Meath blitz wasteful Down to reignite promotion hopes

Table-toppers spurned the chance of automatic promotion from Division Two

Down’s Damian Turley with Meath’s Eamon Wallace. Photo: Jonathan Porter/Inpho

Down’s Damian Turley with Meath’s Eamon Wallace. Photo: Jonathan Porter/Inpho

 

Down 0-10 Meath 2-11

Meath boosted their promotion hopes with a resounding away victory on Saturday night which derailed Down in Pairc Esler.

Goals in the last quarter from half-time substitute Bryan Menton, who scored 1-2 from play in the second half, and Padraic Harnan clinched a valuable win for the Royals.

Down spurned the chance of automatic promotion from Division Two with a very flat display. They created plenty of chances, but fifteen wides and numerous other wasted opportunities means they must now beat Laois at home next week to secure top flight status.

“We’re delighted with the second half, and the overall display to be honest, because we knew what was on offer tonight,” said Meath manager Mick O’Dowd. “It means Easter Sunday is a big game for a lot of counties, some are fighting for promotion and others are fighting to avoid relegation, and we’re now in the mix for promotion.”

After an error-strewn first half by both teams, Meath were 0-6 to 0-4 ahead, with five different players on the scoresheet, whereas Down didn’t register a point from play until Darragh O’Hanlon’s point in the 33rd minute.

The Royals excelled against the wind in the second half and three subs combined for their opening and decisive goal after 56 minutes, with Menton’s composed, low finish putting them 1-8 to 0-7 ahead. Down subs Caolan Mooney and Jerome Johnston scored from play but Padraic Harnan palmed the ball to the net after 68 minutes, after Down failed to clear the danger, to complete a well-deserved win for Meath.

DOWN: S Kane; G Collins, L Howard, D Turley; P Devlin (0-3, 2f), D O’Hanlon (0-1), C Maginn; P Turley, R Mallon; C McGovern, K McKernan (0-2), M Poland; C Laverty, A McConville, D O’Hare (0-2, 2f)

Subs: R Johnston for Maginn (44), C Mooney (0-1) for McConville (44), J Johnston (0-1) for Poland (BC, 47), B McArdle for P Turley (59)

MEATH: P O’Rourke (0-1, ‘45’); D Tobin, C Magill, D Keogan; M Burke, K Reilly, B Power; C Gillespie (0-1), A Flanagan; G Reilly, P Harnan (1-1), J McEntee; E Wallace (0-1), S O’Rourke (0-1), M O’Sullivan (0-3, 3f)

Subs: B Menton (1-2) for K Reilly (HT), M Newman for S O’Rourke (HT), D Dalton for Power (BC, 54), S Bray for Wallace (55), J Wallace (0-1) for O’Sullivan (62), S Tobin for Gillespie (70)

Referee: Barry Cassidy (Derry).

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