FORGET Louth’s half-century of hurt, nine years without a Leinster title across the border in Meath has been enough for midfielder Brian Meade to become utterly ‘fed up’.
The Wee County are unlikely to share the big Rathkenny man’s anguish as he seeks the key to unlock a 21st provincial final success for his county at Croke Park.
Louth, of course, haven’t won a Leinster title since 1957 but, according to Meade, a county like Meath who’ve claimed five All-Ireland titles in that period should be regularly picking up Leinster wins.
Unfortunately for them they became powerless to prevent much of the last decade passing them by with uncharacteristic championship exits at the hands of Fermanagh, twice, Cavan and Laois summing up their fall from grace.
“We haven’t won anything for nearly 10 years, it’s nine years since 2001, and you know it’s probably rightly so that we haven’t either,” admitted Meade.
“That’s been justified but it’s been something that’s been gnawing away at us for the last few years and we are getting a little bit fed up of it at this stage. The truth of it is we still have won nothing yet so we have our eyes set on the Leinster final. This has been the aim since the beginning of the year and we are taking nothing for granted.”
Despite the rich tradition of seven All-Ireland wins for the county, placing Meath fourth in the all time honours list, the difficulties of the decade just gone means they’ll celebrate like its 1999 – the year of their last All-Ireland win – if they beat Louth on Sunday. Overcoming the weight of expectation following their five goal semi-final mauling of holders Dublin will be key if they’re to etch their names on the trophy again.
“That probably does put a bit of expectation on but you know looking at the video we were lucky enough to score the five goals, a lot of the breaks went our way,” continued Meade.
“I think one or two of the goals should have been a free the opposite way to Dublin. So Lady Luck was on our side that day. Maybe this time we won’t score a goal at all and we might only get five points, who knows.”
An improved showing at midfield would go a long way to recreating the semi-final success. Meath actually struggled in the vital middle third during the second-half against Dublin and only sealed the victory thanks to some sensational attacking play.
“Louth have two brilliant footballers at midfield and they like to get forward and they like to score,” said Meade of Shane Lennon and Brian White.
“It’s seldom that either of them would get less than three points a game. So it’s a big task ahead for us.”
White also takes the frees for Louth and his unerring accuracy has been a big part of their progression to this point.
“He is every bit as good as our free-taker, Cian Ward, if not better and that is saying a lot as Cian Ward is probably one of the best in the country,” claimed Meade.
“It’s one thing we have been looking at and trying to improve all year, cutting down on the frees. It’s one aspect of our game we have been fairly poor out so we hopefully we’ll give away less this time. Hopefully we can keep that down.”
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