posts: 516 - 18/03/2019 09:36:52    2173325

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Replying To Young_gael:  "Well most people I talk to are Meath people like myself and tbh we're all very unsure of this league. Meath are extremely unpredictable, as are a lot of the teams in this years Div.2, and who goes up and who goes down is far from an easy pick atm. Tbh if youre wondering why Meath posters seem quiet its because quietly there isnt too much confidence anymore, and many are awaiting the first match v. Tipp before saying anything."
Would Mickey Burke have one?, 2010 was the year he broke his leg.

bdbuddah (Meath) - Posts: 606 - 18/03/2019 09:46:51    2173329

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Replying To Donegalman:  "I would have said the same thing a week ago or more, but I have read a lot of posts by Kildare supporters and they seem to be very down on the performances of their team this season so far. I think that will be a huge factor in the last game away to us. I know that we haven't exactly set the world alight either in division 2, in fact we have been very poor indeed - before the Cork game I thought that it would be a season changing game for us for better or worse. It so happens that it worked out for better. I believe that we have a bit of belief now plus a home fixture. Dangerous talk indeed, but I really can't see Kildare upping their game enough in a week to beat us in Ballyshannon.


Ps, congrats to Meath on their very likely promotion. They deserve it and should have beaten us in ballybofey 6 weeks ago. It could be a very interesting season for them if they continue their development through the spring and beyond."
I was a very disappointed man leaving Donegal the night you beat us but fair play to Donegal supporters that night a good few came over and were very nice about it , and it's good thing to see in sport

meath1977 (Meath) - Posts: 415 - 18/03/2019 11:09:05    2173349

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Without tempting faith congrats to Meath and their supporters here esp the ever enthusiastic rd on gaining promotion. Very much all to play for in Ballyshannon next weekend. Donegal were lucky enough to win their last year despite dominating the game for large periods. Kildare were unlucky to have a man sent off and a goal chalked off. They could and should have scored 1 or 2 more so Donegal will need to be tighter at the back this weekend.

panamasam (Australia) - Posts: 2063 - 18/03/2019 12:09:16    2173367

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It looks like Meath will finally gain promotion back to Div 1. It will be good for the GAA to have them back at the top table and will bring huge crowds to games next year. As for the rest of the teams I think it's been an average league. I don't see Fermanagh winning in Navan - it looks like Gallagher's plan to have them ahead of the rest in terms of fitness got them safe. However as we seen on Saturday I always suspected they would lose their last two games in Armagh and Meath and end up mid table. Armagh seemed unlucky in a few of their games but will be happy with safety and might end up 3rd in the league which shows they are not miles off. Cork look to be heading down and with them and Derry in Div 3 next season some big games for weaker counties. I fancy Donegal to go up with Meath and the challenge for them will be to show Div 2 has some quality as Ros and Cavan will probably come straight back down this year which might suggest the gulf between Div 1 and Div 2 is getting bigger.

sam1884 (UK) - Posts: 451 - 18/03/2019 12:48:40    2173379

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Replying To panamasam:  "Without tempting faith congrats to Meath and their supporters here esp the ever enthusiastic rd on gaining promotion. Very much all to play for in Ballyshannon next weekend. Donegal were lucky enough to win their last year despite dominating the game for large periods. Kildare were unlucky to have a man sent off and a goal chalked off. They could and should have scored 1 or 2 more so Donegal will need to be tighter at the back this weekend."
Appreciate that. Thanks

royaldunne (Meath) - Posts: 15918 - 18/03/2019 13:46:21    2173395

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Hopefully we dont mess it up at the weekend. These games can be very strange. Fermanagh have to beat us by 10 , we can lose by 9 and still win. In the past games like these can be strange ones. U wud expect Fermanagh to be much more attacking and hopefully Meath dont be complacent. I think also Donegal have to win by 6 points over kildare for Meath not to be promoted. I cud be wrong there. But I will just glad next week to be promoted and hope nothing goes wrong.

At the start of this thread I did predict Meath would be promoted this year. I also said Fermanagh wud be a dark horse ( Teams promoted from div 3 have a great record of then playing well in div 2 eg Monaghan in 2014 , Roscommon in 2016 , kildare in 2017 ). I said two years ago on this forum Meath wud improve in this season and I also predicted last year Meath wud improve this year. Now I know people dont like a mr no it all. And I hope I dont sound like one. But this wasnt any real foresight on my part or I can predict the future. When I predicted Meath wud get promoted this year and wud improve this year two years ago it was based on sporting past experiences. I think allot of people are very surprised that Meaths strong performances this season. But the signs were there in last two seasons ,this was on the cards.

Sport keeps repeating itself. Especially the GAA. You cannot buy players. U have to allow players and teams to build over a couple of seasons. The reason I felt Meath wud improve this year was based on the below historical evidence. I have compared and mentioned this many times before but for me its simple, for its takes years to build up a traditional strong county from the doldrums. The examples I keep mentioning were it took
Sean Boylan 4 years with Meath in 80s and then 90s , it took Mick Dwyer 5 years with Kildare
and it took Eugene McGee 4 years with Offaly
and also took Jimny Barry Murphy with Cork in 90s and Nicholas English with Tipp in 90s years to build up a traditional county in the doldrums. Look at Kevin Walsh with Galway it wasnt til his third season or was it his fourth season he gained promotion with Galway. U cannot buy players in the gaa. U have to build a team over a couple of seasons. This is what has happened at Meath.

Year 1 and 2
This is usually the seasons nothing really happens. In year 1 the manager continues with the players from the previous manager. In year 2 a few new players are introduced but overall the team struggles. Boylan Dywer McGee Barry Murphy English Walsh and McEntee all struggled in first two seasons , allot of ups and downs.

Year 3
This is when u see the improvement. The manager now has stamped his personality on the team and the team is basically his players. In year 2 McEntee introduced Andy Colgan Ben Brennan Thomas Reilly Seamus Lavin Shane Gallagher . And year 3 he introduced Ronan Ryan Dara Campion Niall Kane Ethan Devine. The same for Boylan Dwyer McGee and Walsh.

