And just when we were learning to love Meath again!

It did take a long time to get over, make no mistake, but 1996 and all that happened in the All-Ireland final replay against Meath took place a very long time ago (Fine Gael and Labour were in government then for jaysus’s sake so it must have been!) and, God knows, we’ve had plenty more to blubber about since then. Sure, Meath – especially that little git Colm Coyle, not to mention their thick-as-shit supporters – retained a special place on our mental dartboards for a some time afterwards but that’s all long forgotten now.

I have to admit that I’ve always had a sneaking regard for the Royals and the way they never seem to surrender meekly: let’s face it, what other county would have come from six points down with 15 minutes to go to snatch a draw in an All-Ireland final, as Meath did against us in ’96? As GAA supporters, we’ve also plenty to thank Meath for in the wider scheme of things, like finally ending Kerry’s All-Ireland dominance (and, on the way, Dublin’s Leinster hegemony) in the late Eighties and then, in the 2001 All-Ireland semi-final, inflicting the most humiliating defeat on the Kingdom in living memory. It’s a case of my enemy’s enemy: anyone who can kick the posteriors off Kerry and Dublin can’t be all that bad.

So it was good to see Meath proving equal to the Dubs the last day at a packed Croker and, despite what the bookies might say, I think they have more than a fighting (pardon the pun) chance to see off the over-hyped metropolitans in the replay this coming Sunday. If they do, Laois will most likely be their Leinster final opponents and while the O’Moore men would provide a stern test in the final, if Meath can handle the Dubs they’ll handle Laois as well.

If they put in another big Croker performance this Sunday, Meath could – for the first time since 2001 – be on their way to a Leinster title and the chance to mix it (those puns just keep coming) once with the big boys in the All-Ireland series. For those of us who are pig sick of swarming Northeners and smug Kerrymen, a Meath resurgence would be a development to be welcomed. Not even the fact that Colm Coyle is bainisteoiring them affects this conclusion.

And then Dudley Fucking Farrell opens his great big gob and starts bitching about Kevin McStay’s punditry on the Sunday Game. According to the Dud (as well as being a large balding slob, he’s also apparently a Meath selector), the reason that Our Kev mentioned the Graham Geraghty incidents from the drawn match against Dublin (that was when he twice slyly punched Dublin’s David Henry in the head when the ref wasn’t watching) again last Sunday was because, as a Mayoman, he still has bitter memories of 1996 and that he needs to “get on with his life”.

Sorry to disappoint you, Dud, but the reason Kev brought this up last Sunday was because Pett asked him a direct question about it. Moreover, as Kevin was at pains to point out, he was talking about the incidents in the context of the GAA’s rule book and was not concentrating per se on the Geraghty incident. If you don’t believe me, watch it again, you gobshite. And, when you have done so, why don’t you forget about 1996 and get on with your life?

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