Meath's find of 2019 pings over straightest free you'll see 1 month ago

Meath's find of 2019 pings over straightest free you'll see

From third-choice goalkeeper to a hugely important cog in the Royal County's forward line.

It has been a whirlwind four months for the Summerhill star.

This is where the year started for Barry Dardis and Meath, minding the nets on O'Byrne Cup duty:

(Photo by Matt Browne/Sportsfile)

Dardis got a taste of first team action but, as the Allianz League campaign neared, Andy McEntee brought back in Andrew Colgan and Marcus Brennan to share the goalkeeping duties.

Dardis could have easily accepted his fate, as third-choice goalie, but he saw one door closing as another one coming ajar. Former Meath forward Cian Ward told The GAA Hour:

"He was a great Minor forward for Meath, real eye for goal and scored a lot of goals. Top forward in the county championship with his club, Summerhill, who got to the county final. But he was on the panel last year, as a forward, and he never really made the breakthrough.

"This year he was actually brought in as an option as a goalkeeper. I met him in a pub there before Christmas... imagine meeting an inter-county player in a pub!

"I met him, anyway, and we were having a laugh. I was telling him it was the easiest job in football, being a third goalkeeper. But he's a good character and he has obviously taken his chance in training. There can only be two goalies in for the training games so he may have been given a run in the forward line as has taken his chance... he's come up trumps."

Dardis certainly has. He scored 1-1 in wins over Kildare and Fermanagh, and another point off the bench against Clare, as Andy McEntee's side secured promotion to Division 1.

He was on the score-sheet again for Meath in the Division 2 final loss - as discussed by Ward and Colm Parkinson below - and it was one of the straightest pings you will ever see.

To view the point in all of its' glory, you can find it here, but let us give you a taste with some glorious stills of GAA poetry in motion.

(Photo by Ray McManus/Sportsfile)

There was some superb fan footage of the strike, into Hill 16, with the flags unfurling in the cobalt sky.

Dardis was not on free-taking duty for Meath, on the day, but he was beckoned over for a dint at the posts from distance. The connection was straight and true and the Summerhill clubman was confident he had got his side a point from the moment it left his boot.

You will see, from the last still, that Dardis was almost immediately running to get back into position to cover the Donegal kick-out. Andy McEntee could have done with getting another player to cover for him as he was over the far side of the pitch, but the player was not complaining.

He may have started the year as third-choice goalie but Meath have found themselves a handy forward there.

He could yet prove to be one of the inter-county finds of 2019.