Relieved Colm O’Rourke says Royals are looking up

Meath got their league campaign off to a great start with a big win in Cork on Sunday. 
Relieved Colm O’Rourke says Royals are looking up

RELIEF: Meath manager Colm O’Rourke celebrates with Jason Scully after the game. Picture: INPHO/Ryan Byrne

Colm O’Rourke is fully in tune as to the length of the road ahead. And to the many bumps and sharp bends that he and his Meath team will encounter.

But as a first step, yesterday’s away win went so far as to lift a weight from the new Meath manager’s shoulders.

“It is a relief as much as anything else for all of us who have come into this job just to see that the work the lads have done and the work that we have been doing has got a reward here. It is a great start, and it will give us a huge amount of confidence,” said O’Rourke.

It’s a win that also puts them on the front foot in the race away from the bottom half of the Division 2 table and potential involvement in the Tailteann Cup.

“Everybody talks about the Tailteann Cup and the great competition it was last year, but no team in the second division wants to be in the Tailteann Cup. That's the reality of it. We want to make sure that we finish high enough that we are in the last 16 for the All-Ireland. That's the aim.” 

It was an easy question to answer in light of yesterday’s result, but just before O’Rourke removed himself from the media room to go find the Meath team bus, he was asked for an early verdict on life in the Royal hotseat.

“I am really enjoying it because the players have been fantastic. Whatever we have asked of them, the training has been great, the commitment has been fantastic, so wherever we end up with the group of players, it won't be a question of them having left anything behind. They have been as committed to the cause as any other Meath team ever before.” 

The road ahead is similarly long for the other new inter-county manager who patrolled the Páirc Uí Chaoimh sideline. But even at this extremely early juncture in the League, John Cleary knows the defeat puts Cork on the backfoot.

“It does. We always knew we had a tough start, and looking at Kildare and Dublin last night, they’re very formidable sides.

“There’s nothing we can do about today now only learn from it and head for Newbridge next Sunday. All these games in Division 2 are going to be tough. Meath had a lot of pace around the middle and ultimately, they got at our backline and we couldn’t hold them out. It was a lesson for us and hopefully one that we can rectify for next Sunday. That’s our starting point again.” 

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