AS COLM O’ROURKE told the nation on the Tommy Tiernan Show a couple of weeks back, he is an optimist. Well, being manager of the Meath football team at present, he would need to be!
here was more Allianz FL disappointment, this time against lowly Limerick, as the Royals put themselves in a winning position at a crucial stage of proceedings but were unable to complete the task.
O’Rourke reflected on the disappointment afterwards but still saw positives ahead of the two remaining Division 2 ties.
“Maybe the point gained will be valuable in the long run, but I think our dressing room is one of acute disappointment that we didn’t finish the job,” the Meath boss said.
“We had the game going in our favour, particularly in the last quarter, but we let them off the hook a bit. Yet, at the same time, they had a goal chance with five minutes to go and it could have been worse.
“When you get into a position with the wind behind you, in front on the scoreboard and in control of the game, it is disappointing. The lads themselves are disappointed with the outcome.”
It leaves Meath in a perilous enough situation in the table, particularly with the way the competition is structured towards the championship. The county won’t want to be relying solely on qualification for a Leinster final to be competing for Sam Maguire.
“It is easily solved by going and winning one of our last two games, or even winning the two of them,” O’Rourke continued. “The whole thing is in our own hands so we have to look forward with confidence.
“We have a huge game coming up against Dublin in a couple of weeks. We will prepare well for that. That is where we want to be at, we want to be playing these teams, and we don’t want to be relying on others to keep us up in the division. We want to have our fate in our own hands and we have. There are four points on offer and if we get two or four we won’t have to worry about other teams.”
“I suppose Limerick are bottom of the division and most teams are running up big scores against them, but at least there is some positivity that we created a lot of chances.
“Maybe there were a lot of silly shots taken, but if we create chances we will eventually score.”
Two areas that were particularly disappointing from a Meath viewpoint were the continued lack of consistency throughout the match and the concession of yet another big tally of scores.
“We have had five games now and we have had terrible fade outs, played brilliant football at times and made an awful lot of mistakes, particularly in the first half.
“We have a young squad learning their way, there’s a lack of experience that showed in some cases. At half-time we were in a difficult position, but they tried very hard and got themselves back into it.
“We have worked really, really hard on our defence in the last three or four weeks at training but it is a work in progress.
“If Limerick are getting 17 points against us, people will probably ask what will the Dubs get against us. We will have a look at it and try to rebuild the defence and the confidence.
“There were quite a few changes in defence today with Harry O’Higgins and Cathal Hickey missing. Then, we wanted Jack O’Connor to play wing-forward for his pace, so we had three new backs today.
“We are just going to have to keep working at it. We are giving away too many scores, it’s as simple as that.”
There was more bad news on the injury front as Shane Walsh suffered a recurrence of his hamstring injury and didn’t appear for the second half. Cathal Hickey pulled a thigh muscle in training and wasn’t available while Darragh Campion fractured a bone in his wrist in the loss to Louth which necessitates an operation.