Action from last Sunday's one-sided affair.

Trip to Ballycran is a big challenge

PREVIEW

If you were like Meath last Sunday and suffered a 0-17 to 5-28 defeat to Carlow in the NHL Div 2A, but were eager to get back to winning ways, one of the scenarios you would want to avoid is having to go to Ballycran to tackle Down in search of a morale-restoring victory.

Yet that's exactly the situation Nick Weir and his charges find themselves in following the demolition by the Carlowmen.

Trips to the North invariably prove to be daunting and disappointing for Meath hurling teams and the Royal County's visit to the venue for the clash with Down this Sunday is about as formidable as it gets - and all the evidence points to a home win.

And yet there is always hope.

While Meath were taking a mother and father of a pounding against Carlow last Sunday, Down were also absorbing at pasting at the hands of Div 2A leaders Offaly.

Like Meath, Down also shipped five goals last Sunday, 5-25 to be exact, while responding with decent tally of 1-19.

When teams get beaten by that much they can respond positively or get mired in negativity and leave themselves open to further setbacks.

It will be interesting to see how both Meath and Down respond to their respective setbacks.

Certainly Meath manager Nick Weir is under no illusions about the magnitude of the challenge facing his team.

Sunday's league game is a dress rehearsal for the game between the two teams in the Joe McDonagh Cup in a few weeks time.

"Down are going to be a serious team to play in Ballycran, they will be going all out to take two scalps from Meath, in both the league and McDonagh Cup," stated Meath manager Nick Weir.

"We have to be ready, we have to be able to stand up to them and be men, it's the only way against a tough team like that," he added.

Down have already racked up two victories in their league campaign, impressively defeating Carlow (3-20 to 3-18) in what was undoubtedly the shock result in Div 2A so far, while also accounting for Wicklow (3-26 to 0-14).

Donal Hughes, Caolan Taggart and Daithi Sands are some of the talented players Down have in their ranks while Paul Sheehan is a very accurate free-taker.

With Meath and Down facing each other in the forthcoming McDonagh Cup, a victory for either side on Sunday would have to go down as a chance to gain a significant psychologial edge.

Perhaps more importantly a win would restore morale following setbacks against Offaly and Carlow.

If Meath can shore up their defence and show more invention in attack - they didn't create a clear goal-scoring chance against Carlow - they have an outside chance.

Reality, and past experience, however, points to one outcome - a victory for Down.

More from this Topic