Year 4 5 and 6
However it is not til year 4 5 or 6 that real breakthrough is made. Thats when managers really make the breakthrough. For me Meath are still 12 to 24 months from that phase. We have improved but we are not the finished article. I still expect 1 or 2 bad defeats this year. But hopefully will be promoted next sunday and that will be a game changer. In that even if Meath lose all.their games and get relegated next year from div 1. Playing in div 1 will bring on the team so much. look at kildare last year reaching super 8 and beating Mayo. Playing in divsion 1 was one of the main reasons. Meath playing in divsion 1 next season will mean that I expect Meath to reach super 8 next season and beat one of the top teams next year.

For me I felt we cud get promoted this year , reach leinster final but fail to reach Super 8. Probably losing in the back door after leinster final. I also felt we wud give a credible performance v Dublin in leinster final similar to 2012 2013. However Carlow will be very tricky and laois r flying at the moment and laois are Meaths offical bogey team. A laois v Meath semi final looks on the cards but don't ruleout Westmeath eitheir. But failing to reach the super 8 wouldn't be a bad thing. What happened to Roscommon last year at super 8 stage cud happen this year to Meath. A full season in.div 1 wud be better preparation for Meath for super 8 football. So I have feeling we wouldnt reach super 8 this year, if we do it will because of our defence. Thats the biggest surprise this year for me with Meath the massive improvement in our defence.

Its very hard to predict actual sucess in the future. But I think what one can say if you examine past experiences and current evidence Meath and kildare are getting stronger. Both will have ups and downs. But overall Meath and kildare will be much stronger in 2020s then in the last decade. The signs r there. Underage sucess talent coming thru. It all evident of future growth and progress. What actual achievements both counties have is impossible to say.

But say next year Meath kildare and Dublin r all in divsion 1. That wud be the first time in 20 years three leinster teams were in divsion 1. It wud be a definite sign Meath and kildare both with young teams and more talent coming thru , it is a sign that a stronger Meath and kildare is on the horizon. That can only be good for leinster football. This is not a false dawn. There will be ups and downs but leinster football is showing signs of life. Carlow and longford have been a credit to the provience recently all doing well and that will continue. Westmeath and laois are making steady progress and are also on an upward curve and so are louth. All have good young players. Offaly are starting to improve at underage so Offaly will improve and Wicklow watch out for Wicklow. Their minors defeated Dublin last year. Great work been done there. I think Wicklow cud be real surprise in next few years in terms of making good progress in.winning promotion from div 4 and winning games in back door.

Leinster football at long last is showing life. Things can and will only get better. In ten years time I think people will be surprised of how leinster football championship turned out in 2020s. Dublins dominance will not continue. I know that doesn't look possible. But I believe things r stirring in leinster and while Dublin of course will be strong, for they have always been strong. Dublin wouldnt have it all their own way in 2020s in leinster like they did in this decade. Thats good for leinster and Dublin football as a whole. For if the current thread continues there will be no leinster championship in ten years time.

Furlong1949 (Meath) - Posts: 833 - 18/03/2019 16:24:00    2173434

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Are Meath really almost promoted...?

I understood the tie-breaker was head to head then points.
If Meath lose to Fermanagh and Donegal win they would then be third because they (somehow) lost to Donegal and Fermanagh.

Hoping I'm wrong about this

Neilll (USA) - Posts: 12 - 18/03/2019 16:30:24    2173436

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Replying To Neilll:  "Are Meath really almost promoted...?

I understood the tie-breaker was head to head then points.
If Meath lose to Fermanagh and Donegal win they would then be third because they (somehow) lost to Donegal and Fermanagh.

Hoping I'm wrong about this"
As fair as I understand if it's two teams on the same points then it is based on head-to-head results. But a three way tie is settled by scoring difference.

HighKings (Meath) - Posts: 197 - 18/03/2019 17:08:53    2173443

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Replying To Neilll:  "Are Meath really almost promoted...?

I understood the tie-breaker was head to head then points.
If Meath lose to Fermanagh and Donegal win they would then be third because they (somehow) lost to Donegal and Fermanagh.

Hoping I'm wrong about this"
Meath are all but promoted.

If Meath lose to Fermanagh and Donegal beat Kildare it would leave Meath, Fermanagh, Donegal all on 10 points.

When 3 or more teams share equal points head-to-head goes out the window and score difference comes into effect.

Meath are on a score difference 20+ which means we would need to be defeated by more than 10 points and Donegal would need to beat Kildare by more than 6 points (I think).

Given that Fermanagh average about 8 scores a game it would be an enormous task. But not impossible.

Also, Kildare are in with a chance should they defeat Donegal.

Royalio11 (Meath) - Posts: 718 - 18/03/2019 17:09:39    2173445

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Replying To Neilll:  "Are Meath really almost promoted...?

I understood the tie-breaker was head to head then points.
If Meath lose to Fermanagh and Donegal win they would then be third because they (somehow) lost to Donegal and Fermanagh.

Hoping I'm wrong about this"
I'm almost certain that head to head is used when two teams are level on same number of points.
But if more than two teams are level on the same number of pints then scoring difference is used. Meath have a distinct advantage here so that's why they are as good as promoted barring a strange set of results and scoring swing,

Lockjaw (Donegal) - Posts: 6458 - 18/03/2019 17:12:49    2173446

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Replying To lilywhite1:  "As farcical as it was we're still in with a shout for promotion; hard as it's to believe. We played for ten minutes today. It will need to be for the full 70 next week. Serious lack of focus during our last two games but particularly today"
You could say there's been a serious lack of focus for the majority of all our games to date.

Depsite doing our best to sabotage our own chance of promotion from the start, we somehow still find ourselves with an outside chance of going up heading into the final round.

if_in_doubt (Kildare) - Posts: 3631 - 18/03/2019 17:38:38    2173460

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Why have Meath improved this year. There are few reasons why this happened. Its a gradual process over a few seasons but there are few areas that have come together for Meath this season. I think most are very surprised by Meaths progress this year but the signs were there. In the last two years Meaths very good performances v Tyrone Donegal twice Galway Roscommon and even v Dublin in last few months were evidence Meath were not as crap as people thought. The loses v kildare Cavan Longford Tippearey and Cork in 2017 and 2018 were all well deserved victories for the above. But people only saw those defeats but ignored the 1 point losess to Donegal in 2017 and Tyrone in 2018.

