Kildare boss Kieran McGeeney renews his explosive relationship with under pressure Meath manager Seamus McEnaney at headquarters on Sunday in the Leinster SFC Quarter-Final.
Neither side will like playing second fiddle to the main event on the double header bill but most fans will look at the bench to see if the two managers go nose to nose again, following their National League bust up.
Added to the mix is that Royals mentor, McEnaney, has lost some of his coaching staff after his somewhat bizarre decision to recall the 38 year old Graham Geraghty to the Meath panel. Rumours abound within the county that a defeat on Sunday will see the former Monaghan manager gone by Monday.
McGeeney on the other hand has no such worries and has recalled Eamonn Callaghan and James Kavanagh to the team for Sunday’s match. The experienced duo have recovered from knocks to force their way into McGeeney’s line up, Padraig O’Neill and Ronan Sweeney make way for the duo. The versatile Callaghan starts at left half forward with Ballymore clubman Kavanagh named at full forward.
Otherwise, the team is the same as that which defeated Wicklow by 0-12 to 0-5 in the first round a fortnight ago with Tomas O’Connor and Hugh Lynch continuing their midfield partnership in the absence of Daryl Flynn, who remains side-lined with an ankle injury. Kildare selector Aidan O’Rourke has been talking up Meath’s attack and physicality ahead of game
Speaking to a national newspaper, the former Armagh All-Ireland winner said: “Meath have some serious talent. They have a good forward line, are huge all over the field. Our problem first and foremost is going to be getting enough share of the ball to compete against them.
“They probably ask questions of defences that no other team does in terms of their physique and their power and then they have no little amount of pace in Graham Reilly and Stephen Bray operating up there.”
And O’Rourke has also suggested that the Royals are Leinster champions on merit.
“First of all, they are Leinster champions. People are saying ‘forget about that’, but whether Louth people like to hear it or not, they are Leinster champions on merit. Now the goal that they got to win the game might have been dubious enough, but it should have been over at half-time if we are fair about the whole thing’’.
Meath have also named their team, with McEnaney resisting the temptation to include Geraghty.
‘Banty’ received support for his decision to bring back the 38-year-old from an unexpected quarter this week.
McGeeney told the Irish Independent: ‘We can’t control what happens anywhere else and we’ll just look after ourselves. But with Geraghty you have to understand he is a brilliant footballer and if he is playing well, you take him back. I don’t think it is a big deal.’
That’s as may be but Kildare go into this game as favourites to unseat the reigning Leinster Champions
Kildare: S Connolly; A MacLochlainn, M Foley, H McGrillen; G White, B Flanagan, E Bolton; T O’Connor, H Lynch; M O’Flaherty, E O’Flaherty, E Callaghan; A Smith, J Doyle, J Kavanagh.
Meath: Brendan Murphy, Gary O’Brien, Kevin Reilly, Shane McAnarney, Seamus Kenny, Bryan Menton, Ciaran Lenehan, Nigel Crawford, Brian Meade, Jamie Queeney, Shane O’Rourke, Graham Reilly, Stephen Bray, Joe Sheridan, Cian Ward.