Kevin O’Brien reports from O’Moore Park
THIS ONE WAS a good deal more convincing than their first round win over Offaly, as Meath brushed off the Carlow challenge to advance into the last four of Leinster.
The Royals play the winners of tomorrow’s Laois-Westmeath encounter in the semi-final, but they’ve got a bit of improving to do if they’re going to earn a place in their first provincial final since 2014.
Still, 2-18 was a decent score to put up against Carlow’s blanket defence. Mickey Newman, who stepped away for the 2018 season, put up 1-6 while they had a major impact from the bench.
Nippy corner-forwards Darragh Campion and James Conlon looked extremely lively after coming on, with the latter clipping over three points following his introduction on 65 minutes. The ever-reliable Graham Reilly played the final 20 minutes, scoring two points and winning the penalty that Newman saw saved by Robert Sansom.
Carlow, of course, were without the suspended manager Turlough O’Brien, coach Steven Poacher but more importantly Brendan Murphy.
The Barrowsiders employed their usual defensive system, putting 14 bodies behind the ball with John Murphy operating as a sweeper. Losing this one by 15 points suggests that their negative approach may need some tweaking if they’re to extend their summer beyond the first round of qualifiers.
Meath started well, racing into a four-point lead inside the opening 12 minutes. But the Royals started to make some sloppy handling errors, compounded by a lack of movement in attack.
Carlow lost their leading scorer Paul Broderick in the opening quarter, but three scores from Darragh Foley had them level by by the 24th minute. Meath, after enduring 14 minutes without scoring, posted a devastating 2-3 before the break to pretty much put the game to bed.
Both goals were well-worked moves through the hands that sliced through Carlow’s packed rearguard. The industrious Bryan McMahon and Keogan combined to set-up Newman’s green flag and two minutes later O’Sullivan laid the ball on a plate for Padraic Harnan to palm home.
Meath didn’t play overly well but still interval lead was nine points. Carlow paid the price for indiscipline early in the second period. Sean Murphy was red carded for striking Donal Keogan in full view of the referee and linesman.
Then both Daniel St Ledger and Eoghan Ruth – two of their most experienced players – received black cards for separate incidents to further hurt their chances.
Meath could have scored in three second-half goals but for a couple of late interventions, a missed penalty from Newman and Harnan’s disallowed goal for a square ball.
The Royals hit their stride in the final quarter, with Conlon, Reilly and Newman all helping them score six unanswered points as Carlow’s challenge badly faded.
Scorers for Meath: Michael Newman 1-6 (0-4f), James Conlon 0-3, Padraic Harnan 1-0, Graham Reilly, Bryan Menton and Ben Brennan (0-1f) 0-2 each, Adam Flanagan 0-1, Cillian O’Sullivan and Shane Gallagher 0-1 each.
Scorers for Carlow: Diarmuid Walshe 0-4 (0-2f), Darragh Foley 0-3 (0-1f), Sean Murphy, John Murphy and Eoghan Ruth 0-1 each.
1. Andrew Colgan (Donaghmore Ashbourne)
2. Seamus Lavin (St Peter’s, Dunboyne)
3. Conor McGill (Ratoath)
4. Shane Gallagher (Simonstown Gaels)
of the team
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6. Donal Keogan (Rathkenny)
20. Padraic Harnan (Magh nAilbhe)
7. Gavin McCoy (St Peter’s, Dunboyne)
8. Bryan Menton (Donaghmore Ashbourne)
9. Adam Flanagan (Clonard)
15. Thomas O’Reilly (Wolfe Tones)
11. Bryan McMahon (Ratoath)
12. Ben Brennan (St Colmcilles)
10. Cillian O’Sullivan (Moynalvey)
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22. Sean Tobin (Simonstown Gaels)
14. Michael Newman (Kilmainham)
13. Barry Dardis (Druim Samhradh) for O’Reilly (34)
23. Graham Reilly (St Colmcilles) for Tobin (50)
17. Ronan Ryan (Druim Samhraidh) for McCoy (55)
25. Darragh Campion (Scrin) for O’Sullivan (62)
18. James Conlon (St Colmcilles) for Brennan (61)
21. Ethan Devine (Na Fianna) for Menton (70)
1. Robert Sansom (Ballinabranna)
2. Liam Roberts (Kildavin/Clonegal)
3. Shane Redmond (Tinryland)
4. Conor Lawler (Palatine)
15. John Murphy (Grange)
5. Jordan Morrissey (Eire Og)
6. Daniel St Ledger (Kildavin/Clonegal)
7. Ciaran Moran (Palatine)
8. Sean Murphy (Fenagh)
9. Eoghan Ruth (Eire Og)
11. Sean Gannon (Eire Og)
14. Darragh Foley (Kilbride)
20. Conor Doyle (Rathvilly)
13. Paul Broderick (Tinryland)
10. Darragh O’Brien (Eire Og)
17. Brendan Kavanagh (Eire Og) for Lawlor (ht)
18. Conor Crowley (Palatine) for O’Brien (ht)
23. Jamie Clarke (Bagenalstown Gaels) for Gannon (38 – 40)
21. Danny Moran (Tinryland) for St Ledger (black card, 53)
22. John Murphy (Tinryland) for Ruth (black card, 60)
19. Darren Lunney (Ballinabranna) for Murphy (62)
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