So there is a surprise out there with. Meaths progress. For me the main surprise is that so many people are welcoming a Meath return , Meath progess. I never saw that one coming. Of course there is some of our neighbours and old enemies who if we score another point in championship it will a point to much. But overall because of Dublins domiance people wud welcome a stronger Meath. I think people might even miss the old Meath v Dublin battles which in their heyday were the biggest game in football after an All Ireland final. Definatly I feel people wud like to see Meath get stronger. Thats a surprise to me.

But why have Meath improved. Here are some reasons.

1 It was always in his third year McEntee would improve the team. It took Boylan Dywer and McGee, the three most sucessful managers in leinster football history outside Heffernan and Galvin , it took them years to turn around their counties. McEntees work with Meath minors and Ballyboden showed he had the CV. It also took McEntee a while to get use to inter county football. A common occurence for many managers.

2 Very good performances v Tyrone Galway Donegal and Roscommon and even Dublins showed good signs. Even the two games v Dublin in recent months were a help. Meath beat Dublin in a challenge game before christmas were Brian Fenton and 4 or 5 first team Dublin players were playing. Yes Dublin had allot of players missing and were not back training. But still dont underestimate that it was good boost for a Meath team to beat Dublin. And even if they lost on penalties to Dublins reserve team in Bynre cup. Just playing any Dublin team in two games in a few weeks and not been beaten in full time in both matchs. These things do help.

2 Meaths performance v Tyrone was important. Most people ignored it. The only person I saw recognising the importance of this performance was Alan Brogan. He said it was one of the games of the season. And Meath cud take an awful lot from the performance. He was right.

If Meath had beaten Tyrone I think this cud have been a bad thing. Lets say Meath reached the super 8 last year. Meath were weaker then Roscommon last year. look at what happened to Roscommon in Super 8 last year. If Meath reached super 8 last year they would have had worst defeats then Roscommon and would have ended the season a bit demoralised.

Instead Meath had a moral victory v Tyrone. They lost contervesaly and left the fans a bit aggrieved but also proud of the performance. A good way to end the season for a team rebuilding. Instead of getting bad hammerings in the Super 8. Meath took allot from that performance. And when Tyrone reached the All Ireland final afterwards, it made Meaths performance v Tyrone even more credible.

3 Since the Cork league game last year in about 14 or 15 games since longford defeat, Meath have only played one real bad game since. That was v Longford. What has happened,? Two posotional changes have transformed the Meath team. The moving of James McEntee to wing back and moving of Donal keoghan to centre back have been massive for Meath. Why?

Half back line has been a problem area for Meath for years. Half back line is most important line in modern football. If u dont have a quality half back line u cannot be sucessful eg Lee Keegan Karl Lacey James Mcarthy etc. James McEntee moving from wing forward to wing back has been a huge sucess. He has given many man of the match performances at wing back and is producing performances I havent seen at wing back for a Meath footballer in ten years at least.

The other was Donal keoghan. Donal keoghan has played at corner back wing back centre back in all 6 defence positions for Meath for years. If there was a player on the opposite team who was dangerous, Keoghan marked him. If Meath were struggling in a position, he played in that position. That meant Keoghan basically played corner back for Meath for 5 years. He was outstanding at corner back but it is not his best position. That was as a half back. A top class wing back is more important then top class corner back. U need good corner backs but half backs can really influence the game more.

Since the Cork game last year, Keoghan has played every game at centre back. His longest period out the field. Centre back has been a problem area since Enda McManus retired in 2000 for Meath. It is no coincidence that since the Cork game Meath have played well and improved and keoghan has played every game at centre back.

For me Donal keoghan is one of the best defenders in the country and could be the best. He wud walk onto any team in the country including Dublin and would walk onto Meaths teams of 80s and 90s. He is Meaths best defender since Darren Fay. And for me his level of performance for Meath is up there with Darren Fay Martin O Connell Robbie O Malley and Mick Lyons. Most people have not seen Keoghan as Meath have not been on telly much only when he was corner back when Meath were defeated by Dublin in 2014 and Westmeath in 2015. For me , Keoghan is up there with kieth Higgins and James Mcarthys , he reminds me of Meath Karl lacey. Meath have a top class centre back for the first time since Liam Harnan. That has been massive for Meath.

4 The main area ofs Meaths improvement was our defence. This is best Meath defence in ten years at least. Meath have 4 top class defenders. They are Donal keoghan Conor McGill Seamus Lavin and Shane Gallagher. Seamus lavin has emerged as quality corner back, the best we have had since Niall McKeigue retired 10 years ago. Conor McGill is one of the best full backs in the country. And Gallagher has been best man marker in Meath club football for years and has adapted to inter game very well. While young Ronan Ryan has been one of our finds of the season. He is tenacious Summerhill defender carrying on Mick Lyons and Mark Reilly Summerhill defending tradition. Mcoy has also been good. Niall kane and James McEntee means Meath have two quality effective wing backs. Its a pity kane will be out for months after picking up an injury v kildare. But overall this is Meaths best defence in at least ten years. Meath have a division 1 defence.

5 Meath have a group of players who are now peaking. Many of them r off the 2012 minor All Ireland finalist team eg Cillian Sullivan James and Shane McEntee Adam.Flanagan Seamus Lavin Padraig Harnan were all.on that team. While players like Donal Keoghan Brian Menton Conor McGill are also peaking. Player start to peak at 25 and reach peak at 27 28. These group of players have now years of strenght and conditioning and now are peaking and better equipped for inter county football.

6 Meaths tackling has improved in defence but also in attack. In the past few years Meath players would lose the ball in the tackle, we had a small team in stature. Who wud lose the ball in contact. Now after a few years strenght and conditioning ,these players are now stronger in the tackle. While younger players coming thru are the first generation of Meath players who have had strenght and conditioning training at underage. These new young players are bigger and more Atletic then underage players we have produced in a while.

