McEntee makes no excuses for Meath
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.’