As Meath prepare for Saturday’s showdown with Down in the Tailteann Cup their manager Colm O’Rourke has claimed that while the game has developed in a different direction since his playing days there is still room for the long direct ball.

Speaking at the Meath media evening recently, he said,  “It has changed and I don’t think there is any turning back but look at the two most successful counties, Kerry and Dublin, I’d always find it enjoyable to go and watch their style of play. The winners generally dictate the style and the Dublin style for six years when they were winning All Irelands was something I admired. They didn’t mind kicking it.

“Look at the first goal they got against Mayo – a long high ball in,  Basquel catches it, turns his man bangs it into the net. Kerry were doing plenty of kicking of the ball last week, too, so I was quite surprised by likes of Armagh, who were using that tactic quite a lot in previous games not doing it as much against Monaghan.

“I was in Clones one day, the throw-in was caught and, bang, into the net. I think Rory Grugan caught it and put it in the net, so why would Armagh go away from that when it was paying dividends? They got three goals against Down in the Ulster semi final kicking the ball in high. So teams who have been kicking the ball a good bit – I know you can’t just kick it in all the time – it still has been profitable for quite a few counties.”

Team wise O’Rourke revealed a mixed bag of news, revealing, Ronan Jones is available again after starting on the bench against Antrim, but the likes of Shane Walsh, Shane McEntee and Thomas O’Reilly will miss out.