Well, at least this part of the waiting is over – we now know that it’s Meath we’ll be facing in next Sunday’s All-Ireland quarter-final in what will be our first championship clash with them since, well, I don’t need to remind you when that was. It looked for a good while this evening that they were going to beat Limerick – who, for much of the game, had the appearance of a bunch of hurlers trying to play football – comfortably enough but two goals (the second of which looked a clear enough square ball but was allowed to stand) hauled the Shannonsiders back into it. They nearly forced extra-time but in the end came up short once again by a single point.
PJ rang me just after the final whistle and we were in agreement that the match had all the appearance of the kind of encounter you’d see in round 2 of the NFL. The contest was littered with basic errors, such as passes being sent flying all over the shop, comical handling mistakes and balls being dropped at an alarming rate. Limerick were especially guilty of this latter fault, as time and again their attacks broke down because they simply couldn’t keep hold of the bloody ball but the Royals made a fair few errors of their own over the course of the seventy minutes and, in those frantic final minutes, they didn’t seem to know which way was up.
I was at that first round Leinster clash between Meath and Dublin back in early June and Meath looked fairly club-footed and clueless that day. Based on what I saw on the telly tonight, things haven’t changed hugely within the Royals’ camp in the eight weeks that have passed since that game and tonight’s performance had all the hallmarks of an average Division 2 side playing at the kind of intensity you’d normally see in March. As PJ said after the game, buying the Combo tickets is likely to prove sound forward planning on our part: I know one shouldn’t tempt fate where our lads are concerned but it’s hard to avoid the conclusion that, if we play to anything close to our potential the next day, we’ll beat the Royals pulling up.