O’Connell: Meath had to move on quickly from bite claim

Martin O'Connell: A lot worse has happened in Meath-Dublin games.

Meath great Martin O’Connell said the county had no choice but to move on quickly from Mick O’Dowd’s allegation Mickey Burke was bitten by a Dublin player.

The GAA’s Central Competitions Control Committee on Tuesday ruled out an investigation after Meath were not interested in pursuing the matter.

O’Connell believes a disciplinary case could have distracted Meath from the fourth round qualifier against Armagh on Saturday week. He also maintains the second-half incident was blown out of proportion.

“A little too much was made of it and Mick O’Dowd was probably in bad form after losing by so much and in the spur of the moment overreacted.

“It was handbags stuff and it looked as if he (Burke) had his hand in his (the Dublin player’s mouth). I know times have changed but when it’s Meath and Dublin, it’s dog-eat-dog and whatever dog won that was the end of it. A lot worse has happened in Meath-Dublin games.”

O’Connell hopes Meath are able to forget their display against Dublin in a hurry. “After being beaten like that, it’s a tough job to get the team’s heads right and hopefully he (O’Dowd) can.

“There were a few chances early on in the game but I don’t think the disallowed goal would have had made any change to the end result. Dublin dominated the game after 15 minutes and that was that. The Meath players just have to look forward from here on in.”

Meanwhile, Dublin’s Jonny Cooper admitted he was taken aback by how quickly the allegation was made only for it to disappear when push came to shove.

“Surprised you know, the way it all came about and the way it materialised in the press. Now, all of a sudden it is gone, so I think it has gone in the right direction and the way it should have gone.”

He added: “We can only control what we do and whatever happens outside is something the county board and the management team control. It’s blown over now and it’s gone and we are looking at the next game with a lot of hunger.”

The defender felt the incident was made out to be something it wasn’t.

“Dublin and Meath always has that rivalry and edge and incidents happen in games and sometimes they are merited and sometimes they are blown out of proportion and that’s what it was.”

Cooper, who was injured for the game, admitted he wasn’t aware of O’Dowd’s claim until he returned to the team’s Gibson Hotel. “I actually heard about it, I think, about two hours after the game, back in the hotel. It was on the analysis thing on the TV. But no, certainly not after the game, there was no mention of it.”

Meanwhile, Cooper hopes to return to training this weekend after pulling a quad muscle in his left leg. He admitted he faces a stiff challenge to regain his place for the All-Ireland quarter-final on August 9 after Michael Fitzsimons’ fine display in his stead against Meath.

“That’s the way it works and the reality is he has the jersey now and deservedly so and it’s up to me and the other full-back line contenders to try and get one.”


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