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Meath 2022

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Replying To brian:  "That's true i guess ;) I think the thing off Menton getting all the game time over the last couple of years has meant no one has had a chance to get much time. He's had McEntee, Devine, Jones and Harnan in there at various stages but no one has really nailed down the second jersey and now we're as you say without good back ups.

As someone said yesterday we've a bunch of decent half forwards and half backs, they all look and play in a very similar way, all solid 6/10 players who can beat those teams they should, but no real standouts anywhere. Would any of the current squad make the Dublin, Kerry, Mayo or Tyrone starting 15's??

Hopefully that standouts who made up the successful underage teams starts coming through and showing that they're up to senior inter county football. The like of Morris, Costello, Walsh and Hickey are decent but if we're going to improve as a team we need all of them to make a huge jump in 2022 and take over this team. Then when the likes of Eoghan Frayne, Ciaran Caulfield, Sean Emmanuel, Conor Gray, Jack Kinlough, Liam Kelly, Mossy Corbett, Conor Ennis and others starting coming in and pushing other aside we might be able to get back to where we'd all like to be and that's in Division 1 and challenging for Leinster and All Ireland Titles."
Yeah midfield is a real issue. The names we have mentioned i'm not even sure some of them are up to the standard of an inter county midfield so we certainly won't have replacements for them. Those young players you mentioned at the end of your post are all great prospects but I would say are at a minimum 2 years of being contenders to start for the senior team and that would be best case scenario .

Blackspot09 (Meath) - Posts: 756 - 26/01/2022 15:55:46    2396581

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Replying To Crinigan:  "Lavin isn't his hole 6ft 2! I marked about three years who and no way is he taller than me. I'm 6ft 1. O Sullivan and Hickey aren't over 6ft either. The other lads you mention I never said weren't over 6ft."
Jeez Crinigan, i can just imagine the angry typing during this post.... If only we could have GIFS on HS i know the exact one i'd have posted here ;) Funnily enough your post made total sense to me but that's a whole other story ;)

brian (Meath) - Posts: 1916 - 26/01/2022 16:10:27    2396584

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Replying To Blackspot09:  "Yeah midfield is a real issue. The names we have mentioned i'm not even sure some of them are up to the standard of an inter county midfield so we certainly won't have replacements for them. Those young players you mentioned at the end of your post are all great prospects but I would say are at a minimum 2 years of being contenders to start for the senior team and that would be best case scenario ."
Agreed Blackspot, and that's just midfield ;)

Agreed those are all great prospects and you never know which of them might drop off or come through or what other players might all come through too, and for me they'd be 3-4 years away at a minimum, that's why you'd hope the Costello's, Hickey's, Walsh's and Morris's would come through and take over now. By the time those younger guys are coming through you're losing the Lavin's, McGill's, McEntee's, Wallaces, Harnan's and O'Sullivans out of the team and starting again.

brian (Meath) - Posts: 1916 - 26/01/2022 16:31:41    2396592

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Replying To Blackspot09:  "Yeah midfield is a real issue. The names we have mentioned i'm not even sure some of them are up to the standard of an inter county midfield so we certainly won't have replacements for them. Those young players you mentioned at the end of your post are all great prospects but I would say are at a minimum 2 years of being contenders to start for the senior team and that would be best case scenario ."
Agreed. While Jones looks like a decent option if he can maintain fitness, Menton just doesn't cut it as a top standard intercounty midfielder in my opinion. He lacks footballing ability and sets up little or nothing for the forwards from his boot. The half fowards/ half backs are all at a very similar level and no doubt there are probably another dozen the same from Meath club football aswell. We need a player with the vision or imagination of Giles or x-factor that Geraghty brought. Shane Walsh has good potential but needs to find a role that suits him and the team. Possibly centreforward as he tends to drift from full forward line. Magill needs to up his game and hopefully Hogan can push on in goals. No doubt the young lads have great potential but we will have to wait and see. Can see Jack Flynn and James O'Hare to make big impacts this year if given the opportunity.

winatallcost (Meath) - Posts: 395 - 26/01/2022 17:58:32    2396608

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Replying To brian:  "RD think it's a bit unfair to say pointless arguments about management as they control the "product" we see on the pitch. All of the points you make will be directly influenced by the management so to speak of one without the other is to deny the role the management have in games.

