Five takeaways from last Saturday's crushing loss to Dublin
SHOULD HE STAY OR SHOULD HE GO?
It didn't take long for social media to light up with some people calling for Meath manager Andy McEntee to resign in the aftermath of the 21-point drubbing by Dublin. Where's the logic in that? It certainly wasn't McEntee's fault Meath were beaten on Saturday night. It was a chastening occasion, one experienced by many managers before against Dublin. This in an exceptional Dublin team, 20 years in the making with well financed structures in place to help them succeed. Dublin would hammer the pick of the rest of the counties in Leinster and outside of Donegal, Kerry, Galway, Mayo and Tyrone they would beat the pick of the rest of the country. Removing the Meath manager now would be a mistake. McEntee has one of the best coaches in the game in Colm Nally, one of the leading strength and conditioning men in Ireland in Niall Ronan, selectors with multiple All-Ireland medals and he himself has won All-Irelands both as a player with Meath and as a manager with Ballyboden St Enda's. Keep the faith, the darkest hour is just before dawn.
CHANGES FROM LEAGUE
What a difference five weeks can make. When play resumed after the lockdown Meath faced Dublin in Parnell Park on 17th October and ran their hosts to within four points. Fast forward five weeks later and Dublin inflicted a 21-point defeat on the Royals in the Leinster final. Twelve of the Dublin side that started that NFL Div 1 game started Saturday's final in Croker. Of the other three, Eoin Murchan and Sean Bugler came on in Parnell Park while James McCarthy didn't feature five weeks ago. Only nine of the Meath side that started the 0-19 to 1-20 loss to Dublin in the league started last Saturday with Conor McGill, Seamus Lavin, Matt Costello, Jordan Morris, Ronan Ryan and Bryan McMahon all coming in.
To give an indication of what Meath need to be aiming for to compete with Dublin then they need to improve significantly on their shooting stats. Granted scoring chances were few and far between for Meath last Saturday, but when presented with them the Royals needed to be more ruthless. From their 21 shots Meath scored just nine times that's a return of 42 per cent. Dublin had 35 shots and scored 24 times (68 per cent). From Meath's five placed balls they scored just two (40 per cent), while Dean Rock was near perfect for Dublin scoring six of his seven attempts and Paul Mannion scoring their other for a conversion rate from placed balls of 87 per cent. Massive targets for Meath to aim for.
The mark is adding nothing to the game other than spoiling it as a spectacle. Watching Paddy Small make a couple of marks from passes that were questionably inside the 20 metre distance that he was supposed to be away from the kicker and then taking longer than the 15 second permitted to execute was frustrating. Joey Wallace did add a point from a mark for Meath, but the experiment needs to be done away with because it is almost impossible to police properly.
PLAYER OF THE MATCH
This is short and sweet. Nobody can be faulted for effort, many were tortured by a brilliant Dublin side, but few will recall fond memories. Jordan Morris might reflect on his first Leinster SFC final as a decent outing with a four-point return and he was probably Meath's liveliest threat on the night.