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Tuesday 24 October 2017

Rivalry not as fierce as old days

CON Houlihan wrote of the 1991 four-game Dublin/Meath melodrama that "all Gaeldom looks on agog," writes Conor McKeon.

In truth, they probably did for quite a while afterwards too, whenever the counties squared off.

And while a large swathe of that particular congregation will tune in on again Sunday in Croke Park, there's a general acceptance that the mythical element the rivalry carried during the '90s has evaporated.

"You definitely get reminded of it, particularly from lads who might be a little bit older," says Michael Darragh Macauley, who has played in three such Championship matches, the 2010 defeat and Dublin's back-to-back Leinster finals of the past two summers.

"For them, there still is that big Dublin/Meath thing. And the week of the match, there is the extra bit of hype.

"You'd always have the extra fella shouting at you on Grafton Street: 'make sure you win on Sunday!' So there is always that sort of craic.

tradition

"But personally, from a playing perspective, it's hasn't been a rivalry like the huge one of the 1990s. Obviously, they got the better of us in 2010 and we got the better of them the last two years.

"So it's been give or take. But it's something that definitely the older Dubs don't let you forget about. It's up to us to keep a winning tradition going on Sunday."

Macauley's team-mate, Paul Flynn, is equally unromantic about it all.

"I'm not sure it's as a prevalent now as it was," he admits. "There was obviously a bitterness there between the teams.

"Now obviously, there is competitiveness between the teams but I wouldn't hold any bitterness towards Meath or any of their players.

"They're an opposition. They're in your way. And you just have to try and beat them.

"I do shut it out, I'll be honest with you. I do stay away from any kind of media stuff. Just try and get your head in the game."

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