“We Got Our Asses Handed To Us On A Plate”: Paul Flynn Reflects On Embarrassing Meath Defeat In 2010
Paul Flynn admits Meath awoke a sleeping giant when they fired five goals past Dublin half a decade ago.
The Leinster semi-final meeting of 2010 set the Royals up for their last provincial title but in the long run it was Dublin who have had the last laugh as they’ve won two All-Irelands since then.
What it did was allow Pat Gilroy to dismantle a defence that had leaked badly that summer and in the previous two All-Ireland quarter-finals to Tyrone and then Kerry.
And Dubs star Flynn believes that defeat to Meath was an embarrassing trouncing that spawned an All-Ireland winning team.
With a more defensive-minded focus, the Dubs went on to lift the Sam Maguire Cup in 2011.
“Well, we weren’t implementing our defensive set-up that day, that’s for sure,” said a rueful Flynn.
“That was a blur, a difficult game. But fingers crossed that won’t happen again.
“The quality of goals they scored that day was ridiculous. All of them were 10 out of 10.
“But we made a few mistakes that day, too, and that can help us prepare for this one.”
The 28-year-old added: “We did revert to a more defensive style after that.
“We went through the back door and learned a lot about ourselves in those games too.
“It was so important in our development as a team. We got our asses handed to us on a plate.
“The same had happened to us against Kerry the year before so it was really a low point.
“We knew we had to get our act together here. It wasn’t easy training in the next week. We played Tipperary next and it was nothing pretty but we got over the line.
“Then we played Armagh – again nothing pretty, but a tight enough game. Then Louth, then Tyrone.
“In each one of the week-in, week-out games we were building a bit of momentum, getting to know more about ourselves.
“Pat made a lot of changes then but we got the big win against Tyrone and were unlucky against Cork.
“Losing against Cork – we should have beaten them, we were eight points up – we just got that belief that we’re not that far off. That really gave us a sense of it.
“To win a quarter-final, even, was a big thing because we were getting beaten in quarter-finals for a couple of years and beaten well.”
The steely, more negative approach failed to result in a successful All-Ireland defence in 2012 and Gilroy decided to step down.
Jim Gavin stepped up with a more dynamic, attack-minded tactical plan.
It took the game by storm in his first year in charge as Dublin stormed to further All-Ireland success.
It’s an approach the players enjoy but, for Flynn, both ways deserve credit since they’ve brought silverware.
“You just want to win,” he stated. “A new manager’s going to come in and have their own style of football.
“I wouldn’t say one bad thing about the style we played under Pat because we won our first All-Ireland. It was brilliant.
“Then Jim came in, he has his own values and beliefs about football. It’s great to play the way we’re playing but once you’re winning, you don’t mind.
“We were winning Leinsters in the years beforehand by cricket scores. But we were going to the All-Ireland quarter-finals and getting hammered so we needed to solidify.
“We always had the quality and the ability to score. It was just about solidifying the defence as well. With Pat we did that. We held that foundation throughout it all, and even now still.”
However the Fingallians clubman is certain that Meath won’t have any fear for Dublin when the sides clash on Sunday.
“There’s opposition there to be beaten, they’re in your way and I’m sure Meath are thinking the same,” he remarked.
“The form book will go out the window when you play Meath because there is that appetite.
“We’re the same – we don’t want anyone taking our Leinster title and we know that if someone’s not playing well, you’ll be taken off.
“That’s a big driver for us. There’s no room for complacency in our squad – or against any opposition.”(The Mirror)