A performance that disintegrated after a very promising start. Comfortable and controlled in the first-half, despite the nagging realisation that Meath’s misses were as much behind the five point interval lead as any brilliance on our part. After the break, swept away by a Royal tide that strengthened as each injury seemed to highlight the lack of strength of our current panel. And eventually the dam burst with a calamitous late penalty. Blame referees, injuries or indeed the wind, as the manager did, but you can’t get away from the familiar pattern of letting another close game slip. Good luck to Meath, they fully deserved it, even if their supporters could be more gracious in victory as well as defeat. Our ratings, with Irish Independent (Donnchadh Boyle) ratings in brackets. Not sure what match he was at. Snow must have obscured his vision.
Mark Donnellan 7 (7) – thought Meath pressed his kick outs well in the second half but another superb save leading to his concussion and withdrawal.
Mark Dempsey 5 (7) – the difference between club and county football has been clear in Dempsey’s difficult transition, a bit like clubmate James Murray before him. That’s no disrespect to Moorefield who are clearly the best club side by a distance in the county. If Thomas O’Reilly had landed a few of his five free shots at the posts, we’d be talking about a roasting for Dempsey who was never at the pitch of it. Weak in possession on one occasion and gave away a free as a result. Place must be in jeopardy and in truth could probably do with taking out of the limelight for the next game or two.
Mick O’Grady 7 (6)– thought he was excellent in the first-half and had Newman under close control. Black card was silly if not ultimately impactful, although on review of the video the Meathman should be embarrassed with himself.
David Hyland 6 (6)– Did a decent job on McMahon who was withdrawn but not his best display and ran into trouble a few times when we needed composure in the second half. Wasn’t willing to take on a late shot that might have saved a point either.
Cian O’Donoghue 6 (7) – Solid if unspectacular. Injury clearly curtailed him at the end and should to my mind have been slotted into the forwards rather than leave a severely injured man fighting the rearguard action. Bad call by the management.
Eoin Doyle 7 (7) – clearly curtailed by his leg injury. Great commitment to try to play on with that and hope he didn’t do much damage. Thought he actually had one of his better defensive displays, perhaps lack of mobility curtailed his natural desire to play expansively.
Peter Kelly 6 (7) – only getting back up to speed. Not a huge influence on the game. Probably will slot back into corner back in coming weeks.
Kevin Feely 7 (7) – tempted to make him man of the match for the second week running as his first-half performance was the best I’ve seen from him for two years. Won marks all over the place and dominated midfield. None of that in the second half but he was lacking support. Still, we needed him to step up as the tide went against us and it didn’t really happen for Kevin or anyone else.
Tommy Moolick 5 (6) – another magnificent point in the first half and it should have driven us on, but his legs were clearly gone after the break and was a peripheral figure. Masterson surely would have been a better substitute than O’Callaghan to help out around midfield?
Paddy Brophy – 6 (7) – shades of the pre-Oz Paddy fleetingly in the opening quarter and early point should have settled him. But gradually went quiet and eventually drifted into full forward where very little worked out for him. His poor decision to go for the spectacular goal late in the first-half was disappointing for a player of his experience.
Fergal Conway – 5 (6) – very quiet and when that happens you realise what he brings to the party when he’s on song.
Keith Cribbin 6 (6) – seemed to be man-marking Cillian O’Sullivan and that went well enough in the first-half. But the man-bun was head and shoulders better in the second-half. And then came the silly penalty. Too experienced to be making such schoolboy errors.
Neil Flynn 6 (7) – Not his best day despite a brilliant first-half point. Still young but we need him to be one of the leaders in games like this. He has the talent. Drifted out of it.
* Ben McCormack 7 (8) – Seems crazy to award man-of-the-match to someone who only lasted 23 minutes but he was a class above the other 29 players while he was there. With that lad from Johnstownbridge (he who shall not be named) gone, Ben is our best opportunity to replace his goals. He showed signs of his old self and his third senior goal here (second v Meath in Navan) was top notch. Injury-prone though. Probably in line for an 8 or 9 score if he’d stayed on longer.
Jimmy Hyland – 5 (7) – flew out of the traps and looked like he was going to lead Meath a merry dance. Ingenuity to play Brophy in for opening score and took a good mark himself. Gallagher gradually got the measure of him and he a few balls slipped from his grasp as he struggled to maintain his good start. Bad shot dropped short in the second-half as it all fell apart a bit for him. Learning curve.
Adam Tyrrell 5 (6) – I don’t understand what management are trying to do with Tyrrell. He replaced McCormack who was closest to goal but Adam seemed to play the David Slattery role. The man’s a scoring machine in the club game, play him close to goal! Like Dempsey, question marks about his ability to step up to this level but he’ll never do it as an up-and-down wing forward.
Paul Cribbin 6 (6) – offered something of an outlet at full forward but quite clearly not really fit. Good to see him edging back though.
James Murray – 5 (6) – Doyle’s were big boots to fill. James is struggling to impose himself on inter-county games, a bit like his Moorefield colleagues. Again, that’s nothing against Moorefield.
Kevin O’Callaghan – 5 (6)- Not a lot of impact but he’s very new to this level. Disappointing wide.
Aaron O’Neill 6 (6) – was solid. Penalty save would have been a great feather in his cap but not to be.