Renewed Meath overpower a disappointing Donegal

 

FIELDING 10 of their All Ireland winning side, six of them back for their first game since suspension arising from that final, Meath overpowered a disappointing Donegal yesterday at Ballybofey.

While the Donegal selectors were hampered by suspension and injuries, manager P J McGowan conceded that although their players were good enough, "They took the wrong option once too often".

Meath, by contrast, played simple, direct football. Tommy Dowd, although the only Meath forward not to score, had a major, influence on the pattern of play. John McDermott, who had taken over from Dowd as team captain, was equally impressive, with his fetching power providing ample possession for forwards who proved eager and able.

Starting brightly, Meath led by three points to no score, but Donegal were level at 0-4 each by the 25th minute. Points late in the half from Nigel Nestor and Oliver Murphy gave Meath a 0-6 to 0-4 half time lead.

Indeed, but for a splendid save after 17 minutes by Conor Martin, Meath despite their superiority might well have been behind at the break.

Playing into the sun, the visitors led by double scores after 39 minutes and responded to the surprise introduction of Donegal's Martini Gavigan with four fine points.

Graham Geraghty, Nestor, Evan Kelly and the accurate Giles - who scored five points from frees - all found the target to end whatever slight doubt remained about the outcome, and this with 10 minutes to play.

What is less clear now is how, Donegal, facing possible relegation for the first time from Division One, will respond to their predicament.

. The Limerick County Board must wait for another two weeks before knowing if they can proceed with their £200,000 sponsorship package with the MidWestern Health Board.

Both parties entered into agreement six weeks ago but were stalled by Croke Park who wanted further information. It is proposed that the slogan - Drug Free - Cul" be emblazoned on all county hurling teams' gear.

Three members of the county board travelled to Dublin on Saturday to meet with the GAA's management committee and after they had given a presentation of their sponsorship deal they were told that the final decision rested with Central Council who would be meeting on February 15th.