Seamus McEnaney dismissed talk of pressure being lifted off his shoulders following yesterday’s win — his first with Meath in 15 weeks.
The much-maligned Royals’ boss was full of praise for his team but made light of the victory alleviating the tension following their relegation to Division 3 and the county executive’s unsuccessful attempt to oust him.
“I think that every championship match is a pressure match, whether you’re a player or manager and you want to perform at the very best.
“We have players who have got a lot of stick for not playing well and some of those fellas played exceptionally well.
“Carlow in two weeks time is going to be as difficult. They beat Louth in the first round of the Leinster championship last year, and we will be given them the same attention as we gave this match. There is no less pressure — as you go in the championship, every championship match is pressure.’’
The game had been billed as a potential ambush for Meath but McEnaney said he and his players never lost sight of what was at stake.
“What was said outside of our group was totally irrelevant. The only thing that matters is inside those four walls and the lads have really worked extremely hard.
“The team has really gelled together and are prepared to fight tooth and nail for each other.”
Meath were slow out of the blocks, something which McEnaney put down to the four debutants getting accustomed with their new surroundings. Strangely, Meath didn’t use the wind advantage to boot high ball into the full-forward line in the second-half like Wicklow had done to good effect before the break.
“We have a game plan and the lads are working to that game plan,” explained McEnaney. “It could be rain or wind the next day but you have to stick to your plan. I was delighted the way we played, the young fellas played really well and they’ve added a new dimension to our team.
“They’ve added more strength and depth and a competitive edge for the Carlow match.”
McEnaney complimented Graham Reilly for his man-of-the-match performance from midfield.
“He’s been going quite well, and it was a dimension we wanted to bring to our game. We need more pace in our team, and we have used more pace in our team, and the likes of Graham went well in the middle of the field.”
The returning Joe Sheridan, of course, was also mentioned by the Monaghan man. “When I made the phone call to Joe to come home, it was about today — that’s all it was about. Joe has given a massive commitment and has trained exceptionally hard and has got himself into shape for May 27.”
McEnaney also said injury victims Stephen Bray and Paddy Gilsenan have “every chance” of being in the shake-up for the Carlow game.
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