| 3.3°C Dublin

Banty buzzing for Boyne war

HE may be under more pressure than any manager in the country, but an upbeat Seamus McEnaney can’t wait to embrace the ‘back door’ and this Saturday’s spicy rematch with Louth at Kingspan Breffni Park.

The Monaghan native has described the televised clash as “one of the biggest games since the foundation of the qualifiers” and - harking back to last year’s Leinster final fiasco - declared: “This is a grudge match for Louth. They can deny it if they want, but everybody knows that’s a fact.”

For Meath, though, given their abject 2011 form in Banty’s first year and all the controversy of recent weeks, this game is equally huge.

“There is no life in Gaelic football for me, this management team or these players beyond Saturday,” the embattled manager confirmed. “I don’t think I’ve ever looked forward to a match more than this one,” he added. “It’s the real old-style type of championship match that you love to be embraced in. I am really buzzing about it.”

On a less optimistic note, McEnaney is planning without two forwards for Saturday’s must-win affair. He described the Central Hearing Committee’s decision to uphold Brian Farrell’s red card against Kildare as “mind-boggling” while Stephen Bray is rated “very doubtful” with a hamstring injury sustained in a recent club game.

He is more confident about the availability of prodigal veteran Graham Geraghty, whose training has been curtailed by an Achilles injury. “We had a pretty intense week in training and he came out of it badly, on the receiving end of a boot or something. He had a bit of bad bruising, but he is okay,” insisted McEnaney, who suggested Geraghty was “capable of playing a very strong 30 or 40 minutes either at the start or finish.” DESSIE DOLAN has emerged as a major injury doubt as Westmeath seek to reignite their championship with a difficult qualifier trip to Antrim. The former All Star has suffered a recurrence of the hamstring injury scare that originally made him doubtful for the Wexford game. Even if Dolan makes it, manager Pat Flanagan is expected to make several changes, especially in defence.