7 Another reason for Meaths progress has been these new young players. Meath have a young team the average age is 23 24. But for the first time since 2012 when Padraig Harnan Alan Forde Damien Carroll Conor Gillespie in 2012 made a straightaway impact. For first time in years Meath have under 21 players making an impact straightaway. Players like Daragh Campion Ethan Devine Ronan Ryan and James Conlon all under 21 players all have made an impact . The good news is I can see 3 or 4 new young players next year and the year after making impact as Meaths best underage talent since 90s start coming through.

8 Andy McEntee in his first year or two was probably trying to do everything. Coaching and managing. This year he has brought in Nally as coach and this has worked real well. Andy McEntee is doing more one on one man mangement with the players this year. McEntees is good at man management. He can be blunt but he is a good motivator. Players like Michael Dara Macauley and Colm Keaney Dublin players who have been managed by Pat Gilroy Anthony Daly and Jim Galvin said McEntee was best manager they played under. McEntee managing the players this year is working.

8 The introduction of Nally as a coach has been very important. Coachs importance has grown massively recently. Paul Grimley Peter Lally Donie Buckley Cian O Neill Jason Sherlock have all showed how important a quality coach is. Jim Galvin or Mickey Harte dont do the coaching . They manage the team. The role of modern coach has improved recently. Look at Clare and Limerick All Ireland hurling win. Paul McKinnerk was the coach on both teams. He is possibly most important figure in hurling in this decade. Nally is one best coachs in leinster. He gives seminars and writes coaching manuals. The Meath players are very very happy with him.

I wud recommended every Meath person to check out Colm Nally appearance on off the ball football show recently. U cud listen to this guy talk about football all day long. He really impressed me in this show. Nally joining the Meath management team is a turning point.

Meath have failed to adapt to modern tactics in football. How do you get the Meath players to play tactically aware football with their old school passion. For me this is the first time I have seen Meath play tactics in a modern way sucessfully with old school passion. The management team of McEntee and Nally has had a massive role. McEntees passion combined with Nallys tactical nuance has really worked.

I have been so impressed as Nally , he is a Dub. Which I would never agree with having a Dub on any Meath management team. But to give Dubs their credit they always produce good managers coachs eg Paul Cafffry Pat Gilroy Jim Galvin Mickey Whelan and Jason Sherlock. Nally has been so good that when McEntee leaves and hopefully that is a couple of seasons. Nally for me would be a genuine and only candidate as a future Meath manager at the moment eeing the serious lack of young Meath managers out there. (Hopefully someone like Kevin Reilly at Navan O Mahoneys who is doing really well there at the moment can be sucessful at Mahonys. We need new sucessful talented managers to come thru. Hopefully Kevin Reilly is one. )

So there r 8 reasons why Meath have improved this year. Meath are still not the finished article and still wil have ups and downs. But they are going in right direction. They have young team with strong defence and strong management and new talent thru. A promotion for Meath to div 1 for the first time in 13 years wud be a masive boost for Meath. And I think Meath wud adapt better to divsion 1 football then people think. Galway adapted well. Galway feel like they belong in divsion 1 and have no inferior complex. Meath would also have same mindset as Galway and and wud have no inferior complex. If Meath cud get 4 games in Navan as Meath have a great record in Navan that would be massive for Meath. Hopefully we dont mess up next week. Meath football is turning the corner. And this can only be good for football. Leinster needs a strong Meath and kildare. Hopefully we see a Meath v kildare league final. 3 leinster teams in division wud be great for leinster football.

Furlong1949 (Meath) - Posts: 833 - 18/03/2019 18:02:20    2173468

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Replying To if_in_doubt:  "You could say there's been a serious lack of focus for the majority of all our games to date.

Depsite doing our best to sabotage our own chance of promotion from the start, we somehow still find ourselves with an outside chance of going up heading into the final round."
Thats a good sign for kildare. Kildare have not played to their potential. But yet kildare cud be promoted. Thats a good sign. U r missing Niall kelly ur best half forward and Daniel Flynn u best inside forward. O Neill has done a good job putting in good foundations to build a new kildare team. I always felt Glen Ryan with Davy Burke as part of management team wud be the guys to bring kildare on further.

Ryan did a good job at longford and himself and Burke got to two kildare underage teams to All-Ireland finals recently. He was also the main man on the 98 team and one of my favourite players of that era. A proper warrior. Kildare have potential. Good enough to achieve what 98 - 00 team achieved. Good enough to win leinster title or two in early 2020s and push for Sam Maguire. I think O Neill is not the guy to do that. But he has done a really good job introdcing these young kildare footballers to inter county level. He is quality coach. But coachs don't always make good managers. I think a management team of Glen Ryan and Burke with Burke to take over from Ryan in a few years wud be a good idea. Burke is young probaly bit to young to be manager. But he did impress with under 20s last year. Seems a very positive character. But kildare and Meath are definatly in the right direction. Both can only get better , looking at the age profile of both teams . There is genuine talent coming thru at underage level in both counties.

Furlong1949 (Meath) - Posts: 833 - 18/03/2019 18:24:04    2173476

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Replying To Furlong1949:  "Why have Meath improved this year. There are few reasons why this happened. Its a gradual process over a few seasons but there are few areas that have come together for Meath this season. I think most are very surprised by Meaths progress this year but the signs were there. In the last two years Meaths very good performances v Tyrone Donegal twice Galway Roscommon and even v Dublin in last few months were evidence Meath were not as crap as people thought. The loses v kildare Cavan Longford Tippearey and Cork in 2017 and 2018 were all well deserved victories for the above. But people only saw those defeats but ignored the 1 point losess to Donegal in 2017 and Tyrone in 2018.

So there is a surprise out there with. Meaths progress. For me the main surprise is that so many people are welcoming a Meath return , Meath progess. I never saw that one coming. Of course there is some of our neighbours and old enemies who if we score another point in championship it will a point to much. But overall because of Dublins domiance people wud welcome a stronger Meath. I think people might even miss the old Meath v Dublin battles which in their heyday were the biggest game in football after an All Ireland final. Definatly I feel people wud like to see Meath get stronger. Thats a surprise to me.

But why have Meath improved. Here are some reasons.

1 It was always in his third year McEntee would improve the team. It took Boylan Dywer and McGee, the three most sucessful managers in leinster football history outside Heffernan and Galvin , it took them years to turn around their counties. McEntees work with Meath minors and Ballyboden showed he had the CV. It also took McEntee a while to get use to inter county football. A common occurence for many managers.

