Our man Ryan Brennan looks back on what ultimately proved a decent first campaign for Colm O’Rourk
Meath’s road to success 2023
Offaly 1-11 (14) – 0-10 (10) Meath
Glenisk O’Connor Park
Sunday, April 23rd
Leinster Football Championship Quarter-Final
It was a disappointing beginning for Colm O’Rourke and his side as Meath crashed out of the Leinster Championship early on. Meath came into the game as overwhelming favourites to set up a Semi-Final date with Louth. The Royals were on the back of narrowly avoiding relegation to Division 3 of the National League. Meath made the final minutes of the tie uncomfortable for the hosts but it was not enough as O’Rourke and his men were headed for the Tailteann Cup for the first time ever.
Meath 1-19 (22) – 0-11 (11) Tipperary
Saturday, May 13th
Tailteann Cup Group 2 Round 1
Next up was then David Power’s Tipperary side who were on the back of a twenty-point defeat at the hands of Kerry. This highly anticipated win with the most recent victory dating back to February 5th when they beat Clare in the league. Meath dominated for large parts with a victory never seeming in doubt to kick start the Tailteann Cup journey.
Waterford 1-14 (17) – 3-17 (26) Meath
Saturday, May 20th
Tailteann Cup Group 2 Round 2
Meath waited three months for a win from the league to the Tailteann Cup and now Colm O’Rourke’s side have made it two-in-a-row. Two wins from two in the group stages, this victory meant that Preliminary Quarterfinals were a minimum for Meath going into the final group stage game. The game was never in doubt as Meath led by nine points with Matthew Costelloe running the show scoring 1-5 which inevitably proved to be pivotal.
Meath 1-11 (14) – 1-9 (12) Down
Saturday, June 3rd
Tailteann Cup Group 2 Round 3
The Royals were Dublin-bound for the first time this year to face what would inevitably a repeat of the final. This game proved crucial as to determine who would head straight to the Quarterfinals and who would have to play an extra game to get there. Down ended up hitting seventeen wides in the game and would feel they only had themselves to blame for the loss. The loss for Down meant they had a date with Longford to see if they could get into the Quarterfinals whilst Meath faced fellow Leinster side Wexford.
Meath 2-23 (29) – 0-12 (12) Wexford
Saturday, June 17th
Tailteann Cup Quarter-Final
This game would prove monumental. This victory meant Meath were headed for a big Semi-Final date with Antrim. Meath came out of the blocks running up a thirteen-point lead in just twenty-three minutes with Andy McEntee and Jordan Morris leading the way. The win was never in doubt and marked Colm O’Rourke’s biggest win since taking charge of this Meath side as they can begin to smell the Tailteann Cup final.
Meath 2-16 (22) – 2-14 (20) Antrim
Sunday, June 25th
Tailteann Cup Semi-Final
The stage was set. Both sides a win away from setting up an illustrious final day that would see them one step closer to silverware. In the early stages Meath and Antrim never ran away from each other and it remained that way throughout the course of the game. It was not unusual to see Meath fall behind and recover the gap and that was the running theme throughout the affair. Antrim left themselves with too much to do at the end and were in dire need of a goal and to of no avail it was Meath who were booking a Tailteann Cup final date with Down.
Meath 2-13 (19) – 0-14 (14) Down
Saturday, July 15th
Tailteann Cup Final
D-day had arrived. A highly anticipated double-header with Dublin and Monaghan and nothing short of a sellout Croke Park the stage had been set. The Royals and the Mournemen were to lock horns for a second time in just under a month and a half. Ronan Jones got Meath’s first goal although he was not overly aware when Jack Flynn’s shot struck the post and rebounded off him. Sides level at the break it seemed to be a game of fine margins. Jack Flynn played a huge part in the win as he kicked four points and assisted Jack O’Connor to see off Down and be crowned victorious in Croker. Meath’s first piece of silverware in thirteen years, the most recent being the 2010 Leinster Championship. O’Rourke had got his Meath side into the 2024 All-Ireland Championship and put them on the roll of honours alongside neighbours Westmeath who won the competition a year prior.