Since taking the reigns as Meath senior football manager, Colm O'Rourke has been open about his ambitions for the team's playing style, as the Royals look to close the gap to Dublin in the Leinster Championship.
They started with Allianz Football League campaign with a swagger, scoring seven goals across their two wins over Cork and Clare, before being overwhelmed by a slick Derry outfit in round three.
Colm O'Rourke on The Tommy Tiernan Show
In a pre-recorded and fascinating interview on The Tommy Tiernan Show which aired on Saturday evening, O'Rourke spoke about how his competitive edge has diminished over recent years.
"I think I've lost most of my competitiveness at this stage," he detailed. "Obviously I want to see Meath winning, or any team I'm involved in. But my competitiveness now in the last 20 years has been to see other people doing well, as distinct from myself."
That changed dramatically, however, when Tiernan pressed him on whether that extends to matches against the Dubs.
"Well that's different! Why didn't say what you meant? Obviously we measure ourselves by Dublin," he laughed.
"And in our time - and that's a phrase I hate. I never use that with our team, because you get fed up listening to these fellas, 'in the past, we used to do this and that' - but you measured yourself by whether you're able to go into Croke Park and play against Dublin. Not just beat them, but you had to play. A man-on-man battle. Were you good enough? As distinct from the team as well. And that is something I'd like to see coming back."
Meath Football Manager Colm O’Rourke says he no longer feels personal competitiveness except of course when it comes to a “burning determination” to beat Dublin 😉 😉 @Tommedian #TommyTiernanShow pic.twitter.com/b25tsVsA88
— RTÉ One (@RTEOne) February 18, 2023
Saturday's 2-15 to 1-7 defeat at the hands of Derry was an undoubted setback, but O'Rourke was always aware that there would be tough times.
"I'm sure there'll be bumps on the road, and probably lots of them," he outlined to Tiernan.
"But I see a very clear path of improvement taking place over the next few years. And I don't think I'm being overly optimistic in thinking that.
"[My term] is supposed to be three years," he continued.
"But I would sort of think that if there's not an improvement, if I'm not able to get an improvement within two years...You'd have to be realistic and say, if you're not able to get something out of them after two years, it's unlikely to improve dramatically. You have to see something happening."
Nonetheless, he is positive that this current group of Meath players have the potential to embark on an upward trajectory in the coming years:
"The prospects are great. They're fantastic. They're a very talented group of young men, and I'm just hoping that we can, as a management group, help them see their way forward. I'm very optimistic. Positive by nature, but optimistic about the group. Maybe there's no David Clifford, but the whole idea as far as I'm concerned is that we get these individual parts and that the total becomes a lot greater than the sum of the individual units.
"Rather than being too prescriptive to them, I think they have to find a way themselves to a large extent. You try and create an environment, where people can develop themselves as they possibly can."
O'Rourke's excellent wide-ranging chat with Tiernan is available to view on the RTÉ Player.