Roy­als back in ac­tion be­fore goose is cooked

Mid Louth Independent - - SPORT -

THERE was a time when life was much less com­pli­cated - it seems such a long time ago and the GAA sea­son didn’t start un­til the snow had cleared from be­hind the ditches, usu­ally the mid­dle of Fe­bru­ary.

Now in the age of cut­ting edge tech­nol­ogy, down­load­ing and up­load­ing, twit­ter and snap chat, not for­get­ting face­book live and stream­ing, and here we have the 2019 sea­son com­menc­ing be­fore the goose is cooked.

Well Meath’s goose was well and truly cooked long be­fore the hottest sum­mer in liv­ing mem­ory. The An­nus mirabilis on the weather front turned into the An­nus hor­ri­bilis for the Meath se­nior foot­ball team as they failed to make an im­pact in Di­vi­sion 2 of the NFL and their cham­pi­onship cam­paign ended with­out a sin­gle vic­tory.

They did how­ever carry off some sil­ver­ware in the form of the O’Byrne Cup fol­low­ing a 4-13 to 1-13 vic­tory over West­meath. That de­cider, for a va­ri­ety of rea­sons, didn’t take place un­til May 13th and now less than seven months later the Roy­als start the de­fence of their ‘crown’ when they take on Laois at O’Moore Park this Satur­day, De­cem­ber 8th, at 6pm.

Apart from the in­ter­est gen­er­ated by ‘new play­ers’ get­ting a run, the O’Byrne Cup will also see the in­tro­duc­tion of the ex­per­i­men­tal changes for the first time.

Five changes to the game’s rules in re­gards to kick-outs, side­line kicks, hand­pass­ing, a ‘sin bin’ and the mark will cause a stir if noth­ing else.

How­ever re­gard­less of whether they are a suc­cess or not they won’t be in place in next sum­mer’s cham­pi­onship.

The amended kick-out rule that will see kicks taken from the 20-me­tre line, but does not have to pass the 45-me­tre line.

It is Andy McEn­tee’s third year of his three year term and he will be hop­ing that this one is a lit­tle kinder than the pre­vi­ous two when lit­tle or no progress was made.

Meath al­ready have had two matches (and wins) un­der their belt against Leitrim and Louth re­spec­tively in re­cent weeks with teams that con­tained a mix­ture of the new and the old.

That trend will likely con­tinue in Port­laoise with the likes of Donal Keogan, Bryan Men­ton, James McEn­tee, Gra­ham Reilly and the re­turn­ing Mickey New­man pro­vid­ing the ex­pe­ri­ence.

There could be game time for St Colm­cille’s James Con­lon, Si­mon­stown’s Niall Kane, Skryne’s Dar­ragh Cam­pion, Moy­lagh’s Sean Reilly and Bal­linabrackey’s Danny Quinn.

Wex­ford are the other team in the group and the win­ner of each of the three groups ad­vance to the semi-fi­nals along with Dublin who have re­ceived a bye.

Rathkenny’s James O’Hare re­ceives his Le­in­ster MFC medal from county se­nior man­ager Andy McEn­tee at the un­der­age pre­sen­ta­tion night in Na­van O’Ma­ho­nys.

St Colm­cille’s Endy Ehi­choya re­ceives his Gerry Reilly U-16 FT medal from county se­nior man­ager Andy McEn­tee at the un­der­age pre­sen­ta­tion night in Na­van O’Ma­ho­nys.

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