Meath wing back Sean Coffey has revealed that this years Leinster championship defeat was ‘Offaly’ hard to take coming as it did at the hands of friends and neighbours.
At last weeks media evening in the lead in to this Saturdays Tailteann Cup final, the Ballinabrackey player, whose home parish borders Offaly, said, “I would have went to school with a good few of them and would have known a few lads from Rhode and Edenderry and I would have heard a lot about them.
“It was disappointing to lose to them, there would be that bit of a rivalry there and a bit of slagging and sneering going on. Offaly was a hard one to take, it was a bit of a setback.
‘However we bounced back well in the Tailteann Cup and it is really helping us.
“But yeah Offaly are the neighbours that you never want to lose to them. It wasn’t the best way to start off the inter-county career but we’ve bounced back since and I think we are in a good space at the moment.”
Despite that reversal Coffey could find a balance as he came close to not being involved at all and is now making the most of a second chance.
He revealed, “It was back in October and November, they were doing pre-season testing and training and I was in the squad for a while, then the squad was cut and I didn’t make it”.
In a remarkably ego free and honest self assessment Coffey concedes Colm O’Rourke and his management team made the correct call.
He said, “Obviously the lads had their reasons and I think they were dead right. I don’t think I deserved to be on the panel at all.
“But they said the door was never closed and that I was part of the development squad, eventually, I was going well with my club, I was getting fitter.
“And I got the call to come in and I have been grateful since then. It was nice to get the call.”
While Coffey believes confidence in the camp is rising with each win having watched Downs eight goal annihilation of Laois up close he knows that despite Meath beating the Ulster team in the Tailteann group stages Saturday will see the Mourne men provide a stern test.
“We watched most of that game, Down played really good stuff, the eight goals they scored were all good goals. And compared to the game we played against them in Parnell Park – that game was a lot tighter and maybe the tighter pitch made a difference.
“In Croke Park it might be a more open game than it was the last day but we’re expecting a really tough encounter. You wouldn’t expect anything less with Down.”
Coffey may just feel blessed to be there but like the rest of the Royals he wants that win badly.