Lessons being learned by Meath
By Cian O'Connell
For the second Sunday in a row, Meath manager Andy McEntee felt it was an opportunity missed for the Royals.
Highly competitive against Donegal and Mayo, Meath just couldn't do enough scoring damage in the closing stages of the All Ireland SFC Quarter-Final Group Phase encounters.
Ultimately, though, it has been an encouraging campaign for Meath even if McEntee acknowledges that some prized scalps weren't taken.
"We needed to get a win against one of the bigger teams and we didn’t do it," McEntee states.
"We put ourselves in a position to do it and we just didn’t do it. It’s frustrating for the lads, I really feel for them, they have put in a huge amount of work."
Immediately after the restart McEntee was adamant that Meath were beginning to cause Mayo significant problems.
"I thought they were creeking at that stage," McEntee remarked. "They'd gone up the field a couple of times and we had turned them over nicely and we had chances to go three and four points up.
"Maybe we just got a little bit tight when we saw the finishing line, they weren't difficult chances, you'd expect fellas to get them, but it is hard work out there. Maybe mental fatigue as much as physical fatigue sets in at that stage."
McEntee accepted that not being sufficiently clinical converting opportunities was an issue for Meath. "We probably had more of the ball than we did last week, but at vital stages we didn't execute properly," McEntee commented. "We've made progress, but it's a pretty tough learning place and we've got to go and get better.
"Maybe it's experience, there's a lot of young fellas on the field. There were a lot of lads that were sub-24 out there at the end and maybe you have to go through this learning experience to get out the other side.
"What I do know is we have to be better for longer. That's us done and dusted as regards competition.
"But as regards performance, we have another game and fellas will be looking forward to playing another game of that standard."