On the points you make,
1) Yes maybe they are in heavy training but once more the main aim for this year is getting out of division 2. And we play the two teams we're likely competing with for promotion first up. Going heavy and running lads to a standstill and having them heavy legged going into those games is only crippling the main aim of the year. By 6th February our season could in effect be over. I would hope they've tapered off on heavy training.
2) Agreed we've no idea who our best 15 and 26 is. Unfortunately I think we'll all be able to name 12-13 of the likely starters for Sunday and with very little new blood or fresh faces I don't see much changing come Sunday.
3) Yep midfield is a huge concern but with Jones and Menton out it's a chance to see what else is there. I think Andy will have a combination of Ethan Devine and Padraic Harnan or Shane McEntee starting there. Personally I'd like to see Costello tried there as something different.
4) Backline is weaker for sure and with Keoghan moving back into the full back line we're missing our best attacking wing back

I'm very concerned heading to Salthill and given how well Galway have looked so far this season. Many will tell us it's pre season competitions but winning is winning and gives you momentum heading into matches.

For Sunday i think we'll see the following, this is not who i would pick but who i think Andy will pick

Colgan
Clarke/Keoghan
Keoghan/McGill (if fit)
Harkin/ Ryan
Hickey
Harnan/ S McEntee
J McEntee
Devine
S McEntee/ Harnan
Costello
McMahon
O'Sullivan
Morris
Walsh
O'Reilly/ Banty"
My apologies for not replying sooner.
My point was to focus on the game itself. Now probably should have made a new thread. But what I was looking for was more comment on game alone. Like starting 15, match ups , predictions etc. strength and weakness of us and them.
But as I read through we talking about guys heights etc. that's all fine and dandy. But after a long break our first game post covid restrictions , I wanted to get away from that talk at least for a game. As I said I probably just should have set up a thread for the game.

royaldunne (Meath) - Posts: 19142 - 26/01/2022 19:06:04    2396621

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Replying To winatallcost:  "Agreed. While Jones looks like a decent option if he can maintain fitness, Menton just doesn't cut it as a top standard intercounty midfielder in my opinion. He lacks footballing ability and sets up little or nothing for the forwards from his boot. The half fowards/ half backs are all at a very similar level and no doubt there are probably another dozen the same from Meath club football aswell. We need a player with the vision or imagination of Giles or x-factor that Geraghty brought. Shane Walsh has good potential but needs to find a role that suits him and the team. Possibly centreforward as he tends to drift from full forward line. Magill needs to up his game and hopefully Hogan can push on in goals. No doubt the young lads have great potential but we will have to wait and see. Can see Jack Flynn and James O'Hare to make big impacts this year if given the opportunity."
I wouldnt agree with you there regarding Menton. He has been our only consistent midfielder for the past 5 years. He must have had about 10 different midfield partners in that time and none of them cut it. Whilst Menton is not a great fielder, there is no doubting his football ability and he has probably scored more from play than most of our forwards. In an ideal world if Meath had not lost so many midfielders he would be in his best position wing back or CHB.

kingofclubs (Meath) - Posts: 307 - 27/01/2022 10:13:38    2396665

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Replying To kingofclubs:  "I wouldnt agree with you there regarding Menton. He has been our only consistent midfielder for the past 5 years. He must have had about 10 different midfield partners in that time and none of them cut it. Whilst Menton is not a great fielder, there is no doubting his football ability and he has probably scored more from play than most of our forwards. In an ideal world if Meath had not lost so many midfielders he would be in his best position wing back or CHB."
I would be more concerned about the alternatives at the moment as neither Hernan or Devine are natural midfielders. Just on another note, Dublin look extremely vulnerable at the moment. While it is only January, there is no doubt they are in severe decline. We have to be ready to take our chance which could be very soon. No point in allowing the likes of Kildare or Offaly to jump above us.

winatallcost (Meath) - Posts: 395 - 30/01/2022 10:37:40    2397106

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Meath need to mix up their attacking game plan. They're quite effective at running the ball through the middle at speed with players coming off the shoulder. But that's energy sapping. Shane Walsh is a ball winner. Using him as a diagonal ball target man like Armagh used Rian O Neill last night (and have been for 2 years!) is an option we don't seem equipped to use. Gotta keep the defence thinking and one successful long ball punt, could open up the game to other attacking threats.

