Mick O’Dowd welcome the step up for Meath but rues the lack of a finishing kick against Dublin

“We didn’t come here to get a heartening display. We came here to get a Leinster title”

Meath manager Mick O’Dowd: “I’m sure there are a lot of positives from that display but it is hard to go through them now because we are pretty hurt by that.” Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Meath manager Mick O’Dowd: “I’m sure there are a lot of positives from that display but it is hard to go through them now because we are pretty hurt by that.” Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

 


Mick O’Dowd starts talking and you are instantly reminded of Meath men from another era. Positives after being lacerated by Dublin in a Leinster final? You must be joking. The man seems intent on changing the mindset of accepting these kind of days if it’s the only thing he achieves as Meath manager.

“I’m devastated. After losing a Leinster final how do you think I am? We didn’t come here to get a heartening display. We came here to get a Leinster title. We didn’t do it. Our first-half showed what we wanted to do. Our second-half didn’t.”

It’s simple to talk about what Meath need to do but takes years of moulding quality footballers together for it to actually happen. “We have to get used to performing against teams the calibre of Dublin,” O’Dowd went on.

‘First step’
“That is our first step up to that standard. We were under a bit of pressure most of the second-half but the last 15 minutes is probably when teams used to that intensity can kick on and win games and we weren’t able to do it.”

Dublin won the last 17 minutes 1-4 to 0-2. Meath were not given a chance beforehand. Turns out to be the right assessment but the immediate reaction afterwards was that they did better than expected. On the topic of respect, or lack thereof, O’Dowd is disinterested.

“There’s 31 players and 14 of us looking after them in terms of medical and everything. We just look at what is inside that dressing-room and not really concerned with people who aren’t with the team four nights a week. Sure how would they know how we are doing really.”

They are clearly doing something. They are being coached by some clever football brains in O’Dowd, Trevor Giles, Colm Brady and Seán Kelly.

“I’m sure there are a lot of positives from that display but it is hard to go through them now because we are pretty hurt by that. As I said, we lost a Leinster final. There was a cup on offer there. It was Dublin. We came up to win not to see how we would get on against them.”