Offaly gave Meath a real scare in their Leinster preliminary round clash at Páirc Tailteann on Sunday. After going in at the break three points down, Offaly rallied to lead by four 15 minutes into the second half.
A 63rd minute goal from Bryan McMahon proved crucial as Meath eventually edged the game by two points.
For Offaly manager John Maughan there was disappointment, but also pride in the performance.
"We played the better football," the Mayo man told Midlands 103.
Their management came up to me afterwards and said, 'There's no question about it, Offaly were by far the better team'. We played some sparkling football.
I'm very proud of the spirit, the resolve and the resilience and the character displayed there today. Some of them are hardly able to walk because they left everything on the pitch.
Maughan revealed that pre-match, Offaly captain Niall Darby had given a rousing speech.
"The attitude in the camp over the last couple of weeks has been fantastic," said Maughan.
"The morale, the spirit - it couldn't be better.
"We've some wonderful lads that showed great leadership, charisma. Niall Darby spoke before in the dressing room and I felt like togging out myself - he's such a wonderful character.
"There was no fear coming in here today.
"We had Meath rattled all over the field, they were rattled on the sideline. I could see that. I was very close to the opposing management and I've been there myself. They emptied their bench very quickly because they were in trouble.
"There's huge disappointment [for the Offaly players], they're dejected - the game was there to be won and they know it.
"That's part of the job, to make sure that win, lose or draw, there's a bit of pride and a bit of spunk in the boys and it was there in abundance today."
Picture credit: Sportsfile