Royals back in action before goose is cooked
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.