2 Very good performances v Tyrone Galway Donegal and Roscommon and even Dublins showed good signs. Even the two games v Dublin in recent months were a help. Meath beat Dublin in a challenge game before christmas were Brian Fenton and 4 or 5 first team Dublin players were playing. Yes Dublin had allot of players missing and were not back training. But still dont underestimate that it was good boost for a Meath team to beat Dublin. And even if they lost on penalties to Dublins reserve team in Bynre cup. Just playing any Dublin team in two games in a few weeks and not been beaten in full time in both matchs. These things do help.

2 Meaths performance v Tyrone was important. Most people ignored it. The only person I saw recognising the importance of this performance was Alan Brogan. He said it was one of the games of the season. And Meath cud take an awful lot from the performance. He was right.

If Meath had beaten Tyrone I think this cud have been a bad thing. Lets say Meath reached the super 8 last year. Meath were weaker then Roscommon last year. look at what happened to Roscommon in Super 8 last year. If Meath reached super 8 last year they would have had worst defeats then Roscommon and would have ended the season a bit demoralised.

Instead Meath had a moral victory v Tyrone. They lost contervesaly and left the fans a bit aggrieved but also proud of the performance. A good way to end the season for a team rebuilding. Instead of getting bad hammerings in the Super 8. Meath took allot from that performance. And when Tyrone reached the All Ireland final afterwards, it made Meaths performance v Tyrone even more credible.

3 Since the Cork league game last year in about 14 or 15 games since longford defeat, Meath have only played one real bad game since. That was v Longford. What has happened,? Two posotional changes have transformed the Meath team. The moving of James McEntee to wing back and moving of Donal keoghan to centre back have been massive for Meath. Why?

Half back line has been a problem area for Meath for years. Half back line is most important line in modern football. If u dont have a quality half back line u cannot be sucessful eg Lee Keegan Karl Lacey James Mcarthy etc. James McEntee moving from wing forward to wing back has been a huge sucess. He has given many man of the match performances at wing back and is producing performances I havent seen at wing back for a Meath footballer in ten years at least.

The other was Donal keoghan. Donal keoghan has played at corner back wing back centre back in all 6 defence positions for Meath for years. If there was a player on the opposite team who was dangerous, Keoghan marked him. If Meath were struggling in a position, he played in that position. That meant Keoghan basically played corner back for Meath for 5 years. He was outstanding at corner back but it is not his best position. That was as a half back. A top class wing back is more important then top class corner back. U need good corner backs but half backs can really influence the game more.

Since the Cork game last year, Keoghan has played every game at centre back. His longest period out the field. Centre back has been a problem area since Enda McManus retired in 2000 for Meath. It is no coincidence that since the Cork game Meath have played well and improved and keoghan has played every game at centre back.

For me Donal keoghan is one of the best defenders in the country and could be the best. He wud walk onto any team in the country including Dublin and would walk onto Meaths teams of 80s and 90s. He is Meaths best defender since Darren Fay. And for me his level of performance for Meath is up there with Darren Fay Martin O Connell Robbie O Malley and Mick Lyons. Most people have not seen Keoghan as Meath have not been on telly much only when he was corner back when Meath were defeated by Dublin in 2014 and Westmeath in 2015. For me , Keoghan is up there with kieth Higgins and James Mcarthys , he reminds me of Meath Karl lacey. Meath have a top class centre back for the first time since Liam Harnan. That has been massive for Meath.

4 The main area ofs Meaths improvement was our defence. This is best Meath defence in ten years at least. Meath have 4 top class defenders. They are Donal keoghan Conor McGill Seamus Lavin and Shane Gallagher. Seamus lavin has emerged as quality corner back, the best we have had since Niall McKeigue retired 10 years ago. Conor McGill is one of the best full backs in the country. And Gallagher has been best man marker in Meath club football for years and has adapted to inter game very well. While young Ronan Ryan has been one of our finds of the season. He is tenacious Summerhill defender carrying on Mick Lyons and Mark Reilly Summerhill defending tradition. Mcoy has also been good. Niall kane and James McEntee means Meath have two quality effective wing backs. Its a pity kane will be out for months after picking up an injury v kildare. But overall this is Meaths best defence in at least ten years. Meath have a division 1 defence.

5 Meath have a group of players who are now peaking. Many of them r off the 2012 minor All Ireland finalist team eg Cillian Sullivan James and Shane McEntee Adam.Flanagan Seamus Lavin Padraig Harnan were all.on that team. While players like Donal Keoghan Brian Menton Conor McGill are also peaking. Player start to peak at 25 and reach peak at 27 28. These group of players have now years of strenght and conditioning and now are peaking and better equipped for inter county football.

6 Meaths tackling has improved in defence but also in attack. In the past few years Meath players would lose the ball in the tackle, we had a small team in stature. Who wud lose the ball in contact. Now after a few years strenght and conditioning ,these players are now stronger in the tackle. While younger players coming thru are the first generation of Meath players who have had strenght and conditioning training at underage. These new young players are bigger and more Atletic then underage players we have produced in a while.

7 Another reason for Meaths progress has been these new young players. Meath have a young team the average age is 23 24. But for the first time since 2012 when Padraig Harnan Alan Forde Damien Carroll Conor Gillespie in 2012 made a straightaway impact. For first time in years Meath have under 21 players making an impact straightaway. Players like Daragh Campion Ethan Devine Ronan Ryan and James Conlon all under 21 players all have made an impact . The good news is I can see 3 or 4 new young players next year and the year after making impact as Meaths best underage talent since 90s start coming through.

8 Andy McEntee in his first year or two was probably trying to do everything. Coaching and managing. This year he has brought in Nally as coach and this has worked real well. Andy McEntee is doing more one on one man mangement with the players this year. McEntees is good at man management. He can be blunt but he is a good motivator. Players like Michael Dara Macauley and Colm Keaney Dublin players who have been managed by Pat Gilroy Anthony Daly and Jim Galvin said McEntee was best manager they played under. McEntee managing the players this year is working.

