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Meath v Dublin challenge match aiming to raise over €100,000 for Sean Cox

The fundraiser will be played at Pairc Tailteann on 16 December.

From left: Shane McEntee (Meath), Mickey Burke (Meath), Michael Darragh-Macauley (Dublin), Meath manager Andy McEntee, son of Sean Cox, Jack, wife of Sean Cox, Martina, Eric Lowndes (Dublin), Colm Basquel (Dublin) and Seamus Lavin (Meath).
From left: Shane McEntee (Meath), Mickey Burke (Meath), Michael Darragh-Macauley (Dublin), Meath manager Andy McEntee, son of Sean Cox, Jack, wife of Sean Cox, Martina, Eric Lowndes (Dublin), Colm Basquel (Dublin) and Seamus Lavin (Meath).
Image: Ramsey Cardy/SPORTSFILE

MEATH MANAGER ANDY McEntee says Sean Cox’s fundraising game is expected to be sell-out next month. 

A match between Meath and All-Ireland champions Dublin will take place in Navan on 16 December in aid of the Dubliner, who was brutally attacked before a Champions League game at Anfield earlier this year — leaving him with life-changing injuries.

Organisers of the event anticipate a 10,000 capacity sell-out with around 1,000 tickets already sold. It’s hoped that the fixture will raise “north of €100,000″ for the former Dunboyne chairman.

“I know he’s making small progress, it’s a very slow process,” said McEntee of his Dunboyne club-mate, who is expected to remain in the National Rehabilitation Centre in Dun Laoghaire until March.

After that, his family will be faced with extensive medical and rehabilitation costs with a €2 million target placed on the fundraising drive.

“I think there’s over a thousand tickets sold already, without even launching it,” added McEntee. “I would expect it to sell-out. I always look forward to playing Dublin at any stage.

“If it was a game of marbles, playing Dublin still has its attraction. And I know from talking to the lads they’re looking forward to the thoughts of playing Dublin.”

Sean Cox Fundraiser - Meath v Dublin Press Launch Sean Cox's wife, his son and Dunboyne chairman Fergus McNulty. Source: Ramsey Cardy/SPORTSFILE

McEntee also took the opportunity to hit out at attempts to experiment with a suite of major playing rule changes in the upcoming National Football League.

Meath played Cavan in a recent challenge game and tested out the proposed new rules, which were drawn up by the Standing Committee on the Playing Rules, though McEntee gave a lukewarm reaction.

He was particularly critical of the proposal that all kicks-outs must cross the 45-metre line, stating that it won’t encourage high fielding but will rather promote packed midfields and spoiling tactics.

McEntee also maintained that the league is the wrong place to be ironing out such issues and claimed that it could reduce an important competition to ‘a bit of an experiment’.

Central Council will meet on Saturday week to consider which, if any, of the five proposals will be placed on trial in the 2019 National League.

We need to, and have been trying, to get out of Division 2 for far too long,” said McEntee. “Playing it under experimental rules, I don’t know if it does the league justice.

“My concern about implementing these new rules in the league is that it makes the league a bit of an experiment. And the league is important.

“It’s hugely important. I think everybody will say it’s the best competition we have. At the moment it’s the best competition we have because they’re all close games, it’s all tight and it’s week after week.

“So are you going to take a chance and play around with a really important competition? Doing it in the O’Byrne Cup or friendlies or whatever, I have no problem with that, but the league is nearly too important to be experimenting with.”

Andy McEntee Andy McEntee. Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

McEntee revealed that he found faults with a number of the five rules proposals during the recent tie with Cavan.

“We played the adjusted kick-out rule, the most recent proposal, whereby it just had to go outside the 45,” he said. 

“The aim of that I presume is to promote high fielding, the problem with that is that the opposition’s forwards are all going to retreat back outside the 45. So you’re going to have a crowded area out there and I suspect you’ll have less [catching], actually less. That’s the big issue.”

McEntee said he felt the proposal limiting consecutive hand passes to three might prevent fluid attacking movements.

“When you get in close to goals, to create any sort of a quick movement, sometimes you need a little short hand pass,” he said. “Three hand passes can happen very quickly in that regard.”

Tickets for next month’s game are available at gaa.tickets.ie and are priced at €20 for adults and €5 for juveniles.

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Paul Keane

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