Bryan Menton is aiming for success
By Cian O’Connell
Bryan Menton knows all about the talk, tradition, and potential in Meath. Football dominates the agenda in the Royal County and the Meath captain feels the time has arrived to deliver.
A satisfactory start in Division Two of the Allianz Football League injected Meath with a dollop of hope before an unfortunate string of losses put them under severe relegation pressure. Meath survived, though, finishing the campaign strongly and Menton feels that Andy McEntee’s team can prosper in the coming weeks and months.
“I suppose there is a good bunch of young fellas that Andy McEntee was managing at minor level,” Menton says.
“There is that enjoyment between the manager and the players which is important. Andy being a Meath man, a staunch Meath man and Gerry McEntee, and all of the lads involved are staunch Meath men. There is good enjoyment there between management and players.”
Meath’s past, though, is that beneficial or can it be a heavy burden to carry? “I think that word the 'history' of Meath comes up a lot and what Meath has done,” Menton answers.
That is the ultimate goal.
“It is 1999 since Meath won an All Ireland so I think we just have to make our own history at this point. Having a few legends in the dressing room like Andy McEntee, Gerry McEntee, Donal Curtis, Finian Murtagh - they have all been there.
“It is nice to hear their stories, but the game has evolved since they were playing. We need to adapt to that. Everyone has said Dublin are the benchmark and everyone has to get to that level.”
That is a demanding task, though, for Meath, who face a tricky Leinster Championship assignment against Longford at Glennon Brothers Pearse Park on Sunday. Menton acknowledges that Meath need to push for a place in the revamped All Ireland Quarter-Final series.
“That is the ultimate goal,” Menton states. “You want to be playing as many games as you can. I've gone through a Championship where we have played three or four games. With the preparation that goes into it, I feel it can be really disheartening and disappointing, that you put in that much effort to only play three games.
“If you can get to that it is ultimately the goal. It means you'd have three or four or even five or six to get to that Super 8 and that ultimately means another three games. It could get you on that roll then. You could go anywhere from there.”
The key according to Donaghmore-Ashbourne clubman Menton is generating momentum. “It was a bit of a pity not to get a run after the Clare game,” Menton remarks about the spring.
“We had a draw and a win and then a game was cancelled which took away a bit of momentum. We lost a game, two games, then three games, and you start to worry a little.
“We picked the positives, we learned from the defeats and we won our last two games which has set us up well going into the Championship now.
“It definitely is to get belief and to be organised defensively. I know there is a bit of a talk about traditional football in Leinster, but that can be a little bit naive at times. I think a defensive set-up with the speed to attack is massively important.”
I'm 26 now, nearly 27 and I'm going to give it another few years to hopefully go after success.
Meath defeated Down and Louth to maintain Division Two status. “It was a pity that them games were competing to stay up and not to gain promotion,” Menton adds. “We had to get the wins, the players stuck together, and we got the wins.”
Menton continues to enjoy playing for Meath. “Yeah, absolutely,” Menton states. “I was brought in around 2010, I took one year out so it is my eighth year doing it and it is a massive commitment.
“Certain people that just can't commit to that because there is so many things outside of sport that can tie you down when it comes to growing up.
"I'm 26 now, nearly 27 and I'm going to give it another few years to hopefully go after success.”