8 The introduction of Nally as a coach has been very important. Coachs importance has grown massively recently. Paul Grimley Peter Lally Donie Buckley Cian O Neill Jason Sherlock have all showed how important a quality coach is. Jim Galvin or Mickey Harte dont do the coaching . They manage the team. The role of modern coach has improved recently. Look at Clare and Limerick All Ireland hurling win. Paul McKinnerk was the coach on both teams. He is possibly most important figure in hurling in this decade. Nally is one best coachs in leinster. He gives seminars and writes coaching manuals. The Meath players are very very happy with him.

I wud recommended every Meath person to check out Colm Nally appearance on off the ball football show recently. U cud listen to this guy talk about football all day long. He really impressed me in this show. Nally joining the Meath management team is a turning point.

Meath have failed to adapt to modern tactics in football. How do you get the Meath players to play tactically aware football with their old school passion. For me this is the first time I have seen Meath play tactics in a modern way sucessfully with old school passion. The management team of McEntee and Nally has had a massive role. McEntees passion combined with Nallys tactical nuance has really worked.

I have been so impressed as Nally , he is a Dub. Which I would never agree with having a Dub on any Meath management team. But to give Dubs their credit they always produce good managers coachs eg Paul Cafffry Pat Gilroy Jim Galvin Mickey Whelan and Jason Sherlock. Nally has been so good that when McEntee leaves and hopefully that is a couple of seasons. Nally for me would be a genuine and only candidate as a future Meath manager at the moment eeing the serious lack of young Meath managers out there. (Hopefully someone like Kevin Reilly at Navan O Mahoneys who is doing really well there at the moment can be sucessful at Mahonys. We need new sucessful talented managers to come thru. Hopefully Kevin Reilly is one. )

So there r 8 reasons why Meath have improved this year. Meath are still not the finished article and still wil have ups and downs. But they are going in right direction. They have young team with strong defence and strong management and new talent thru. A promotion for Meath to div 1 for the first time in 13 years wud be a masive boost for Meath. And I think Meath wud adapt better to divsion 1 football then people think. Galway adapted well. Galway feel like they belong in divsion 1 and have no inferior complex. Meath would also have same mindset as Galway and and wud have no inferior complex. If Meath cud get 4 games in Navan as Meath have a great record in Navan that would be massive for Meath. Hopefully we dont mess up next week. Meath football is turning the corner. And this can only be good for football. Leinster needs a strong Meath and kildare. Hopefully we see a Meath v kildare league final. 3 leinster teams in division wud be great for leinster football."
Excellent post and congrats on promotion. Good to see Meath and Kildare starting to make moves to challenge the Dubs dominance in Leinster. Hopefully the upward curves continue. There has been some great Leinster championship games in recent seasons. However they count for nothing given the Dubs dominance.

panamasam (Australia) - Posts: 2063 - 18/03/2019 18:38:52    2173480

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Replying To panamasam:  "Excellent post and congrats on promotion. Good to see Meath and Kildare starting to make moves to challenge the Dubs dominance in Leinster. Hopefully the upward curves continue. There has been some great Leinster championship games in recent seasons. However they count for nothing given the Dubs dominance."
Thanks Panamasam. Hopefully we dont mess up next week. Its a strange one. Lose by 9 and still win. I find these games can be funny auld games. So hopefully no complacency. As long as we get promoted thats the main thing. I think we have played well and consistently well. And promotions to div 2 would be this years aim. Next year a year in.divsion 1 would really bring these players on. With the return of Ronan Jones our best midfielder from college in the US next year , Alan Forde our best densive wing forward and couple of really talented forwards from underage team , next year I expect a good championship from Meath in 2020 reaching super 8 next year is very possible .

Donegal cud still get promoted. Wud be a good sign. Havent played well. Had players missing. But another year in divsion 2 wouldn't be end of world for Donegal. A young team if u dont get promoted this year u will next year. As I said in the next couple of seasons Donegal will push for Sam Maguire . Donegal have exciting young team and I wouldn't be surprised to see Michael Murphy lift Sam Maguire again before he retires.

Fermanagh have been one of the teams of league. Gallagher is a top class coach. Probably have one of the best drilled and organised teams in the country. If look at any football ranking Fermanagh are in top ten teams in the country. With promotion last year reaching Ulster final last year and possible promotion this year. Means they have been very consitent and if u look at any football ranking they seem to around 10th or 11th in the country. Gallagher is doing a very good job. Fair play to them. They have lack of playing resources but they are making best of what they have. Thats what I call sucessful mangement. No one will fancy meeting Fermanagh this year. Especially in Enniskillen. A seriously well organised well drilled committed outfit. Sunday will be tough for Meath. But scoring difference is a massive advantage for Meath.

Furlong1949 (Meath) - Posts: 833 - 18/03/2019 19:15:17    2173485

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Kildare making progress??? Are you serious? Maybe have have a look at our results this year and compare them to the last time we were in div 2 before posting utter nonsense.. We are missing Paul Cribben only, all the others have left the panel, in D. Flynn case probably for good.
And yet another hammering from dubs in a championship fixed for them to win should see another 1 or 2 lose interest and leave.. Meath deserve their chance but its an inevitable conclusion that your young lads will get fed up and leave to have a life when they realise how futile competing in Leinster or All Ireland is.. Thats why i hope if not Kildare then meath win the Div 2 title because its the only comp we can win that is not fixed for Dublin to win.. At least not yet, although God knows Gaa HQ will probably find a way..

cuttothebone (Kildare) - Posts: 99 - 18/03/2019 19:53:21    2173493

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Replying To Furlong1949:  "Thanks Panamasam. Hopefully we dont mess up next week. Its a strange one. Lose by 9 and still win. I find these games can be funny auld games. So hopefully no complacency. As long as we get promoted thats the main thing. I think we have played well and consistently well. And promotions to div 2 would be this years aim. Next year a year in.divsion 1 would really bring these players on. With the return of Ronan Jones our best midfielder from college in the US next year , Alan Forde our best densive wing forward and couple of really talented forwards from underage team , next year I expect a good championship from Meath in 2020 reaching super 8 next year is very possible .