GenderNeutral (Meath) - Posts: 101 - 30/01/2022 13:06:28    2397155

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Replying To ratlag:  "Gallagher isn't on the panel anymore as far as I know (if he is then fair enough). Ben Brennan isn't either, Ryan, Hickey, O Connor, O Sullivan are all 6ft and definitely not 5'10. Over the past number of years I've played with and/or against almost all of them, and considering I myself am 6ft I can be quite confident in my assumptions here.
I don't disagree that we have a number of similar players (just that most are about 5'10) but when you look at the club scene, what players that are different to what's in there at the minute are actually good enough for county? Leno was at best hot and cold with Meath, and while I don't think any of the lads in there currently are doing much better than he did (exception being maybe Morris and O Sullivan) to say he was excellent is a big overstatement, and I'm a fan of him on the club scene by the way"
Andy's problems started from Day 1 .he has two major weaknesses , that are lethal in an environment where there is no major competitive advantage....he is not a strategic thinking or more importantly Planner....and allied to that, Andy is not naturally an open person to ideas/opinions...So his strengths can achieve success in a different environment, but where the environment is challenging, Andy will struggle
id guess that Andy never set out a 5 Year Plan for his tenure , really, and doesn't have, nor does he see the need for personal long term plans for guys...There is , im sure a desire to be somewhere,,,, and a wish or "vision" of a future...but really, is there a clear route map ....we can only go by what we see, and whether its the goalkeeping situation, the free-taking,, or even some changing (what seems like to the outsider) baffling decisions on individual players...all points to me of a lack of real medium or long term strategic planning
ive said it before...But It would have been alien to Andy to set a Goal , when he was appointed , of making the cornerstone of his tenure for Meath to be a consistent Division 1 Squad......To a "winner" like Andy , that just would never have entered his head...so form Day 1 he was doomed....
And , like , so other examples...as his dream slips away, Andy compromises more & more in the short term , to try & re-ignite it ...I have great respect & regard for Andy, and his core beliefs , and the committment he brings to any project...but the fault doesn't lie with Andy alone..
Sooner its over for him the better ...Im hoping that the players that he has backed, back him & get him & us some results this year that we can shout about ...and then it comes to another crossroads....and we have got each appointment over the last 10-15 years , badly wrong...start working on Planning that now . , so that we end up with a better result ..finally

Thelongwoodslasher (Meath) - Posts: 379 - 02/02/2022 11:37:40    2397894

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I've taken my time in trying to dissect what has happened on Sunday and try and have some rational opinions about what we witnessed and have to admit there have been some really good points made by people and that most people want to see us succeed and try and bridge the gap back to the top table and for me we're sliding further and further by the day. This is as result of many things and blame needs to be shared by all of the county board, executive, management and players.

From my view point we have regressed hugely since 2019 when we got to the super 8's. Andy McEntee at that time deserved a 3 year extension to his contract and I don't argue the point that he got it at all. However that was the high point of his reign and we've slid heavily since then and I know fear by the end of this season we'll have fallen right back to where Andy picked us up as a team that's not close to fit enough for the modern game, with a very similar group of players who are decent tidy footballers but who seemingly lack the required hunger and drive to better themselves and get Meath back to where we would all like to be. I know it's very easy for me to say this having never competed at the level these players and management do and understand the things they put themselves through to get on the pitch for games, but as a fan who travels and follows them I'm entitled to have an opinion on things.

County Board and Executive
The county board have failed the county miserably since before Sean Boylan left in the mid 00's. They never invested sufficiently in underage and developing the required structures to keep the train rolling. Only know are we catching up and succeeding at minor level and hopefully we'll soon be doing likewise at U20 level and they're developing a joined up system of management. We all hope that within 5 years these successful underage teams will be back boning the Meath senior team.

During this summer it was clear that it was time to move on from Andy McEntee. He had brought us as far as he could and needed to be put out of his misery. I don't for a second doubt his passion and commitment to the Meath cause but it's time to move on. Everything we've seen this year so far only backs up the point that he should've been removed.

The executive took 3+ months to decide not to back him for the final year of his contract and then provided this recommendation to clubs with no alternative. The clubs with no alternative to Andy were asked in November to back or remove him. That's amateur hour stuff and whilst the county board were talking about pathways for John McCarthy and Cathal O'Bric from minor to U20 and the underage sponsorship with Bective Stud our senior team was left untouched. The senior team is the undoubted flagship of your county and it was left to rot and rust in the hope some people might forget about it.

Approaching the clubs without a succession plan in place in November made the county look like a laughing stock. This came on the back of them not back the U20 manager earlier in the year and enforcing agreed upon arrangements that the U20 manager would have access to the U20 players on the senior panel. The U20 manager walked away 2 weeks before the championship and rightly so.

