McEn­tee makes no ex­cuses for Meath

The Argus - - SPORT - SEAN WALL

MEATH boss Andy McEn­tee hardly needed a re­minder that man­age­ment brings its fair share of dis­ap­point­ment and set­backs. How­ever he got it on Sun­day as Louth sprung an early year sur­prise on their neigh­bours in this O’Byrne Cup semi-fi­nal.

How­ever the rookie man­ager didn’t of­fer any ex­cuses or lay the blame at some­one else’s door fol­low­ing this in­ept per­for­mance.

‘To be per­fectly hon­est even at 0-4 to 0-2 I don’t think we were play­ing par­tic­u­larly well. Louth had a few wides, we didn’t seem to be as sharp or as ag­gres­sive as I would have liked. Even so even at four to two the signs were there that we were in a slight bit of trou­ble.

‘No I didn’t see what hap­pened with the send­ing off, there were a lot of bod­ies there and it seemed strange that he picked one guy out but ob­vi­ously some­one saw some­thing, I think it was the lines­man that brought it to his at­ten­tion.’

De­spite the send­ing-off of Alan Forde af­ter just 20 min­utes and then the con­ces­sion of eight suc­ces­sive points, Meath man­aged a mini re­vival to re­duce the deficit back to two with 15 min­utes re­main­ing.

‘It did look like the subs were hav­ing an im­pact in the sec­ond half and we were on the way back. We got it back to two points and we had a cou­ple of chances and there were a cou­ple of bad de­ci­sions at that stage,’ McEn­tee con­tin­ued. ‘ We had two shots at goal that went wide which were prob­a­bly the wrong op­tion. I think Louth got the next score and that broke our mo­men­tum a bit. We never re­ally re­cov­ered from there.’

Re­gard­ing the black card shown to Jack Han­ni­gan late on, McEn­tee said he had no com­plaints af­ter be­ing in­formed that the keeper had tripped Sam Mul­roy off the ball.

Go­ing with­out a score for more than 30 min­utes proved prob­lem­atic for Meath, though.

‘We strug­gled to get a foothold and clean pos­ses­sion in the scor­ing zone so that is some­thing we need to look at. Again we kicked some long ball when it wasn’t re­ally on, we kicked it into their ex­tra man at the back.

‘Some days you don’t have it. There was been a pretty heavy week’s work done, maybe that was re­spon­si­ble for some of it. Your at­ti­tude is your at­ti­tude, if we had it for that 20-minute pe­riod in the sec­ond half why didn’t we have it at the start. I don’t know the an­swer to that but we didn’t have it.’

Meath cap­tain Gra­ham Reilly came in for some at­ten­tion from Louth and got few chances to pro­duce his hallmark surging runs and ac­cord­ing to McEn­tee this is some­thing that the bet­ter play­ers can ex­pect.

‘Gra­ham is one of those play­ers that at­tracts a lot of at­ten­tion, he is one of our bet­ter play­ers so he is go­ing to get a cer­tain amount of at­ten­tion. It is up to ref­er­ees to recog­nise that and pro­tect him. He has to keep play­ing his game and get on with it though.’

The out­come of Sun­day’s match will have no im­pact on Meath’s sea­son, McEn­tee said, and prepa­ra­tion for the NFL will con­tinue largely as planned.

‘We will be mak­ing a call on the panel for the league at the end of the month. We thought we were go­ing to have an­other match next week but that is not now go­ing to hap­pen.

‘We’ll prob­a­bly have an­other in­ter­nal match and make our minds up af­ter that. I would love to have won to­day and have an­other game next week, a crack at Dublin in Na­van. But the re­sult has no im­pact on our sea­son, the fo­cus has been on the open­ing round of the league and Kil­dare. I wouldn’t say it changes any­thing.’

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