Former Meath All-Ireland-winning footballer Bernard Flynn believes that the Royal County footballers needed a league game against Cork - in order to strengthen Colm Coyle's youthful side.
Meath reached an All-Ireland semi-final last year, having been the surprise packet of the year, but were beaten by a determined Cork side.
Tough-talking TV pundit Flynn feels however that Meath are now a team everyone wants to beat and with a young squad to pick from, character building games are needed now to ensure the Royals are well prepared for the championship summer ahead.
"It is going to be a difficult year for Meath this year as they are not an unknown quantity now like last year," Flynn said.
"They sort of crept up under the radar, did very well to get to an All-Ireland semi-final against Cork but it was a great year overall, winning the Division Two title."
Meath have plenty of fresh faces in their squad this year, including Donaghmore/Ashbourne quartet Colm O Mealoid, Eoin and Graham Reilly and Niall Farrell.
Flynn explained: "Colm (Coyle) has brought on a lot of new players from Donaghamore and places like that, so there are a lot of young players that need to be blooded in good matches against good tough players."
Flynn is weary of how the Rebels will respond to the deduction of four league points having failed to fulfil their opening two fixtures in the National Football League.
"How Cork come out of the traps we don't know. Meath need tough games now, they had a tough one against Roscommon which they drew, but they need consecutive tough games to bring on the younger players."
Flynn is chairperson of a group of 128 former inter-county GAA players who will jet off to La Manga on April 13 for a three day GAA Legends All-Ireland Charity Golf tournament.
Players from all 32 counties will battle it out for the €100,000 prize for their chosen local charity. More information is available at www.gaalegendscharitygolf.com.