Reilly defended the first-half challenge on Brophy, deemed a legitimate one by referee Rory Hickey, which saw the Kildare forward forced off through injury. The full-back dismissed the Kildare manager’s comments that he deliberately set out to “make an impact” on Brophy, insisting the two players collided innocuously.
“Jason Ryan is entitled to his opinion. If you look at the incident which I did, Brophy kind of slid in to catch the ball and he fumbled it. When he fumbled it he actually tried to pick himself up off the ground to go after it and that’s when we collided,” explained Reilly.
“It was nothing more than a collision and I think, being honest, that it has been blown out of all proportion. I’ve been playing inter-county football 10 years. I have been sent off once for two yellow cards for more persistent fouling than anything else. In terms of physicality any full-back or any player is going to be physical and if you are not at this stage the way the game is you are going to be sitting on the sideline and somebody else is going to be in there.”
Reilly also rubbished suggestions he was laying down an early marker to the Lilywhites that Meath were not for turning on this occasion.
“Not at all. I was challenging for a ball. I actually fell over him. There was nothing more than that. You go as hard as you can for the ball as long as it is there. But in this case it was actually a collision and we fell over.
“I am surprised by the reaction. The referee was blowing for a lot of frees for minimal contact. That wasn’t a free and he was in a decent position for it. I thought nothing of it at the time.”
Referencing the Kildare tackle on Bryan McMahon which left the Meath corner-forward concussed, he added: “It was quite a nasty challenge. A Kildare player came down with his elbow on his head and then fell on top of him. It’s part of the game, it happens. It’s not nice but it happens and we get on with it. No point in whinging and moaning about it either.”
Reilly was subbed midway through the second-half of the semi-final encounter after picking up a knock to his right knee, but is confident of lining out in the Leinster decider on Sunday week.
“Some minor ligament damage, medial and lateral. I will be okay.”