Michael Newman’s accuracy central to Meath
Laois lose way in second-half and left to rue late missed chances
Michael Newman’s proficiency from placed balls was central to Meath’s victory over Laois on Saturday evening.
The full forward accounted for six of Meath’s total in Portlaoise, two 45s, three frees and one from play.
But this crucial win for the Royals was not just all about Newman.
Once they got into their stride, albeit not until the second half, they did look the sharper and more accurate in front of goal.
From Laois’ perspective this was probably the more disappointing aspect of their game in so far as they shot three crucial wides in the dying minutes when going in search of the win.
Meath started the sharper, shooting two early points but they were playing deep, allowing Laois to come to them and they paid the price.
Laois made good use of the open spaces when sweeping forward in waves.
In an 11-minute period Laois took control shooting six unanswered points to lead by four 19 minutes in.
Meath rallied to reduce the gap back down to the bare minimum but they were stopped in their tracks when Laois wing back Colm Begley’s route to goal was illegally halted and Ross Munnelly slotted the resultant penalty to the corner of the net.
A Munnelly free gave Laois a deserved 1-7 to 0-5 half-time lead.
Having gone in at half-time five points in arrears, Meath took over in the second half.
They went on to outscore the hosts by seven points to one over the next 25 minutes with Newman, O’Rourke and Bryan McMahon on target.
Laois rallied somewhat in the dying minutes and with their substitutes Evan O’Carroll and MJ Tierney finding the target.
But whatever hope Laois had of snatching a win evaporated when Patrick O’Rourke did well to deny Colm Begley from close range.
MEATH: P O’Rourke; D Keogan, K Reilly, M Burke; S Curran, E Harrington, D Carroll; B Menton (0-1), S O’Rourke (0-4); D Tobin, D McDonagh, A Tormey (0-1); B McMahon (0-1), S Bray, M Newman (0-6, 0-3 frees, 0-2 45s). Subs: D Bray (0-1) for McDonagh (46 mins), P Harnan for Curran (46 mins), G Reilly (0-1) for Tobin (56 mins).
LAOIS: G Brody; D Booth, M Timmons, P McMahon; D Strong (0-2), P Begley, C Begley; J O’Loughlin, K Meaney; D Conway, C Meredith, B Sheehan, R Munnelly (1-2, 1-0 pen, 0-2 frees), D Kingston (0-3, 0-1 free), G Walsh (0-1, free). Subs: D Booth for Timmons (inj, 49 mins), J Finn for Conway (53 mins), MJ Tierney (0-1) for Munnelly (59 mins), E O’Carroll (0-1) for Walsh (61 mins), A Ryan for Sheehan (68 mins).
Referee: Michael Collins (Cork)