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Newman set to return as O'Dowd and Tormey relish another crack at the Dubs

Meath were impressive in their semi-final victory – but next up is Dublin.

Mick O'Dowd is happy to have his star forward nearing a return.
Mick O'Dowd is happy to have his star forward nearing a return.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

MICKY NEWMAN WILL be fit to play in next month’s Leinster final with Dublin, according to Meath manager Mick O’Dowd.

The Royals’ boss had seen his preparations for this year’s championship severely hampered by injuries, but after their impressive semi-final win over Kildare his luck on the injury front may be about to change.

Micky Newman is recovering well from his hamstring strain after missing yesterday’s victory, while Bryan McMahon and Kevin Reilly (both forced off the field in yesterday’s semi-final) are both too fully expected to be back in time for a Leinster final on the 20th of July.

“Micky was working hugely hard right up until yesterday morning but I would expect that he will be back for a Leinster final.

“Bryan McMahon suffered a concussion. (As for Kevin) he looked like he wanted to stay on the pitch but that would be Kevin anyway. We got him off though because he was struggling.”

Padraig O' Neil and Kevin Reilly Kevin Reilly was outstanding for Meath and his knock is not thought to be serious. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Meath may have been without Newman, Conor Gillespie and Eamon Wallace in yesterday’s semi-final, but they were still capable of scoring 2-16 and producing an impressive display.

“I’m delighted to be in a Leinster final. It was a good performance, I think. We prepared very well. We were very confident and very focused in what we had to do and we executed it pretty well.

“I thought there were probably times in the second-half when Kildare got on top and we weren’t doing as much as we needed to do in terms of tackling and stuff like that but overall, the performance was very pleasing.”

Meath’s victory sets them up for a third consecutive Leinster final against Dublin.

“I would look at it as a second final in a row for us,” explained O’Dowd, “but you’re right, for the county it’s a third final in a row.

“I think what we’ll look for is a better performance than in the past two years. We gave a 55-minutes performance the last day, we’ll be looking for a 72-minute performance the next day and see where that brings us.”

Eamonn Wallace celebrates scoring a point Eamon Wallace during last year's final. Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

Meath led for long periods during last year’s final, before the Dubs upped the gears in the final 15 minutes. One aspect of yesterday’s performance which has concerned O’Dowd was how his team dropped their intensity levels during the final quarter.

“That’s a concern,” he said, “That’s one of the things we’ll look at, obviously. I would look at the impact their subs made and when how were introducing subs — it’s a delicate thing.

“Fellas may be getting the better of a man and going very well and that man is taking off and then you’re wondering do you replace fresh with fresh?

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“So it’s always a delicate balancing act. But overall, I thought the opening quarter of the second half was the time where we probably won the game.”

Andrew Tormey scores Andrew Tormey's penalty before half-time gave Meath a platform for their second-half blitz. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Andrew Tormey finished up with 1-3, as he took up the free taking responsibilities in the absence of Newman. He insists the panel is strong enough to cope with any injury.

“When we found out Micky wasn’t playing I was told during the week I’d be taking the penalties and the frees. So I was practicing them all week and thankfully they went in and over the bar.

“We took the foot off the gas when we went 12 points up and we thought we had the game won. Then Kildare started throwing everything they had at us, but it was mainly our own mistakes.

“We came out at half-time, I think the penalty before half-time settled us a bit and we came out and finished it off.

“We knew we had a storng enough panel. Of course it would have been better to have the injured lads there, we’d have a stronger bench to come on, but we’re just delighted to be back in a Leinster final now and have another crack at the Dubs.”

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