Leinster MFC: Garden County seal semi-final berth

July 03, 2018

A view of the pitch at Joule Park, Aughrim.
©INPHO/Ken Sutton.

Wicklow have dumped Dublin out of the Leinster minor football championship by beating Meath in Aughrim tonight, 1-10 to 1-8.

By virtue of their stunning victory over the Dubs in Round Four last week, the Garden County were ahead of the Boys in Blue going into the final round of round-robin matches.

Before tonight's games, Meath had already qualified as the top team in Group 1 with a 100% record and made 12-changes to their starting line-up as a result, while - in order to claim the runners-up spot and a semi-final place - Dublin needed to win in Mullingar and hope that the Royals did them a favour in Aughrim.

Dublin duly smashed the Lake County but their victory was no use as late pointed frees from Eoin Darcy and Matthew Ging earned Wicklow a semi-final date with Group 2 table-toppers Kildare at Newbridge on Saturday.

The Garden County were within two points of Meath at the break, 0-5 to 0-3, with Ging slotting all three of their first-half points.

A Craig Maguire brace had Wicklow level shortly after the restart and Oisin Cullen's brilliant goal fired them ahead, 1-5 to 0-5, after Ben Fennell had pulled off a great save at the other end. The hosts were left cursing their luck when Darcy's strike hit the butt of the post and, within moments, the Royals were back in front thanks to a Niall Smullen goal halfway through the second half.

John Keogh made it 1-6 apiece with twelve minutes remaining and Ging cancelled out the next Meath point. When Darragh Swaine equalised, Shaun Cranley's superb point sent the Garden County back in front with only six minutes remaining. But visiting corner back Killian Price tied the scores up at 1-8 each on 57 minutes.

However, it was Wicklow's night. Meath were already through to the last four and they will face Laois in Portlaoise in their semi-final on Saturday.

Wicklow - B Fennell; F O'Carroll, S Kearney, T Moran; K Quinn, O Cullen (1-0), C Grimes; E Byrne, S Doody; A Barrett, C Maguire (0-2), J Keogh (0-1); M Ging (0-5, 3f), E Darcy (0-1f), A Foley. Subs: J Fleming Foran for A Barrett, S Cranley (0-1) for J Keogh, C McDonald for A Foley, D Lawlor for K Quinn, C McHugh for M Ging.

Meath - E Griffin; A Barrett, J Dardis, K Price (0-2); L Newe, C Harford, O McCloskey; A Reilly, K Hogan; A Treanor, C Hawdon (0-1), D Morgan; A Kelly, N Smullen (1-2), J Moore (0-2). Subs: C Hetherton for C Harford, S Martyn for A Kelly, N Bennett for A Reilly, D Carr for L Newe, D Swaine (0-1) for D Morgan, C Hegarty for C Hawdon.

Referee - J Hickey.

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