RTÉ Sport football analyst Martin McHugh has sounded the alarm bells over the fate of football in Meath, suggesting the Royals’ less-than-convincing win over Wicklow was a sign of a county struggling to reach the levels at which they should be.
McHugh said he was “very fearful” about the plight of Meath, following their uninspiring win over Wicklow on Sunday.
“I don’t know what’s happening in Meath football,” McHugh said. “They’re a big county, they've a big population, and everything else.
“Traditionally a very, very strong Gaelic county, and, I don’t know, maybe the players aren’t coming through; maybe, through the Celtic Tiger they had it too good – Meath teams always dug deep and worked hard.”
McHugh said he would have expected Meath to beat Wicklow by ten points at home, and was concerned about what the sluggish nature of their win meant for their prospects when they face provincial heavyweights.
“You feel that, if they come up against Dublin at this stage, that unless they parked two or three buses they’d be in big trouble.”
McHugh also said that the wider picture emerging in Gaelic football, the gap between the stronger counties and those trying to catch up with them was widening.
“There is no team in the league last year in the division below that has beaten a team a division above them,” he said.
“You have the four provincial winners from last year. You probably have Cork and Monaghan. And we don’t know who the other two are going to be in the quarter-finals on Bank holiday August weekend – maybe Roscommon; we haven’t seen them yet.
"But the gap is definitely widening.”