By Robert Cox Dec 11th 2020
The Meath Minor Footballers take on neighbours Westmeath in the Quarter Final of the Leinster Minor Football Championship in Navan on Saturday, with Captain Eoghan Frayne delighted they are getting the chance to do so.
Summerhill man Frayne said that after the highs of the Dublin game and the uncertainty of lockdown, that he and his team mates are now ready to play anytime and anywhere. And that starts with Saturday’s clash against a side that knocked the young Royals out in 2019, a game Frayne was also involved in.
The ace marksman who is a 5th year student in Scoil Dara Kilcock, was man of the match and voted Minor Player Of The Week after his flawless performance against Dublin in round one way back on October 17th.
Frayne kicked scores from all angles that, finishing with a personal tally of 0-07 but it was the overall performance of the Meath team that particularly impressed as they swept aside the Dubs with a second half blitz to run out convincing 1-15 to 0-07 winners.
Unfortunately for the team and management the country entered its second lockdown shortly after and uncertainty surrounded the future of the 2020 Minor Championship, with the Gaa allowing only Senior competitions to played during the six week lockdown period.
This week we caught up with a buoyant Frayne to discuss the highs and lows of the last few weeks and to look ahead to the Westmeath clash on Saturday, a game he is really looking forward too.
“Ahh look Robert it’s great to get back at it after the uncertainty of the last few weeks since the Dublin game. We were ready to play this game anytime and anywhere. We just wanted to get it played and we were looking forward to going as far into the Championship as we could.
I suppose like every county, we’ve worked so hard for this. And not only this year, we’ve been building towards this for the last few years. Training together as a group all through the developments squads and it’s just great that we are getting the chance to finish it, whatever the outcome may be.
With regards the Dublin game. Not a word of a lie, we spent the last number of years building towards that game. John and the rest of the management team have been preparing us for that game for a long time. So we knew when the time came that we would be well ready for that challenge.
To be fair to all the lads, the effort through the years has been immense and thankfully we all stuck together. The improvement through the years has been ten fold.
We really hit the ground running the day we played Dublin in Navan and thankfully we got our just reward.
After that game and all the effort we had put into it, it was a bit of a kick in the teeth to find out the Championship was cancelled. It was disappointing at the time looking back but we never lost faith and knew it would be back at some stage.
To be honest in a way the postponment may have done us a bit of good as it brought us back down earth a bit after the high of the Dublin game. It gave us a chance to refocus and not to live off that one result, however good it might have been”
Lockdown – “Yeah we weren’t allowed to train together for the Six weeks. So like the first lockdown, we just had to train on our own.
You could see the first night we went back and we started the running that the boys had clearly put in the work on their own and were clearly up to it. Even the lads that weren’t picked the last day, you could see what they might have been working on to try and put themselves in contention for the Westmeath game. All the lads put in a serious effort”
Championship is back – “There was a bit of speculation about the date of the Westmeath game. We weren’t sure to be honest, though it was good to hear talk of it returning.
When we finally got it confirmed for sure we then only had two weeks together to prepare. It’s not ideal obviously as it’s a short space of time but look all teams are in the same boat.
We obviously couldn’t even get a challenge game in or anything. We had to make the most of our training sessions, working on the fitness and getting the eye in with the ball skills.
But as I said earlier, the lads came back in serious shape and everyone was up for it. It was clear to see that we hadn’t lost much ground at all over the lockdown.
We’re all ready now for the intensity that Westmeath are sure to bring to Navan on Saturday. It’s our next game so in our eyes it’s our most important. The next game is always the most important.
We’re looking to go as far as we can in this competition and are grateful that it’s back up and running and for us the Westmeath game is the next step on our journey. We really can’t wait and will give it our all”