Giles predicts a brighter future for Meath football
By John Harrington
Royal county legend, Trevor Giles, hopes the future is bright for Meath football.
The county is still on a high after the All-Ireland Finals victories of the minor footballers and senior ladies footballer, and Giles believes that’s because of the nature of those wins as much as the results themselves.
“Things are a little bit on the up in Meath, hopefully, at the moment,” says Giles.
“The thing I liked about the minors and the ladies with their wins was that they were both up against really strong teams. They were the underdogs in both finals.
“They really gave it a go, they didn't sit back and defend and hope to keep the score down. It was like what Sean Boylan would have instilled in us years ago - no matter who you are playing, go out and have a go, give it your best shot and see if you are good enough.
“Both the ladies, against that really good Dublin team, and the minors, against that really good Tyrone team, they got on the scoreboard early, they were scoring regularly and they stuck with their opponents right through.
“It is heartening stuff from a Meath point of view. Everyone is looking forward to next year. We have had good success at U17 level, minor level.
“Some of those teams haven't improved as much as you would have liked when they came to U20 level.
“You are at a certain level at 18, you have to improve to 19, you have to improve more at 20, 21, and become a really good senior player. That is the trick for Meath, to try and get that going.”
This week Meath GAA announced the appointment of Barry Horgan to the newly-created role of general manager where he will oversee the county’s football development squads from U-13 up to U-20 level.
Horgan spent the last six years working in a variety of professional sports in Australia and is very highly regarded.
Giles believes his recruitment will be a big help in transforming the county’s talented underage footballers into senior players of substance.
“I think it's a positive development and I think they recognize that they can do more to bridge that gap between under-17 and under-20,” said Giles.
“I suppose going back to my days at 17 and 18 you were playing senior for Skryne and then you went to UCD.
“You got on the freshers team and you played Sigerson for four years, played under-21 for three years and just exposed yourself to a really good level of football and improved yourself every year. Then when you get to 21 you are really ready for senior football.”
Giles hopes that the positive vibes from this year’s two All-Ireland victories will ultimately give football in the county a medium to long-term bounce because they’ll have inspired a new generation to achieve big things.
“I think it should, I think it could,” he says. “It should certainly provide a bounce in five or six years because my own kids and teenagers in Meath went up and saw the minors and ladies winning the All-Ireland, so it has to provide a bounce in a few years’ time, in that 14 and 15 year-olds dream of playing for Meath in Croke Park and winning All-Irelands, so absolutely.
“It should provide a bounce in the next year or two, absolutely. I suppose with Meath we’ve just been inconsistent. We had a big game there during the year with Kildare to get promotion to Division 1 for next year and we didn’t perform that day. It was a great performance in the second half of the Leinster final and we really competed with Dublin, so we need to be consistent.
“If you are a Meath footballer you should be going to training this winter feeling you have a slightly more realistic chance of winning a Leinster championship than maybe for the last few years when Dublin were so good.
“But whatever it is with Meath in the last ten years no matter who has been the manager, they’ve been unlucky with injuries and key players seem to get injured. Ronan Jones just made it back for the Leinster final this year, he’s a key player. Shane Walsh missed the whole season with injury, a good young forward and he’s missed out on a year of his development.
“So whether it’s bad luck or whatever it is, Meath need all of their key players fully fit and available for next year. So it should provide a bounce. When we talked ourselves up in Meath, Dublin have taken us very seriously and absolutely wiped us like they did last November in the Leinster final when we thought we had closed the gap.
“This year we didn’t talk ourselves up so much and we competed much better. In Meath we just need to get the head down, get everyone fit and available, train really hard and try to take the example of our minors and our ladies and when you are playing these stronger teams that you really have a go at them and just go on be positive and attacking, go for it and try and get as many scores as you can and take that approach.”
Trevor Giles was speaking at the launch of the 2021 Beko Club Champion, a competition to reward and celebrate local GAA club heroes who go above and beyond to help their local club. For more information visit *leinstergaa.ie/beko-club-champion/*.