If we're being honest Andy should've been gone after the Dublin match. Our 2020 goal to stay in division 1 wasn't achieved and our 2021 goal of getting back to division 1 wasn't achieved and if we're brutally honest we weren't close to achieveing either stated league goal, whilst suffering multiple heavy defeats to our biggest rivals from 2019 to 2021 in the championship.

Andy McEntee and his management team
Lets be honest and admit that there's no need to go over the long list of shortcomings again in details (goalkeeping issues, kick out strategy, lack of midfielders, free takers, slow starts and giving up a huge leads - all of which were on display last Sunday again) but what improvements has he made since 2019.

Please don't tell me he's made them fitter, fitness is a minimum requirement and should be the absolute floor of what is needed to be an inter county manager. And since 2019 I would suggest our fitness has gone backwards. This was evident during 2020 and 2021 when teams played around us with barely a glove being laid on them. On Sunday it was evident how unfit these players are when Galway players were getting balls in 5-10 yards of space. Our players couldn't get to them quickly enough. and Galway picked of scores at will.

I've seen many claim he brought through Morris, Hickey, Costelo, Harkin, Walsh and a few others. That's no achievement at all. It's his job to get these players involved. If the senior manager can't bring through the best young talent in the county then what is he doing in the role. And all of these players were earmarked from minor as senior players of the future. What players has he brought in that have seriously improved under him, I'd hazrad a guess that no player is vastly better under him. Many will point to Lavin, McGill and some players from when he started but the are in the same boat as the new blood from 2020 and 21, all underage players who were earmarked for intercounty.

Since 2019, our tactics have not changed or adapted or been built upon. I saw someone mention McGeeny and Armagh at the weekend. Make the comparison they were a division 3 side under him, they've built year on year and steadily and gradually improved. They've built year on year and know there style of play and its very similar to the armagh teams of the early 00's that are athletic and kick the ball into their full forward line diagonally to give them a chance. Their inside forwards are able to win clean ball turn and score. Our plan is to play a ball into a one man inside forward who's not able to do that and that ball is turned over and straight back down the pitch. In the 2019 Leinster final i watched Banty Conlon who's barely 5'10 and 12 stone trying to win ball against 2 6'+ 14 stone Dublin defenders and we've seen similar in 20 and 21. That's not a tactic that's setting yourself up to fail.

Andy hasn't been able to adapt with the times, he's not a modern intercounty manager who's able to talk gently and encourage players to perform above themselves. His tactics of playing small nippy forwards is akin to Mick O'Dowd and like those teams we don't score enough to beat teams at an equal or better level than us. Modern teams are getting 18-25 scores a game, we're lucky to get 12-15 scores.

As an honest question what's our standout game under Andy where we've really put a team to the sword. Kildare in leinster 2020 is the one that sticks out to me and we got 14 scores that day, luckily we got 5 goals.

I said it a few weeks ago our season could be over the 6th February and nothing is going to change my mind on that and it could be even worse than i imagined.

Players
One thing i won't knock Andy for is his willingness to give players a chance and over the past 6 season's he's given many of them a chance and disregarded more than he has kept. I know many on here will say the players are within the county and I would disagree. Those deserving have been given a chance bar maybe a half dozen who are either too old or still U20 at the moment.

GK - Sean Brennan, Dean Pluck
D - Conor Harford, Brian McGrath, Luke Moran, John Lavelle, Adam O'Neill, Niall O'Reilly, Ciaran Caulfield, Colin Hawdon
M - Oisin Reilly, Fionn Ferguson, Daithi McGowan, Rob Bourke
F - Frank O'Reilly, Oisin Martyn, Aaron Lynch, Luke Mitchell, Seamus Mattimoe

There's a bunch of lads who are as good as what's already on the panel and with a year or two of inter county training might displace some of the existing panel. You would hope that an incoming manager might take a look at some of them in addition to what's there and with an eye on the U20 and minor teams of the last couple of years coming through in 3-4 years time. Maybe work with a panel of 50 lads and have an U23 team or something and have them playing friendlies against the lesser counties and give them a taste of intercounty football. I might shut up some of those claiming Andy never gave x and y players a chance.

However i think it's time the players had a long hard look in the mirror and evaluated themselves. Too many of them have been in and on the panel since before the start of Andy's reign and haven't developed themselves into what they could've been. That could be through a combination of a lack of desire on their part or inadequate preparation on the part of management but they need to take a huge part in the accountability of where we are.