Donegal cud still get promoted. Wud be a good sign. Havent played well. Had players missing. But another year in divsion 2 wouldn't be end of world for Donegal. A young team if u dont get promoted this year u will next year. As I said in the next couple of seasons Donegal will push for Sam Maguire . Donegal have exciting young team and I wouldn't be surprised to see Michael Murphy lift Sam Maguire again before he retires.

Fermanagh have been one of the teams of league. Gallagher is a top class coach. Probably have one of the best drilled and organised teams in the country. If look at any football ranking Fermanagh are in top ten teams in the country. With promotion last year reaching Ulster final last year and possible promotion this year. Means they have been very consitent and if u look at any football ranking they seem to around 10th or 11th in the country. Gallagher is doing a very good job. Fair play to them. They have lack of playing resources but they are making best of what they have. Thats what I call sucessful mangement. No one will fancy meeting Fermanagh this year. Especially in Enniskillen. A seriously well organised well drilled committed outfit. Sunday will be tough for Meath. But scoring difference is a massive advantage for Meath."
Donegal have made things hard for themselves and really should be on 10 points. I would point to the Tipp game mainly in which Donegal largely dominated before hitting the self destruct button. A win on Sunday against Kildare will not come easy that is for sure. As for Michael Murphy lifting Sam again? Here is hoping but someway off at this moment in time. As for Meath seems there is alot to be optimistic about. Think u can put down Div 1 next year as a given.

panamasam (Australia) - Posts: 2063 - 18/03/2019 20:27:03    2173501

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Replying To Furlong1949:  "Why have Meath improved this year. There are few reasons why this happened. Its a gradual process over a few seasons but there are few areas that have come together for Meath this season. I think most are very surprised by Meaths progress this year but the signs were there. In the last two years Meaths very good performances v Tyrone Donegal twice Galway Roscommon and even v Dublin in last few months were evidence Meath were not as crap as people thought. The loses v kildare Cavan Longford Tippearey and Cork in 2017 and 2018 were all well deserved victories for the above. But people only saw those defeats but ignored the 1 point losess to Donegal in 2017 and Tyrone in 2018.

So there is a surprise out there with. Meaths progress. For me the main surprise is that so many people are welcoming a Meath return , Meath progess. I never saw that one coming. Of course there is some of our neighbours and old enemies who if we score another point in championship it will a point to much. But overall because of Dublins domiance people wud welcome a stronger Meath. I think people might even miss the old Meath v Dublin battles which in their heyday were the biggest game in football after an All Ireland final. Definatly I feel people wud like to see Meath get stronger. Thats a surprise to me.

But why have Meath improved. Here are some reasons.

1 It was always in his third year McEntee would improve the team. It took Boylan Dywer and McGee, the three most sucessful managers in leinster football history outside Heffernan and Galvin , it took them years to turn around their counties. McEntees work with Meath minors and Ballyboden showed he had the CV. It also took McEntee a while to get use to inter county football. A common occurence for many managers.

2 Very good performances v Tyrone Galway Donegal and Roscommon and even Dublins showed good signs. Even the two games v Dublin in recent months were a help. Meath beat Dublin in a challenge game before christmas were Brian Fenton and 4 or 5 first team Dublin players were playing. Yes Dublin had allot of players missing and were not back training. But still dont underestimate that it was good boost for a Meath team to beat Dublin. And even if they lost on penalties to Dublins reserve team in Bynre cup. Just playing any Dublin team in two games in a few weeks and not been beaten in full time in both matchs. These things do help.

2 Meaths performance v Tyrone was important. Most people ignored it. The only person I saw recognising the importance of this performance was Alan Brogan. He said it was one of the games of the season. And Meath cud take an awful lot from the performance. He was right.

If Meath had beaten Tyrone I think this cud have been a bad thing. Lets say Meath reached the super 8 last year. Meath were weaker then Roscommon last year. look at what happened to Roscommon in Super 8 last year. If Meath reached super 8 last year they would have had worst defeats then Roscommon and would have ended the season a bit demoralised.

Instead Meath had a moral victory v Tyrone. They lost contervesaly and left the fans a bit aggrieved but also proud of the performance. A good way to end the season for a team rebuilding. Instead of getting bad hammerings in the Super 8. Meath took allot from that performance. And when Tyrone reached the All Ireland final afterwards, it made Meaths performance v Tyrone even more credible.

3 Since the Cork league game last year in about 14 or 15 games since longford defeat, Meath have only played one real bad game since. That was v Longford. What has happened,? Two posotional changes have transformed the Meath team. The moving of James McEntee to wing back and moving of Donal keoghan to centre back have been massive for Meath. Why?

Half back line has been a problem area for Meath for years. Half back line is most important line in modern football. If u dont have a quality half back line u cannot be sucessful eg Lee Keegan Karl Lacey James Mcarthy etc. James McEntee moving from wing forward to wing back has been a huge sucess. He has given many man of the match performances at wing back and is producing performances I havent seen at wing back for a Meath footballer in ten years at least.

The other was Donal keoghan. Donal keoghan has played at corner back wing back centre back in all 6 defence positions for Meath for years. If there was a player on the opposite team who was dangerous, Keoghan marked him. If Meath were struggling in a position, he played in that position. That meant Keoghan basically played corner back for Meath for 5 years. He was outstanding at corner back but it is not his best position. That was as a half back. A top class wing back is more important then top class corner back. U need good corner backs but half backs can really influence the game more.

Since the Cork game last year, Keoghan has played every game at centre back. His longest period out the field. Centre back has been a problem area since Enda McManus retired in 2000 for Meath. It is no coincidence that since the Cork game Meath have played well and improved and keoghan has played every game at centre back.

For me Donal keoghan is one of the best defenders in the country and could be the best. He wud walk onto any team in the country including Dublin and would walk onto Meaths teams of 80s and 90s. He is Meaths best defender since Darren Fay. And for me his level of performance for Meath is up there with Darren Fay Martin O Connell Robbie O Malley and Mick Lyons. Most people have not seen Keoghan as Meath have not been on telly much only when he was corner back when Meath were defeated by Dublin in 2014 and Westmeath in 2015. For me , Keoghan is up there with kieth Higgins and James Mcarthys , he reminds me of Meath Karl lacey. Meath have a top class centre back for the first time since Liam Harnan. That has been massive for Meath.

