Royals take command while Wexford are left kicking themselves again
Leinster SFC semi-final: Meath 0-18 Wexford 0-13
Reilly moves so fluidly in possession that it can look like he isn’t actually covering the ground with any blinding velocity. But he was a constant irritant to Wexford here and he ended the day with four points from play. His first two after the break sandwiched three Newman frees and pushed Meath 0-12 to 0-10 ahead.
They were well on top by this stage, with Conor Gillespie steadily taking hold at midfield. The Wexford defence was second to everything and couldn’t help but give away kickable frees as a result. Of the nine frees Newman kicked in the game, seven came in that second half as the traffic flowed in one direction only.
Ciarán Lyng nearly got Wexford back in the fight with a single punch, stinging O’Rourke’s palms with a shot on the hour. The Meath keeper tipped his effort over the bar however to preserve their lead, 0-13 to 0-12. Within two minutes, it was out to three as Newman and Reilly kicked for home. Stephen Bray added the cherry as the clock ran down.
“In the first half we took bad options,” sighed Aidan O’Brien afterwards. “In second half we dropped balls to the keeper. Paddy O’Rourke saw a lot of the game there because we took wild shots. In a few instances, we gave poor quality ball to front men. You can’t do that.”
And don’t Wexford know it. Another year, another kick in the unmentionables. The qualifiers can’t look overly attractive to them now.
MEATH: P O’Rourke; D Keoghan, K Reilly, B Menton; P Harnan, C King, S Kenny; B Meade, C Gillespie; P Byrne (0-2), D Carroll, G Reilly (0-4); E Wallace (0-1), S Bray (0-1), M Newman (0-9, all frees). Subs: C Lenihan for King (41 mins), J Sheridan for Wallace (48 mins), P Gilsenan for Byrne (52 mins), A Tormey for Meade (59 mins), B McMahon for Reilly (70 mins).
WEXFORD: A Masterson; M Furlong, G Molloy, R Tierney; B Malone (0-2), D Murphy, A Flynn (0-1); D Waters, R Quinlivan; S Roche, B Brosnan (0-3, 0-2 frees), A Doyle; C Lyng (0-5, 0-3 frees), R Barry (0-1), PJ Banville (0-1). Subs: L Chin for Tierney (15-18 mins), C Carthy for Molloy (30-33 mins), J Holmes for Doyle, P Byrne for Roche (both 53 mins) K Gore for Banville (59 mins), C Carthy for Quinlivan (66 mins), K O’Grady for Brosnan (69 mins).
Referee: Maurice Deegan (Laois).