Hughes defends Meath’s display

Darren Hughes made excuses for Meath’s dreadful display against Monaghan on Sunday and insisted: “They will never be that bad again.”

The Monaghan man scored a superb goal in his team’s 1-18 to 2-3 destruction of the Royals in their opening league game in Division 3.

Hughes, who was in Belfast yesterday to promote Ulster’s inter-pro clash with Munster next week, pointed to Meath’s depleted ranks as the reason why they crashed at Clones.

“They were missing a lot of players,” he said. “I think they only had three players who were involved in the same league encounter when we played them last year.

“I don’t think they will be that poor again.

“They have important players to come back into the team, like Kevin Reilly. I’m sure they’ll regroup in training this week.”

Monaghan lost to Meath by six points in last year’s opening Division 2 league game in Navan. Both teams are under new management this year but Monaghan had braced themselves for a repeat of that competitive tie.

“The margin of victory and the manner in which it happened, we weren’t expecting that, but I wouldn’t expect them to ever be as bad the next day.

“We’ll take credit because we played well in patches but it didn’t happen for them on the day. Our first three games are derbies against Meath, Cavan and Fermanagh and we have targeted a strong start. We’ve got two points and we’ll be hoping for another good result against Cavan on Saturday night.”

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