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Tuesday 17 October 2017

'Both sides have moved on' from Bitegate

Dublin's Eoghan O'Gara, involved in an off the ball incident in the second half with Meath players, from clockwise, Eoghan Harrington, Michael Burke, and Kevin Reilly, bottom. Picture credit: Piaras O Midheach / SPORTSFILE
Dublin's Eoghan O'Gara, involved in an off the ball incident in the second half with Meath players, from clockwise, Eoghan Harrington, Michael Burke, and Kevin Reilly, bottom. Picture credit: Piaras O Midheach / SPORTSFILE

IN what was the first public statement on the subject from a member of the Meath set-up since the day of the Leinster final, team captain Kevin Reilly said the Royals have "gotten over," the incident which led to Mickey Burke claiming he had been bitten during the match.

"Yeah, look it was an unfortunate incident that happened," said Reilly at a press call ahead of this Saturday's All-Ireland SFC Round 4A qualifiers, the first person from inside the camp to comment since Mick O'Dowd made the allegation public.

"These things unfortunately happen in games. Scuffles happen. Ok, it's not in keeping with the nature of the game and it's wrong but it happens.

"Both sides have gotten over it and moved on."

An investigation into the incident led to no disciplinary sanctions being brought against any Dublin player due to a lack of evidence.

It is presumed that Meath were unwilling to pursue the matter, although Reilly insisted he "wasn't really concerned" about the potential for the case to distract from the team's preparations ahead of Saturday's clash with Armagh.

On a related subject, it had been commented that the performance was most un-Meath like.

Criticism of the team on that evening's edition of The Sunday Game contended that the players didn't bring the fight to Dublin when there was still a chance of winning.

fought back

"I wouldn't agree wholeheartedly with that," Reilly responded.

"I think there were quite a few guys that actually stood up and fought back.

"Maybe it was too little too late, but there were quite a few lads there that kept going right to the end.

"You mentioned the characteristics of Meath teams and one of them is to stand up and have a real good go at things, especially when things are not going your way, to try fight your way back into it."

He added: "I wouldn't be one to shy away from any sort of a battle, I knew the task was going to be enormous in the second half that day but you do whatever you can for as long as you can to try and change things."

injury

Afterwards, O'Dowd explained that his reason to move Reilly into midfield at half-time was a pre-existing injury picked up in the win over Kildare in the Leinster semi-final.

Reilly expects to play on Saturday against Armagh, however.

"Hopefully. The knee is fine," he explained.

"I did a partial tear in both my medial and lateral ligament in the Kildare match. That's why I went off. Luckily we had three weeks to recover and get back from that. So, the knee is fine."

Bryan McMahon, who was substituted during the match after coming off the wrong side of a heavy collision is, according to Reilly, back in training, while Mickey Newman is also fit.

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