Monday 11 December 2017

O'Brien confident his side will do business

WEXFORD BOSS Aidan O'Brien admits that while he is pleased with his side's preparation, he is also aware of Meath's pedigree for championship football.

But he is anxious to focus on his own players as they wind down preparations, with the final get-together this Thursday evening when his starting 15 will be announced to the squad.

The intensity of Wexford's training programme has been such that they are ready for the Meath challenge. Wexford had their final game last Tuesday night against Armagh which O'Brien felt they needed to iron out a few details.

'Yes, it was a game we needed as it gave us an opportunity to try out a few things with players, while it also gave us an opportunity to try out a few more details. It was a very good and competitive workout and served its purpose,' he said.

There is no questioning Meath's championship pedigree and O'Brien is well aware of that.

'When it comes to Leinster football there are three top teams each year, Dublin, Kildare and Meath. We are delighted to be on the same programme as them this Sunday.

'Meath's pedigree is well established in championship football. They were only narrowly beaten in last year's provincial final and went on to play impressively in the All-Ireland quarter-final.

'They achieved this last year despite having had a rather turbulent year. This year they seem more settled, have introduced some quality young players, and seem to be moving in the right direction. Yes, they are a side that has made progress and look a more settled camp this year.'

O'Brien also reflected on the manner in which they coped with Wicklow down in Aughrim.

'Many believed they would find it difficult. But they coped admirably and with confidence. When Wicklow got within two points they responded with scores of their own and could also have had a goal near the end. They responded very comfortably and looked very much a side that is progressing and ready for championship battle.'

While Wexford may have gone close to provincial success over the past five years, O'Brien feels it may be wrong just to judge the side solely on the Dublin games.

'We went close with Dublin, but perhaps they under-estimated us after their big Leinster final victory. It's difficult to know but perhaps it's wrong to focus solely on the Dublin games. Last year we were lucky to get out against Longford and then lost to Tipperary in the qualifiers.

'But, having said that, I'm delighted with the effort and commitment of the players. We showed against Louth what we are capable of. I've great confidence in the players. They have put in a huge effort, and placed a lot of demands on themselves to achieve the highest standard possible.

'I think if we are focused and determined enough we can achieve victory over Meath. This game is our focus now. We are ready to meet the Meath challenge. The players are relishing the challenge and I've great confidence in them. There is no questioning their appetite for this game which we are all looking forward to.'

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