» The Joe Show: Meath Minors in All Ireland Final

29 Aug

The Joe Show: Meath Minors in All Ireland Final

Posted by Joe Sheridan in The Joe Show | Aug 2012

I couldn’t possibly open this week’s article with anything other than a massive congratulation to the Meath Minors after their win against Mayo on Sunday.

After the way we went against Dublin and Tyrone I was interested to see how they’d react in this one. Being honest I was pretty confident that they’d win, and in the first fifteen or twenty minutes they had a couple of goal chances and probably should have been ahead by four or five points at that stage. As it happened they missed those chances and ended up not even getting a score for fifteen or twenty minutes and gave Mayo a bit of a handy lead at half-time because it took them so long to get off the mark.

But they stuck at it in the second half in fairness, young Flanagan at midfield had a great game and he was the guy that really drove them forward, winning a lot of possession at midfield. The two Mayo lads having a clash of heads probably took their momentum away a little bit because they’d been winning a lot of ball between them and Meath were able to push on after that.
Once Meath got the first goal I felt they were always going to win it, their tails went up and you could tell they knew they had it.

It’s been a long time since a Meath team have been in the All Ireland Minor Final and I have to say Andy McEntee has done a great job with them. It’s great for the future of Meath football to see these lads having a bit of success. As long as you’re there on the day of an All Ireland Final anything can happen, and if they can cut out some of the mistakes they made the last day they’ll have every chance. It’s great to get to a final, but once you’re there you want to win it and they’ll be working hard over the next four weeks to make sure they can do just that.

Cork vs Donegal

I said last week that I thought Cork would win a tight game, but Donegal were so impressive again. I took a bit of flak from my mates from Donegal over in the Banshee in Boston for backing Cork against them. It’s like a mini Donegal over there and they were all delighted to get the win and they’ll be glad to hear I’m officially on the bandwagon at last!

The game itself was a great free-flowing affair, and that’s a testament to David Coldrick. There were a couple of occasions where some referees could have blown it up and forced some stoppages, but he let it flow, didn’t throw around any needless yellow cards and it was great to see him doing such a good job. As a player you always prefer a ref who will just let you play and not get hung up on the fussy stuff, and credit to him because keeping up with a game that intense takes some doing.

Cork made a lot of wrong decisions on the day and kicked away a lot of ball which is very unlike them, but in fairness Donegal pressured them into it a lot of the time. Cork’s tactics seemed to be to build play up as far as the fifty yard line before allowing guys to try and kick from distance, but even though they kicked a few great scores a lot of their efforts didn’t really work.

Donegal’s defence was unbelievable, and when they got the ball back Cork just couldn’t deal with the speed they attacked with. Michael Murphy kicked a 55 yard free with about five or ten minutes to go and when stuff like that is happening you just know you’re going to win the game. They might not have the best footballers in the last four, but they work so hard as a team, and as a unit they are the best team left at the minute and I just can’t see Dublin or Mayo beating them.

Dublin vs Mayo

Dublin weren’t impressive against Laois but again they’ve shown they’ve got the knack of not playing as well as they can yet still winning games and that’s the sign of a very good team. To play like they have and still be in an All Ireland Semi-final you’ve got to hand it to them. To be fair I mentioned a couple of weeks ago how organised Laois are and they will frustrate you. They certainly did that to Dublin and a team without the experience of winning an All Ireland have could have lost that game but credit to them they dug it out.

Mayo played very well against Down in fairness and they seem to be hitting form at the right time. Unfortunately for them, Andy Moran will be a massive loss. He’s been their focal point at full forward for the last couple of years but they have a strong squad and there are players there that can come in and replace him. Aidan O’Shea has come back from injury and looks to be in good form – he’s vital to the way Mayo play and if he plays well Mayo usually play well too. Alan Dillon has put in some good performances as well and leadership from guys like that will be vital with Moran out.

Dublin will need to put in a big performance against a Mayo team that will fancy their chances of getting to another All Ireland Final (by deborah). I was reading an interview during the week with Bernard Brogan where he mentioned that the squad had gone down to Kerry together for a few days just to recharge the batteries and that might be what’s needed for them to find top form.

Mayo have a very good record against Dublin and even in the league Dublin went down to Castlebar and got a hiding so they won’t have any fear, but I can’t help thinking that if Dublin get their one big performance, they have another gear that Mayo won’t be able to live with.

I have a little feeling that they might just click this weekend and I can see Mayo being beaten by seven or eight points.

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