I saw someone mentioned a starting 15 and said we've maybe half a dozen IC standard players and another half dozen that it's too early to say on, with only 1 division 1 standard player who's coming to the end of his time. I think that's a very fair assessment. I mentioned last week the younger players need to take this team by the scruff of the neck and drive standards and levels within the team. It might be to early for them but they need to do it.

I think for us to move forward as a county we need to
1) get the structures in place from minor to U20 sorted and strengthen the link to senior
2) move on from Andy and his team, thank them for their passion and work and acknowledge their highs
3) get in a management team and succession plan that will guide us through some choppy waters until hopefully we can bring though the underage talent within the county.
4) get a style of play in place from U14 or whatever the lowest age groups are that players are ready to play when they are good enough.
5) get our fitness, strength and conditioning improved at all levels. Everyone from senior to minor should have access to Niall Ronan and have programmes available to them
6) Skills coaching is a basic requirement and needs huge work all round the county.

brian (Meath) - Posts: 1916 - 02/02/2022 17:08:39    2398001

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On Daithi McGowan, I'd like to see him play midfield for his club and dominate in the championship before throwing him in with Meath at midfield.

He's been at wing forward for most games I've seen him play. I know Ratoath play himself and Flynn on the wings and use them as options for kickouts but it didn't work out against the Tones.

UsernameInvalid (Meath) - Posts: 322 - 02/02/2022 18:09:13    2398016

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As a marker in the sand lads so we can judge later, just so it's clear - the county board should be actively scouting for a new manager for next year right NOW. Likes of Stephen Rochford, Jim McGuinness, Eamonn Murray, Brennan at Kilmacud, Michael McDermott at Wolfe Tones, to name a few possible candidates who could be sounded out and be looking at club matches and getting back room setups together that can be put forward to county board and clubs.

If it comes to next October and November and they are at a loss with no immediate succession plan in place, then we know they are not at it and are asleep. They're well on notice at this stage that we need a new manager.

Crinigan (Meath) - Posts: 1291 - 18/02/2022 12:10:41    2400972

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Replying To Crinigan:  "As a marker in the sand lads so we can judge later, just so it's clear - the county board should be actively scouting for a new manager for next year right NOW. Likes of Stephen Rochford, Jim McGuinness, Eamonn Murray, Brennan at Kilmacud, Michael McDermott at Wolfe Tones, to name a few possible candidates who could be sounded out and be looking at club matches and getting back room setups together that can be put forward to county board and clubs.

If it comes to next October and November and they are at a loss with no immediate succession plan in place, then we know they are not at it and are asleep. They're well on notice at this stage that we need a new manager."
If i could give this 2 thunbs up i would. Brennan is involved with the underage/ minor team this season i think. Surely he could be spoken too about the senior job. Rochford and McGuinness are non runners for me. McGuinness a great mind but he'd take a couple of years to implement his style and might burn bridges quickly, Rochford travelling across the country multiple times a week might be a bit much to ask and who knows about the Mayo job after this season, it could be available again. I'd add Malachy O'Rourke to the list if he was interested.

brian (Meath) - Posts: 1916 - 18/02/2022 14:34:23    2400994

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Replying To Crinigan:  "As a marker in the sand lads so we can judge later, just so it's clear - the county board should be actively scouting for a new manager for next year right NOW. Likes of Stephen Rochford, Jim McGuinness, Eamonn Murray, Brennan at Kilmacud, Michael McDermott at Wolfe Tones, to name a few possible candidates who could be sounded out and be looking at club matches and getting back room setups together that can be put forward to county board and clubs.

If it comes to next October and November and they are at a loss with no immediate succession plan in place, then we know they are not at it and are asleep. They're well on notice at this stage that we need a new manager."
The way I see it we have only two options, because those with the power, ignored the evidence that change was long overdue and backed manager for another term. Option one; if we loose to Down on Sunday then manager should be required to step aside, with one of the backroom team taking charge . We can then commence the search for new manager. Option two; CB have backed their man for this season, so there is no way they can start looking for a new manager until season is over. To start the search with manager in place would completey undermine the process. No serious canidate would entertain an approach with so many ifs and buts in place and in fairness to Andy Mac how could he operate with this going on in the background, what happens if he turns things around and results start to go our way? As you say we need to get new man in place asap, with no repeat of the shambles of last year, however I think no move should be made ( with exception of option one) until season ends.

seadog54 (Meath) - Posts: 2074 - 18/02/2022 19:31:59    2401027

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