Sean Boylan believes that Meath can upset the odds against Dublin in the Leinster Senior Football final on Sunday. Boylan was at the helm in Meath for almost a quarter of a century and knows exactly what it takes to beat Dublin and win titles. He feels that this Meath team has all the necessary qualities to do just that.
Speaking to the Irish Independent, the former Meath manager said “I’d be very surprised if they didn’t [get to the final] because I know the calibre of lad that is there,” he says. “They have taken some stick in their own county but I didn’t criticise them and I never would.”
With their five goal drubbing of the Dubs fresh in the memory of both teams, neither side will lack motivation. Boylan thinks that loss coupled with Dublin’s avoidance of Meath on their way to last year’s All-Ireland crown will give the defending champions added incentive when they take on their neighbours in Croke Park.
“There are two things about Sunday. Knowing some of the Dublin management, they would have liked to have beaten Meath on their way to the All-Ireland because of what happened the year before. So they have a carrot. Some of our lads have nothing to lose. Their football career has been salvaged. If you look at Galway and Kilkenny last Sunday, Henry Shefflin shipped three hard tackles in the second half and after that you could see he was back,” he explains.
“It’s there in your psyche and I’ll be amazed if he’s not a very different man after that and he might have got something back if he had questioned himself. And I think that’s what has happened for these (Meath) lads. They are young men, David Gallagher is by a mile the oldest man and then Shane McAnarney. Kevin Reilly is only 25 but it seems like he has been around forever.”
Boylan refused to comment on the managerial chaos in the Royal County following their relegation to Division Three of the league. There were rumours that Boylan was willing to take over from Seamus McEneaney but this never came to pass.
McEneaney remained in charge but brought in some additional expertise in the guise of Meath legend Trevor Giles to help quell the dissent growing in the ranks and it appears to have worked. After a shaky start to the championship against first Wicklow and then Carlow, Meath shocked red hot favourites Kildare in the Leinster semi final and Boylan believes there is something in the psyche of the Meath footballer that enabled the team to pull off that remarkable victory and gives them the chance to do something even more incredible on Sunday.
“I always said, there is a certain madness in Meath football. You can’t take that out of us. You can’t structure us. It is a mad belief you can always win and it has always been the same.”