Meath have made two changes to their semi-final winning teams for Saturday’s Tailteann Cup Final.
Meath manager, Colm O’Rourke, has drafted in midfielder Ronan Jones and wing-forward Daithí McGowan into his starting team in place of Cathal Hickey and Jack Flynn.
Meanwhile, Down have unsurprisingly kept faith with the team that were so impressive in their big semi-final win over Laois.
When these two teams met in the group phase of the competition, Meath won a tight match courtesy of two late points.
Down simply weren’t clinical enough that day, kicking 17 wides, but you couldn’t fault their finishing in the Tailteann semi-final when they banged eight goals past Laois.
“We’d take somewhere in the middle on Saturday,” Down assistant manager Mickey Donnelly told GAA said this week.
“If we could score four goals and eight wides, that would be alright. If only life was that simple. I just think credit to Meath on the day, they were really well set up.
“They defended in numbers and they made it really, really difficult for us to penetrate. I think Parnell Park plays fairly narrow as well. The lads also lost the U-20 semi-final at Parnell Park so there’s maybe a correlation there in terms of the way we want to play football and maybe Parnell Park doesn’t make it that easy to a certain extent.
“I think people were a wee bit disparaging about Meath after that, we kicked 17 wides but Meath had 11 or 12 wides as well.
“So we have a huge challenge on Saturday. We’ve got to be a lot more efficient and we’ve got to do an awful lot more to close out Meath’s full-forward line as well.”
Pundits have been quick to talk about Dublin and Kerry timing their run right in the race for Sam but equally it can be said Down have done something similar.
In fairness much the same can be said of Meath as after an inconsistent League campaign and early exit from the Leinster Championship after defeat to Offaly, Meath have used to Tailteann Cup to build a new-look team.
So far ‘keeper Sean Brennan has done well in his debut season and he will have to step up to the plate again today as Down will be hunting for goals.
Hours after the win over the Mourne men in Parnell Park a life long Meath fan told Meath Live, ‘We were so lucky we’ll never beat them again’, and in all honesty it did take a fortunate penalty award to see the Royals across the line.
Purely on semi final form Down should walk it today but this is Meath and they don’t do lying down for anyone.
It’ll be a tight game and thinking long and hard about it one question came to mind.
Have we five good penalty takers ?
Whoever wins it won’t be a surprise success and purely on the basis that Meath are further down the road in development the vote goes their way.