Meath ran Dublin close in the 2012 and 2013 Leinster finals though have fallen behind neighbours Westmeath in the provincial pecking order in the last two seasons.
Giles agreed next year’s Leinster campaign is probably a done deal already. He said in Meath’s case they haven’t produced the handful of iconic players, like they had in the past, which are required to seriously challenge for Leinster and All-Ireland titles.
The former Footballer of the Year claimed Conor Nash, a rising talent who will line out at midfield for Simonstown Gaels in Sunday’s county final, is a particular loss in this regard after signing terms with AFL side Hawthorn.
“You were looking for a top player to come through but when one does he’s heading to Australia for a couple of years,” said Giles, a two-time All-Ireland winner. “That’s the thing nowadays. We were growing up when Meath were successful and all you wanted to do was play for Meath whereas now you’re kind of saying, ‘Jeez, Meath, will they get success?’ So he has gone to Australia. He has Leinster Rugby looking for him too if that doesn’t work out.
“There’s plenty of good lads in Meath if you had those three or four exceptional lads, like Dublin have. Dublin probably have seven, eight or nine, whatever it is, which is a bit exceptional. But if you have those three or four top, top players then I think you’d have enough in the rest that would get you there.”
Giles was a selector for a period alongside Mick O’Dowd, his Skryne club mate and former county colleague, who managed Meath for four seasons until last summer.
Andy McEntee, the former Meath minor boss who guided Ballyboden St Enda’s to AIB All-Ireland club success last march, is the new manager and will have sibling Gerry, a legendary Meath figure, as part of his team.
Giles acknowledged the general perception that the McEntees will restore vital passion and pride to the Meath dressing-room though he claimed it wasn’t lacking when O’Dowd was in charge.
“Lots of people have said that (the McEntees will bring pride) and I don’t disagree with that but, Jaysus, Mick O’Dowd was a very passionate man,” said Giles. “A lot of people have said that the new management will put passion into certain fellas or make them work harder, inject that never say die spirit. But that’s a very difficult thing to inject into a person if it’s not there, if it’s not very strongly there.
“I think the most important thing is the players. You do need those four really top, top players if you’re thinking of getting into Division 1 or winning anything at provincial level or getting to the last eight of the Championship.”