Crawford back for Royals

Meath captain Nigel Crawford has been named in the Royals' starting line-up for Sunday's Leinster SFC final against Louth at Croke Park (throw-in 2pm).

The St Peter's Dunboyne clubman will make his first start since Meath's 1-20 to 2-7 first round win over Offaly in May.

Crawford picked up a back injury prior to the drawn quarter-final encounter with Laois, and subsequently missed both games against the O'Moore men.

However, he featured as a forty-seventh-minute substitute in the semi-final win over Dublin, replacing Mark Ward.

Ward loses out to Crawford this time around, with Brian Meade continuing in midfield.

Meanwhile, Trim goalkeeper Brendan Murphy will remain between the posts as Paddy O'Rourke serves out the last week of his suspension.

Meath manager Eamonn O'Brien recognises that the midfield battle will be crucial this weekend, after a poor display in this area against Dublin.

"It's a matter of concern for us. If you look at the statistics we were hammered in midfield, I think we were hammered five to 20-something in the kick-outs in the second half," he said.

"If Louth get the dominance around midfield, they have the forwards that can score. We need to improve our possession rate around the middle of the field.

"Every game is different and you can't go out and predict what is going to happen. I hope the lads will be ready for whatever infolds during the game. If Louth dominate midfield we have to be ready for that."

MEATH (SFC v Louth): Brendan Murphy; Chris O'Connor, Kevin Reilly, Eoghan Harrington; Anthony Moyles, Gary O'Brien, Caoimhin King; Brian Meade, Nigel Crawford (capt); Seamus Kenny, Joe Sheridan, Graham Reilly; Cian Ward, Shane O'Rourke, Stephen Bray.

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