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Sports round up with David Doyle

Sports round up with David Doyle

| by David Doyle | Posted in Navan Sport

Introducing our sports guest blogger David Doyle! Sharing a sports roundup fortnightly, visit Navan Daily PRSS to get the latest in Sport!

 To change or not to change......

As the dust settled on the 2017 Meath football and hurling championships there was widespread acknowledgement from all parties that structurally, the format of the championships had to change. Despite having a similar requirement to rethink the reasons in both cases were varied. In the case of the hurling championship heavy defeats and walkovers led to a lopsided championship whilst in the case of the football championship a desire to make the championship more competitive (Meath have won 1 Leinster club championship in the past 30 years), and a need to reduce the number of teams from the awkward number of eighteen was the influencing factors.

In the case of the hurling completion a motion put forward by Boardsmill whereby the 12 championship teams would be seeded and divided into 2 groups with the top 6 seeds going into Group A and the remainder in Group B. 4 of the 6 knockout positions will be filled from Group A with the remaining 2 from Group B. Relegation from the senior grade will only be possible from Group B and each year one team will move from Group A to Group B with a similar movement in the opposite direction, thus preserving the numerical balance of the 2 groups.  In the case of the football championship the clubs faced a three way decision. Option 1 was the nuclear option of reducing the 18 teams to a more workable and streamlined 16 by increasing the relegated number of teams to three this year. Option 2 was a milder version of this to be achieved on a phased basis over 3 years whilst option 3 was to maintain the existing structure and format.

The methodology for change in both cases was the same and as is common in such situations a vote by the clubs at county board meeting would decide whether the motion was passed or not. In the case of the hurling championship the new format was adopted and will come into immediate effect in 2018. In the case of the football decision the clubs voted to maintain the status quo. With hurling and football being different sides of the same coin the contrast in approach is fascinating. The hurling clubs have taken a bold and brave move to adapt a new model. Whilst the new model is not without either risk or its detractors the old adage of not being possible to make omelettes without braking eggs applies here. In the case of football the lack of willingness to change and trial a new structure is somewhat disappointing and one can only hope that this decision is not a source of regret at the end of the year. What will be fascinating will be watching the impact of both decisions, on both codes, as the year unfolds.

Club and county competitive league action returned after its winter break. From a spectator point of view the leagues are an attractive proposition and provide a more accurate performance barometer than the pre season tournaments. Meath’s first fixture in Division 2 of the NFL was a tough away trip to Roscommon. In a game that ebbed and flowed, and then ebbed and flowed again Meath overturned a five point deficit into a four point lead before a last gasp Roscommon penalty sealed a share of the spoils for the home side. If the stated goal of promotion to division 1 is to be achieved the next game at home to Clare surely falls into the ‘must win’ category.Meath hurlers showed an equal propensity to roll up the sleeves and get the job done as they departed Newbridge with a three point win. A key factor in this was the virtuoso performance from Jack Regan who accounted for a massive 1-10 of Meath’s total. Next up is a tricky away tie to London in Ruislip. The Meath ladies football team went one better with a comprehensive victory over their Down counterparts in their opening Div 3 league game.

On the club front, the action also resumed a week early and despite the heavy conditions and some depleted squads due to county involvement there were some entertaining contests and also some early season warning shots fired. Skryne showed their intent and determination to put a disappointing 2017 season behind them as they impressively accounted for Dunboyne. Navan O’Mahony’s were too strong for a depleted St Colmcilles and St Pats opened their account with an impressive home win over Moynalvey. Elsewhere there were wins for Donaghmore/Ashbourne, Wolfe Tones, Na Fianna and Summerhill with Gaeil Colmcille narrowly edging out county champions Simonstown. Division 2 contained some eye catching results with comprehensive wins for Castletown away to Blackhall Gaels and Duleek/Bellewstown comprehensively despatching Walterstown. In Division 3 Carnaross, St Ultans and Longwood all opened their accounts in fine style and St Brigids and St Mary’s generating early season momentum with battling away wins in Division 4. Next weekend promises to be another feast of action across all fronts in local GAA.



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