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New Meath leaders must 'drive it on'

A HOST of Royal rookies will make their championship debuts for a depleted Meath at home to Wicklow, writes Frank Roche.

The defence has three SFC newcomers - Nicky Judge, Brian Power and Davy Dalton, belatedly after many injury setbacks - while James McEntee makes his first start.

Harry Rooney has also been handed his summer baptism in a new-look midfield alongside Adam Flanagan, who makes just his second SFC start.

Meanwhile, up front, Joey Wallace get his big chance after previous championship cameos off the bench, but his brother Eamon is not listed.

Manager Mick O'Dowd's hand has been forced by a glut of recent injuries ruling out Bryan Menton, Kevin Reilly, Shane O'Rourke, Conor Gillespie and Mickey Newman. Conor McGill, a league discovery at full-back, is another notable starting absentee.

Westmeath have made three changes from the team that eclipsed Louth as they prepare to host Wexford. After his recent return from working in Britain, Denis Corroon comes straight into the half-forward line along with Ronan Foley, while the fit-again Paul Sharry is recalled at wing-back.

MEATH (SF v Wicklow): P O'Rourke; J McEntee, D Tobin, D Dalton; N Judge, D Keogan, B Power; H Rooney, A Flanagan; G Reilly, P Harnan, A Tormey; J Wallace, S Bray, B McMahon.

WESTMEATH (SF v Wexford): D Quinn; K Daly, K Maguire, P Holloway; P Sharry, J Gilligan, J Dolan; G Egan, D Daly; R Foley, R Connellan, D Corroon; K Martin, J Heslin, S Dempsey.