4 The main area ofs Meaths improvement was our defence. This is best Meath defence in ten years at least. Meath have 4 top class defenders. They are Donal keoghan Conor McGill Seamus Lavin and Shane Gallagher. Seamus lavin has emerged as quality corner back, the best we have had since Niall McKeigue retired 10 years ago. Conor McGill is one of the best full backs in the country. And Gallagher has been best man marker in Meath club football for years and has adapted to inter game very well. While young Ronan Ryan has been one of our finds of the season. He is tenacious Summerhill defender carrying on Mick Lyons and Mark Reilly Summerhill defending tradition. Mcoy has also been good. Niall kane and James McEntee means Meath have two quality effective wing backs. Its a pity kane will be out for months after picking up an injury v kildare. But overall this is Meaths best defence in at least ten years. Meath have a division 1 defence.

5 Meath have a group of players who are now peaking. Many of them r off the 2012 minor All Ireland finalist team eg Cillian Sullivan James and Shane McEntee Adam.Flanagan Seamus Lavin Padraig Harnan were all.on that team. While players like Donal Keoghan Brian Menton Conor McGill are also peaking. Player start to peak at 25 and reach peak at 27 28. These group of players have now years of strenght and conditioning and now are peaking and better equipped for inter county football.

6 Meaths tackling has improved in defence but also in attack. In the past few years Meath players would lose the ball in the tackle, we had a small team in stature. Who wud lose the ball in contact. Now after a few years strenght and conditioning ,these players are now stronger in the tackle. While younger players coming thru are the first generation of Meath players who have had strenght and conditioning training at underage. These new young players are bigger and more Atletic then underage players we have produced in a while.

7 Another reason for Meaths progress has been these new young players. Meath have a young team the average age is 23 24. But for the first time since 2012 when Padraig Harnan Alan Forde Damien Carroll Conor Gillespie in 2012 made a straightaway impact. For first time in years Meath have under 21 players making an impact straightaway. Players like Daragh Campion Ethan Devine Ronan Ryan and James Conlon all under 21 players all have made an impact . The good news is I can see 3 or 4 new young players next year and the year after making impact as Meaths best underage talent since 90s start coming through.

8 Andy McEntee in his first year or two was probably trying to do everything. Coaching and managing. This year he has brought in Nally as coach and this has worked real well. Andy McEntee is doing more one on one man mangement with the players this year. McEntees is good at man management. He can be blunt but he is a good motivator. Players like Michael Dara Macauley and Colm Keaney Dublin players who have been managed by Pat Gilroy Anthony Daly and Jim Galvin said McEntee was best manager they played under. McEntee managing the players this year is working.

8 The introduction of Nally as a coach has been very important. Coachs importance has grown massively recently. Paul Grimley Peter Lally Donie Buckley Cian O Neill Jason Sherlock have all showed how important a quality coach is. Jim Galvin or Mickey Harte dont do the coaching . They manage the team. The role of modern coach has improved recently. Look at Clare and Limerick All Ireland hurling win. Paul McKinnerk was the coach on both teams. He is possibly most important figure in hurling in this decade. Nally is one best coachs in leinster. He gives seminars and writes coaching manuals. The Meath players are very very happy with him.

I wud recommended every Meath person to check out Colm Nally appearance on off the ball football show recently. U cud listen to this guy talk about football all day long. He really impressed me in this show. Nally joining the Meath management team is a turning point.

Meath have failed to adapt to modern tactics in football. How do you get the Meath players to play tactically aware football with their old school passion. For me this is the first time I have seen Meath play tactics in a modern way sucessfully with old school passion. The management team of McEntee and Nally has had a massive role. McEntees passion combined with Nallys tactical nuance has really worked.

I have been so impressed as Nally , he is a Dub. Which I would never agree with having a Dub on any Meath management team. But to give Dubs their credit they always produce good managers coachs eg Paul Cafffry Pat Gilroy Jim Galvin Mickey Whelan and Jason Sherlock. Nally has been so good that when McEntee leaves and hopefully that is a couple of seasons. Nally for me would be a genuine and only candidate as a future Meath manager at the moment eeing the serious lack of young Meath managers out there. (Hopefully someone like Kevin Reilly at Navan O Mahoneys who is doing really well there at the moment can be sucessful at Mahonys. We need new sucessful talented managers to come thru. Hopefully Kevin Reilly is one. )

So there r 8 reasons why Meath have improved this year. Meath are still not the finished article and still wil have ups and downs. But they are going in right direction. They have young team with strong defence and strong management and new talent thru. A promotion for Meath to div 1 for the first time in 13 years wud be a masive boost for Meath. And I think Meath wud adapt better to divsion 1 football then people think. Galway adapted well. Galway feel like they belong in divsion 1 and have no inferior complex. Meath would also have same mindset as Galway and and wud have no inferior complex. If Meath cud get 4 games in Navan as Meath have a great record in Navan that would be massive for Meath. Hopefully we dont mess up next week. Meath football is turning the corner. And this can only be good for football. Leinster needs a strong Meath and kildare. Hopefully we see a Meath v kildare league final. 3 leinster teams in division wud be great for leinster football."
Please keep your answers short, I'm probably one of many who never read it because of the length of it

PyatPree (Cork) - Posts: 373 - 18/03/2019 21:50:28    2173531

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Replying To panamasam:  "Donegal have made things hard for themselves and really should be on 10 points. I would point to the Tipp game mainly in which Donegal largely dominated before hitting the self destruct button. A win on Sunday against Kildare will not come easy that is for sure. As for Michael Murphy lifting Sam again? Here is hoping but someway off at this moment in time. As for Meath seems there is alot to be optimistic about. Think u can put down Div 1 next year as a given."
Donegal would not have beaten Meath if it wasn't for a howler from our keeper.

Meath were comfortably winning by 4 points with the game at a close. The mistake was a sucker punch.

Freak accidents happen. Donegal fans were gracious enough to see it for what it was and know that they got out of jail.

I would say Donegal fans would be most disappointed with the loss to Tipp who look certain to drop to Division 3

Royalio11 (Meath) - Posts: 718 - 18/03/2019 21:59:01    2173532

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