McEntee targeting victory over Armagh

Story by Fergal Lynch

Saturday, 9th February, 2019 7:00am

McEntee targeting victory over Armagh

25-03-18. Meath v Down - Allianz NFL Division 2 (Round 7) at Pairc Tailteann, Navan. A happy Andy McEntee congratulating Donal Lenihan. Photo: John Quirke / ©John Quirke Photography, Unit 17, Blackcastle Shopping Cte. Navan. Co. Meath. 046-9079044 / 087-2579454.

Such is the competitive nature of NFL Div 2 that tomorrow's clash between Meath and Armagh at Pairc Tailteann is already being billed as a 'must-win' and a 'four-pointer' for both sides as they bid to stay in touch with Donegal and Kildare.

An indication of just how tight Div 2 is can be seen that after just two rounds only one team, Donegal, have a perfect record and their aggregate winning margin over those games against Clare and Meath is just five points.
On the opening weekend of the league there were two draws and last Sunday two games finished level with Meath's next opponents Armagh involved in drawn matches over both weekends.
Both Meath and Armagh lie on two points, so a win for either next Sunday will put them right back in the promotion picture, while defeat could leave them staring a relegation battle head on so early in the campaign.
“I'm certainly very happy with the application of the players. I was happy for 60 minutes of the game on Saturday night (against Donegal). Disappointed with the result, but a lot of positives and a lot of good performances from newer members of the panel,” McEntee told the Meath Chronicle at a media briefing in Pairc Tailteann on Monday morning.
“In that regard we're in an okay spot, but things can change very quickly, certainly in this division. You win a game and you could be on top of the league or very close to the top. Lose a game and you could be on the bottom of it.
“Armagh and ourselves are both on two points now so it's a big prize to play for this weekend. There's going to be nothing in it. Everybody is pretty even in this Division so it should be a really good contest.”
McEntee is well aware of just how unlucky Armagh were not to win either of their first two games, so he is wise enough not to take anything for granted when Kieran McGeeney brings his side to Navan on Sunday.
Despite losing to Donegal last Saturday night the Meath manager is still targetting promotion to Div 1 as his main objective.
“A last minute score from Kildare, they (Armagh) probably should have won that game and it sounds like they should have won the game at the weekend,” suggested the Meath manager.
“They'd be sitting on four points but for those late scores, but that's the beauty of this league, it is so tight. We've had four draws already after two rounds so there's not much between a lot of the teams.
“Certainly Meath are stuck in it (Div 2) for a long period. It's important to get promoted, it's certainly one of the goals we set out at the start of the year. Is it the end of the world if we don't get promoted? It's not the end of the world. 
“However one of our goals for the last number of years has been to get to Div 1. Having said that, Div 2 football is very competitive. It's about getting games and it's about getting games against the likes of Donegal and Armagh and teams that are really going to put you to the pin of your collar. 
“That's how you'll improve. So definitely a goal for us is promotion, not the end of the world if we don't make it, but it's something we're trying very, very hard to do.
“Armagh are showing good form. You can certainly build a case for them sitting on full points at this stage, having played away to Kildare and then ‘at home’ to Clare yesterday. They’re as ambitious as anybody else. Kieran McGeeney is as ambitious as he’s always been, and they won’t be taking too many backward steps. So, I mean, it’s going to be a huge test – for both teams. 
“The reward would be massive. If you win on Sunday, you’re in a good enough position. If you lose, you’re looking at the other end of the table. 
“It is a big one, but they’re all big ones. As soon as you lose a game or drop points, the pressure builds for the next one. So, that’s the position we’re in. So, we’re under pressure to produce a performance,” concluded McEntee.

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