by Daragh Small
Meath joint captain Bryan Menton believes reaching the Super 8s will work wonders for morale in the squad.
Andy McEntee’s side make the difficult trip to Ballybofey for their opener against reigning Ulster champions Donegal this weekend.
Meath have already lost twice to Sunday’s opponents in Division 2 of the Allianz League this year. Both were just two-point defeats, including the final, where they fell to a 1-17 to 1-15 loss at Croke Park.
But after getting over a hammering from Dublin in the Leinster final, the 28-year-old Donaghmore Ashbourne clubman is ready to make it third time lucky against Donegal this year.
“They are Ulster champions. It is a massively hard province,” said Menton.
“We have played them twice this year already. We know it is going to be a massive battle. But we will give it a crack.
“We will go back to the drawing board this week in training, and hopefully learn a thing or two.
“Winning games will always bring that positivity and belief as you go forward. The morale in the camp is really good.”
Menton scored a crucial goal in Meath’s narrow 2-16 to 1-18 victory over Clare at O’Moore Park in Portlaoise last Sunday.
That win secured them a place in the Super 8s for the first time, but it also helped relieved the pressure following that 1-17 to 0-4 showing in Croke Park against the Dubs last month.
“That can get in your head, when you hear a lot of that through media and different things. You hear it is hard to bounce back from a heavy defeat,” said Menton.
“We used that as our motivation to go ahead and quieten them, and tell them that we mean business here.
“We wanted to get to the Super 8s. That is a goal of ours no matter what happened in the Leinster final. We set that at the start of the year. We have reached that target and we know we have a massive battle against Donegal.
“We were proving a point to ourselves. We have been battling to try and get to the last eight of an All-Ireland for a number of years now. It has been too long. Before that it was too long before we got to a Leinster final.
“This is the furthest I have got in my career with Meath. It is definitely a step forward. We know the challenge that is ahead. It is going to be tough going forward.
“But it doesn’t get much tougher than eeking out a one-point win.”
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