Sports Review of the Year - February: ... Injuries and red cards took their toll
Managers losing the rag over something is nothing unusual, although invariably it's got something to do with a referee's decision or some such. Colm O'Rourke was fuming after Shane Walsh picked up a hamstring injury in Meath's 4-8 to 0-16 win over Clare in the NFL Div 2 at Pairc Tailteann.
He was complaining about the demands placed on the top players. He blamed the heavy workload as the reason for hamstring problems that afflicted two of his forwards, Mathew Costello and Walsh and kept them out of contention. Both had been involved in Sigerson Cup games in the middle a demanding NFL schedule.
"The GAA talk about player welfare, well this is the ultimate in player abuse," the Meath manager added. At the end of the month Meath shipped a painful defeat to neighbours Louth in the NFL losing 1-15 to 1-12. Ouch! Meath, who had Harry O'Higgins harshly sent off, led by five after 45 minutes but collapsed at the wicket in the closing stages.
Meath hurling manager Seoirse Bulfin coined one of the quotes of the year after his team started their NHL Div 2B campaign with a comprehensive, 2-24 to 2-14, victory over Wicklow at Pairc Tailteann. "I'm not doing a Wenger on it but I thought it was harsh," he said. He was refering to how Meath player Damien Healy was sent off. Former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger could never see a reason why any of his players should be shown a red card - that's if he saw the incident at all.
Meath also clinched a win over Sligo, putting in a late surge to finish 0-22 to 1-13 in front and continue the good start to their 2B campaign. Bulfin's Boys were starting to motor along nicely, thank you very much. Donegal arrived in Navan next and asked some serious questions but the Royals won again, 1-23 to 0-16.
The enduring popularity of the Meath ladies football team was seen in the way a huge crowd turned up at Pairc Tailteann to support them as they played Galway in the NFL Div 1. There was good news too for the Royals in the return of Emma Duggan after a spell out injured. The All-Star scored three points but the teams finished level, 0-9 apiece.
Meath, however, waved goodbye to their hopes of retaining their league crown when they lost at home, 0-9 to 2-6, to Mayo. It was a sign of troubles ahead.
The formation of a new GAA club is not something you every day or even every decade but in early February Meath's 60th club - Eastern Gaels - was affiliated. They experienced tremendous difficulties in trying to get players transferred to them but they managed to put out teams for A FL league games. Things are sure to get easier for them as they seek to get established.