Mick O’Dowd has stuck true to his word to give youth its fling by naming a Meath side featuring nine players who have never played competitively at senior inter-county level before for Sunday’s O’Byrne Cup opener against Westmeath at Cusack Park, Mullingar, 2.0.
The goalkeeper position and the entire full-back line will be filled by novices with Dunboyne’s Andy Markey set to start between the posts, while Moynalvey’s Darren Brennan, Ratoath’s Conor McGill and Ballinabrackey’s Nicky Judge will occupy the full-back line.
The half-back line will also see two debutants with Bective’s Ciaran McConnell and Curraha’s Neil Shortall coming in while Summerhill’s Davy Dalton returns from injury to wear the number seven shirt.
Skryne’s Harry Rooney has been handed his first start at midfield alongside Clonard’s Adam Flanagan and while the attacking unit boasts experience from Damien Carroll and Graham Reilly there are returns to the fold for Simonstown’s Sean Tobin and Na Fianna's Jamie Queeney.
Walterstown’s Ruairi O’Dowd and Dunshaughlin’s Fergus Toolan complete the list of first-time starters for Sunday’s eagerly anticipated opener against the neighbours from the west.
O'Dowd has named Graham Reilly as the captain for Sunday's game with Donal Keogan on the bench. The manager also has to do without his college-tied players Bryan McMahon and Brian Power (DIT), Padraic Harnan and James McEntee (UCD) and Dunshaughlin's Ben Duggan who is with Maynooth.