New Meath manager Colm O’Rourke hopes a regionalised football tournament for junior and intermediate club players will help him uncover some hidden gems for the Royals.
Meath will tonight unveil plans for a Regional Football Championship, which is to get under way later this month and is to run annually in the county.
The format of this year’s competition has seen eight regional teams established – Tara, Bru na Boinne, Boyne Valley, An Tuascairt, Blackwater, Lough Crew, Darnley and Moyfenragh.
Each side is an amalgamation of clubs, for example Boyne Valley will be comprised of players from Rathkenny, Walterstown, Bective and Slane.
The eight teams will be drawn in two groups of four. Each side will then have three matches guaranteed, with the top two from each group advancing to semi-finals.
All of the games will be played midweek at Meath GAA’s Centre of Excellence in Dunganny.
O’Rourke’s appointment to the position of manager has raised hopes in the county that Meath’s lengthy spell lost in the purgatory of Dublin’s dark shadow could be about to draw to a close.
However, O’Rourke knows for that to happen he must first bring some new talent to the squad. The 1987 and 1988 All-Ireland winning forward was manager of Simonstown this year and so he is aware of the talent that exists in the county at senior level.
In an effort to ensure the best players from the county’s junior and intermediate clubs are afforded an opportunity to show what they are capable of, this new regional championship will provide them with that shop window.
Meath will play in Division Two of the National Football League next year, where already promotion to the top flight looks like it will difficult for the Royals given the likes of Dublin, Derry, Kildare and Cork will also be vying for a top two finish.