O’Byrne Cup: Meath see off Wexford to reach semi-finals
Longford will join Andy McEntee’s side in the last four after their draw with Louth
Bryan Menton captained Meath to victory over Wexford to reach the semi-finals of the O’Byrne Cup. Photo: Inpho
Meath advanced to the last four of the Bord na Móna O’Byrne Cup after defeating Wexford by 1-20 to 1-13 in their Group 3 encounter in St Patrick’s Park, Enniscorthy on Saturday afternoon.
The visitors progress to a semi-final clash against Dublin next Saturday evening with their pivotal score arriving in the 56th minute as Seán Tobin netted for the Royals.
It was Andy McEntee’s team that made the brighter start as Niall Kane landed a brace of points inside the opening five minutes before Wexford opened their account through a Jonathan Bealin free.
Points from Thomas O’Reilly and captain Bryan Menton restored Meath’s two point advantage but the hosts replied in kind through Bealin and Niall Hughes to help level matters by the 30th minute.
However, Meath finished the half in the ascendancy with a brace from Michael Newman and an Adam Flanagan effort pushing them 0-9 to 0-5 ahead by the break.
Points from O’Reilly and Ben Brennan maintained Meath’s momentum upon the restart and although Cathal Devereux and Kevin O’Grady replied for Wexford, the visitors pushed further ahead through scores from Newman and substitute Graham Reilly.
Tobin’s goal after the three quarter mark effectively settled the issue for a Meath team that impressed through the running of centre-forward Darragh Campion.
Wexford were rewarded for their perseverance through a smartly-taken goal from Donal Shanley late on but Meath finished strongly as late points by James McEntee and Tobin helped confirm a comfortable seven point victory.
At Glennon Brothers Pearse Park, Longford did just enough to ensure their semi-final spot as they withstood a brave late comeback from Louth to draw 1-16 apiece and finish top of Group 2.
The hosts impressed in the first-half with early points from the lively Robbie Smyth and Peter Lynn reflecting their control although their momentum was stalled briefly as Louth found the net through Tadhg McEneaney at the end of the first quarter.
However, a goal from Lynn in the 27th minute re-established Longford’s control with late points from Darren Gallagher and Smyth pushing the hosts 1-12 to 1-6 clear by half-time.
Points from Conal McKeever, Sam Milroy, Ronan Holcroft and Declan Byrne added life to the Louth comeback and they ensured a deserved share of the spoils following late points by Ross Nally and Byrne.
The afternoon’s remaining match saw Carlow edge past Offaly by 3-12 to 2-14 in their dead-rubber clash at Netwatch Cullen Park.