A former Dublin star has revealed what he feels should be the Meath master plan to overcome the reigning All Ireland champions in Sunday’s Leinster football semi final.
Wayne McCarthy, who has been involved with Simonstown Gaels since he came to live in Navan, has told Meath Live, ‘They need to channel their inner Mick Lyons and Liam Harnan and bring an aggressive in your face approach to the match.
‘Remember the Dubs are a team in transition and a lot of the newer players won’t have faced a Meath team playing like Meath teams do in terms of physicality and until it is put up to them nobody knows how they will respond.
‘I’d liken it to a new class sitting the Leaving Cert until they face the questions they won’t know whether or not they have the answers and Meath need to be the ones to set the questions.
‘Wexford forced Dublin on to the back foot and while it wouldn’t be right to say they had them worried they put it up to them and let’s be honest Meath are a better side than Wexford.’
However McCarthy also outlined his one big fear for the Royals.
‘If they take the same cautious attitude as they did last year they will end up being beaten out the gate again, you know what they say about the definition of madness if you do the same thing over and over again and expect a different result.
‘From the moment the ball is thrown in Meath needs to bring a ferocity to their game that borders on the manic, they have to play on the edge and over the edge if it is needed.
‘If you watch Meath teams from when they were dominant they knew full well that while a referee could well send one of them off he wouldn’t send the whole lot of them off so if there was a bit of fun happening they were all in it.
‘It is that kind of intensity they need to bring, and to be honest, while I would suggest that is how they should play I am not sure they can do that certainly they have never shown they can up to now which is why I think the Dubs will find a way to win’.
The Royals will be facing a Dublin side that for the first time in the current series of the rivalry will be without the iconic shot stopper Stephen Cluxton, and while McCarthy holds his replacement Evan Comerford in high regard he concedes that for all his assets there is one thing Comerford cannot be.
‘He can’t be Cluxton, I mean that in the sense that he cannot portray the aura that Stephen did and as of yet he won’t have transmitted the air of invincibility to his own defence that Stephen did.
‘When Cluxton was there Dublin’s backs knew that even if an attacker eluded them and got clean through the ‘keeper would bail them out.
‘At the same time the attacker would realise just who he had to beat and while that may come in time Evan hasn’t attained that status yet.
‘In fact, I would say that while the Dubs are replacing the old guard with decent players they are replacing top quality ones with quality ones, there is a step up from being a quality player to being a top quality one.
‘ I think Kerry will be the team to beat this year based on performances to date however I do expect Dublin to get over Meath unless of course Andy McEntee lets loose his dogs of war and the Royal resurgence comes a few years quicker than expected.
‘If Meath go for it, and take half chances of goals instead of easy points they will be close at the finish if not they will probably lose by double digits.