Ryan Bell halts Meath comeback for share of the spoils
Derry substitute scores a free to earn a draw at Owenbeg after an end-to-end encounter
Meath did well to claim a crucial point in Derry, as they look to avoid relegation to Division Three. Photograph: Inpho
An injury time free from substitute Ryan Bell, with the last kick of the game, earned Derry a draw against Meath at Owenbeg.
The home side had led by four points mid-way through the second half, and playing with a strong breeze, looked to be cruising to victory. However, you write Meath off at your peril and Mick O’Dowd’s side hit five consecutive scores to lead by one in injury time. With time almost up, Derry rallied one last time before Bell’s point gave the Oakleafers a share of the spoils.
In an open and enjoyable game, where the lead changed hands seven times before the two sides eventually couldn’t be separated, the visitors ran in a point up at half-time with the scoreboard reading 1-6 to 2-4. A brace of points apiece from Mark Lynch and James Kielt gave Derry an early 0-4 to 0-2 lead by the 10th minute.
Micky Newman then scored the first goal of the game for the Royals, pouncing on a long high ball to give his side a one point advantage. Derry responded and Daniel Heavron scored their first goal of the afternoon when he dispatched his effort low and hard into the back of Conor McHugh’s net.
Again Meath replied and again it was a goal, this time Andrew Tormey finding the back of the Derry net to give his side a narrow first half lead.
Back to back Benny Heron frees gave Derry a four point cushion by the 57th minute, but after that Meath dominated, and three consecutive points from Dalton McDonagh and another from Tormey edged the Royals ahead with time almost up.
However, Derry showed immense character to battle back valiantly, and when Christopher Bradley was hauled down close to the Meath goal, Ryan Bell assured a point for his side with the resulting free.
DERRY: T Mallon, O Duffy, C McKaigue, K McKaigue, G McKinless, B Rogers, D Heavron, C McAtamney, M Lynch 0-2 (1f), J Kielt 0-4 (2f), C Bradley 0-2, B Heron 0-3 (2f), S Heavron, E McGuckin, S L McGoldrick.
Subs: N Forester for D Heavron (BS 14 mins), N Loughlin 1-0 for S Heavron (26 mins), R Bell 0-1 for Loughlin (BC 49 mins), C O’Boyle for McGuckin (49 mins), C Murphy for Kielt (57 mins), E Bradley for Lynch (70 mins)
MEATH: C McHugh, D Keogan, C McGill, M Burke, S Lavin, C Finn, D Tobin, H Rooney, P Harnan, S Tobin 0-2 (0-1f), C O’Sullivan, J McEntee, D Lenihan, A Tormey 1-1, M Newman 1-6 (0-2f).
Subs: D Smith for Lavin (22 mins), D McDonagh 0-3 for Lenihan (26 mins), C O’Brien for D Tobin (47 mins), C Downey for S Tobin (52 mins), A Douglas for C Finn (55 mins)
Referee: S McLaughlin (Donegal)