Meath never in any trouble
PLAYING with skill and verve in appalling conditions Meath were never in trouble in this relegation battle at Ballycran.
The visitors took advantage of the strong first half breeze to pile up an imposing 1-9 to 0-3 lead, and hurled even more impressively into the elements to leave Down totally demoralised long before the end.
This was over as a contest by the 40th minute as Meath had added three points to their half time lead, and Down had lost their most inspirational player, Noel Sands. The Down midfielder was dismissed for a retaliatory foul by referee Delaney, his plight an eloquent expression of the home side's frustration.
Apart from Noel Keith and Sands the only Down player to make an impact was Gary Savage whose spectacular second half goal offered home fans a brief flicker of hope.
Apart from that it was all Meath. Martin Ennis, Paul Donnelly and Martin Smith excelled in the first half with David Martin's accuracy yielding seven points from frees and play. But despite that 1-9 to 0-3 lead it was really in the second half that Meath played their best hurling. Benny Murray, Pat Potterton and Nicky Cole were all prominent.