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The Stat Which Proves How Far Meath Football Has Fallen In The Last Decade

The Stat Which Proves How Far Meath Football Has Fallen In The Last Decade
By Conor Neville Updated

Another distressing reminder of how low Meath football has sunk in the 21st century.

Back in that glorious era of the late 80s and the 1990s, when Meath faced the Dubs at worst as equals and very often as their plain superiors, they held a cherished reputation as the great anti-bottlers of the GAA.

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Very often, they were the team against whom other teams seized up in sight of the finish line. The team against whom other teams 'bottled' it.

Between 1987 and 1999, they functioned as the Gaelic football equivalent of a Nick Faldo or a Steffi Graf, the ruthless and faintly evil figure stood on the other side of the net while the mentally frail people's favourite collapsed before our eyes.

In 1988, it was Cork who were victims. In 1991, it was Dublin who were reeled in repeatedly by Meath. In 1997, it was Kildare who didn't count on Jody Devine writing his name in lights and becoming a byword for super-subs for years afterwards in extra-time in the first replay.

The most famous example was the desperately controversial 1996 All-Ireland final, the sporting equivalent of Bambi's Mum dying. Being cast as pantomime villains in the aftermath was a very small price to pay.

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Even in big games they lost, this spooky mental resilience was in evidence. They trailed Down by eleven points in the second half of the 1991 All-Ireland final and yet only lost by two in the end.

On Saturday, Meath exited the championship in the hardly grand surroundings of Owenbeg (nothing screams irrelevance more than a qualifier in Ownebeg). Nothing unusual in a mid-summer Meath exit these days. They did, however, prolong a dismal record.

Leading Derry by seven points at half-time, they ended up losing by three. Colm Keys records it as the ninth championship game in a row that Meath have failed to win the second half.

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The turkey shoot in Carlow in the Leinster quarter-final in 2014 was the last time Meath won a second half. The most dramatic collapse in the present run was the semi-final loss to Westmeath in Leinster last year. Even in the League, the blowing of half-time leads was a constant theme, the most striking coming against Cavan in February.

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Many are speculating about Meath's conditioning with others pointing to the mental scars following the Westmeath match last year.

Read more: Andy Moran Makes Daring Grab For Joe Sheridan's Stubborn Post-Match Interview Title


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