Will Dublin bring right mentality to Croke Park?

Trevor Giles tells an interesting story about taking on Dublin in the 2014 Leinster football final.
Will Dublin bring right mentality to Croke Park?

Giles was a selector with Meath that day, as Dublin put a blow torch to the pre-match script which suggested that, after a relatively close 2013 Leinster final between the teams, a Royal County win could be on the cards.

“Dublin didn’t really take us that seriously (in 2013) and we could have taken them, actually,” said Giles. “We had six goal chances that day. So we could have taken Dublin that day. The following year they took us awful seriously and beat us well, by 16 points.

“Now they actually didn’t take Donegal as seriously as us in 2014 and they lost to Donegal. Against us, Cian O’Sullivan was back helping the full-back line, (Michael Darragh) Macauley was back helping them too so they wouldn’t concede goals. They didn’t do that against Donegal.”

That’s the last time the great rivals met in the championship and it remains to be seen what sort of a mood all conquering Dublin turn up in tomorrow.

Will they believe, as Graham Reilly recently suggested, that Meath are the one county always capable of springing a surprise against Dublin? Or will they look at Meath’s remarkable inability to hold onto leads in big games across the last 12 months and believe victory is a done deal?

“In our time as management, we’ve played Dublin twice,” said Meath manager Mick O’Dowd. “In 2013, we came and performed to some extent. We led at half-time and it was a relatively good performance but then in the second year, for various reasons, we didn’t perform and we maybe weren’t let perform. It wasn’t a very memorable occasion.

“We were coming out of Division 3 in 2013 and they were Division 1 champions. Maybe we surprised them but the second year we weren’t going to surprise them and they were All-Ireland champions at that stage.

“The other thing is that in 2013, our two midfielders were very strong that day, Conor Gillespie and Brian Meade. Within a short time after that game, both had cruciate knee ligament injuries. Eamon Wallace had a big day in 2013 also, he gets a cruciate knee injury. So you were thinking, ‘okay, we performed and we’ll build on that’ but the rug was pulled from under us a wee bit.”

O’Dowd is optimistic of a big performance with a new, young team which may win back some beleaguered fans.

“In year one, I thought we had that connection with the fans but with the defeat to Westmeath last year, I think we may have lost some of that, there’s no point in saying otherwise.”

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