Meath football manager Colm O’Rourke has emphasised the importance of the upcoming regional championship,  and said he is convinced there is fresh talent to be unearthed in it and also that new county players will emerge from a trawl of club championship clashes.

The much decorated manager will step down from his role as principal of St Pats CS over Christmas and he told the Irish Independent, “Progress is competing with Dublin. Putting ourselves in a position to win a Leinster championship and putting ourselves in line for promotion from Division 2. We are going to set the bar high, that’s what I call progress.

“I firmly believe and I have said it always, there are as good footballers in Meath as in any county.

“Maybe we haven’t the individual stars of some others, but we have incredible talent in the county, great clubs, wonderful people running clubs. We’ll have enthusiasm and I think we’ll have everything so it is up to us to try and harness that.”

The  new regional championship,similar to the one in Kerry where the junior and intermediate clubs of the county have been separated into eight amalgamations that will play off a mini championship later this month.

O’Rourke pointed out that Sean Boylan’s best teams regularly pulled from outside the senior grade and hinted that the 2023 panel could have a very different look to it.

“If we are to progress in Meath we need to unearth a bunch of players from this (competition). There’s no point in going back and saying we are going to go with the same group again because it would be the definition of madness, hoping that if you keep doing the same thing it will work differently so I firmly believe we need to get a bunch of players from these round-robin games.”

“I have contacted last year’s squad just to say that as far as we’re concerned it’s a new panel and thanks very much. But I don’t feel that we should be bound by anything from last year or the year before.

“It’s a complete clean slate, we have thanked the lads for their efforts but we are going to go now with a new bunch from what we have seen in club championship.

“We’ve all been at club championship games, I saw five club championship matches last weekend and every game you go to you hear people say ‘oh the talent was poor’ or ‘the standard was poor’ and things like that. But there are always players there.”