Cork see off Meath to rekindle hopes of promotion
The visitors always had the edge over their old rivals in this Division 2 encounter
Cork’s Colm O’Neill led the way as they beat Meath in their Allianz League Division 2 encounter in Navan. Photo: Inpho
Cork 2-16 Meath 1-15
Cork not only eased themselves away from the relegation zone but also boosted their chances of a return to top tier football following this merited win over their old rivals at Pairc Tailteann on Sunday.
With both teams in dire need of victory the game was hard fought throughout with the Leesiders having the edge in most areas of the pitch but especially attack where the outstanding Colm O’Neill led the line brilliantly, contributing 1-6 of his side’s tally.
Little behind him was Mark Collins with seven points while the third member of the full forward line John O’Rourke hit 1-1.
Boosted by O’Rourke’s goal Cork led 1-4 to 0-2 after 11 minutes and they had five points to spare at the break, leading 1-9 to 0-7. Meath reduced the deficit to the minimum at one stage in that opening half but erratic finishing ensured that they failed to gain parity.
The hosts started the second half much brighter but they always found it much more difficult to make the opening for scores.
Entering the final quarter Cork held a six point advantage before a brief Meath rally resulted in points for Cillian O’Sullivan and Donal Lenihan.
However any hopes that Meath might make it an interesting finish disappeared when veteran keeper David Gallagher attempted a short kick-out which was intercepted by O’Rourke. He fed the lethal O’Neill who blasted to the net to put the game beyond doubt.
Meath did have a consolation goal in the fifth minute of added time when corner back Seamus Lavin blasted to the net.
Minutes earlier Meath’s Brian Power was shown a second yellow card while Cork’s Mark Collins saw black following a brief melee involving several players.
This latest defeat for the Meath men leaves them staring at relegation and they face a must win game against neighbours Louth in Drogheda on Sunday.
CORK: M White; K Flahive, J O’Sullivan, K Crowley; T Clancy, B O’Driscoll, M Taylor (0-1); I Maguire, C O’Hanlon; K O’Driscoll, S White (0-1), R Deane; M Collins (0-7, 0-4f) , C O’Neill (1-6, 0-2f), J O’Rourke (1-1).
Subs: M McSweeney for Deane (39), C Dorman for B O’Driscoll (39), M Hurley for S White (62), C Kiely for Crowley (66, black card), D O’Connor for O’Neill (70), P Kelleher for K O’Driscoll (70). Collins (black card 76, not replaced).
MEATH: D Gallagher; S Lavin (1-0), C McGill, Donal Keogan; M Burke, B Power, S McEntee; B Menton, B Conlon; G Reilly (0-3), B Brennan (0-1 0-1f), J McEntee (0-1); C O’Sullivan (0-4, 0-2f), T O’Reilly (0-2), Donal Lenihan (0-4, 0-4f).
Subs: H Rooney for Burke (31), E Wallace for Brennan (54), S Tobin for O’Reilly (62), P McKeever for Lenhihan (65), B McMahon for Shane McEntee (69).
Referee: Sean Hurson (Tyrone).