19 June 2013
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Leinster SFC: Royals outmuscle Carlow
16 June 2012
Cian Ward of Meath turns Carlow's Padraig Murphy during the Leinster SFC quarter-final replay at Tullamore ©INPHO/Cathal Noonan
Meath made no mistake, hammering Carlow by 2-21 to 1-9 in this replay at Tullamore.
This time, there were no doubts as Seamus McEnaney's charges crushed the life out of their hapless opponents in the second quarter and eased to the winning line thereafter.
Carlow led by 0-4 to 0-3 after 17 minutes but the winners cranked up a couple of gears and reeled off 1-8 without reply to take a commanding 1-11 to 0-4 interval advantage.
Brian Farrell knocked over five first-half points (and eight in total) while effective substitute Peadar Byrne registered a brace of goals, one in either half. When Meath stepped it up, Carlow were simply unable to go with them...
Playing with the stiff breeze at their backs in the first half, the Royals started the game as 1/9 favourites and they got off to a flier as Graham Reilly pointed them into the lead after just ten seconds. But 7/1 outsiders Carlow had received a huge pre-match boost as inspirational midfielder Brendan Murphy passed a late fitness test and took his place in the underdogs' starting XV.
Eoin Ruth replied to Reilly's opener with a Carlow wide and Alan Forde was also wide at the other end before JJ Smith levelled the scores from a free won by Brendan Murphy.
Cian Ward's free got lost in the swirling breeze for Meath's second wide and a foul on Barrowside full forward Sean Gannon presented Brian Murphy with the lead point from a Carlow free: 0-2 to 0-1.
Farrell (free) floated over his ninth championship point of the year to tie the scores up for the second time but wing back Kieran Nolan got on the end of a flowing Carlow move to restore his team's slender advantage. During the early exchanges, Carlow were loading midfield and were giving as good as they got.
A brilliant left-footed point from in-form Nobber clubman Farrell levelled the scores for the third time but his fellow attacker Reilly was uncharacteristically off-target as the light started to fade early at the midlands venue (where there are no floodlights).
Smith collected and dispatched a quick free - dubiously awarded - to put Carlow in front for the third time at the end of the first quarter - 0-4 to 0-3 - and 'Banty' made an early substitution, introducing Peadar Byrne in place of injured midfielder Brian Meade.
Farrell curled over a free that had been moved forward for backchat and Trevor O'Reilly made a wonderful block between the Carlow posts to deny Joe Sheridan a Meath goal; Ward made no mistake from the resultant '45': 0-5 to 0-4 to the favourites after 21 minutes.
The Royal County were on top now but gallant defending repelled their next attack before debutant Damien Carroll hit Meath's fourth wide. Conor Gillespie made no such mistake as he doubled the differential with a classy finish from 45 metres.
Farrell exchanged passes with Sheridan - catching Carlow cold with a quick free - before slotting over his fourth point and Sheridan was again the provider as his pass sent Byrne clear and the Ballinlough clubman made no mistake as he hammered the ball to the net to put daylight between the teams: 1-7 to 0-4.
Meath looked to have added another goal only for Reilly's shot to rebound lucklessly off the crossbar but Carlow couldn't clear their lines and Carroll fired over an eighth point for the winners, who now led by seven. What had happened to Luke Dempsey's men after their encouraging opening 15 minutes?
Rattled by Meath's physicality and purpose, the outsiders missed a couple of presentable opportunities before the end of the first half while Forde added another score for the free-flowing Royals, who had found their rhythm and suddenly looked something like the Meath of old.
After Ward's ambitious effort went wide, corner back Brian Menton rallied forward for a fabulous point which was followed by a great Farrell free from a difficult angle to leave ten between them at the short whistle.
There was no respite upon the restart as Sheridan again bore down on goal; yet again, Meath were out of luck as the attacker's goal effort rebounded back off the woodwork. A minute later, Reilly grabbed his second point to make it 1-9 without reply.
Midfielder Darragh Foley replied with a stunning point from way out the field for the losers and O'Reilly made another important save to thwart Menton, who tried to slide a shot under the Carlow custodian's body.
Reilly was happy enough to take his point as the rampant Royals moved twelve points clear and the No.12 stroked over his second successive score: 1-15 to 0-5 with 25 meaningless minutes left. The Meath players were now playing for their places in the forthcoming provincial semi-final against either Kildare or Offaly.
Fisting over, Forde was the latest Meath player to take his point even though he was one-on-one with the goalkeeper and relatively-unworked Royal goalie David Gallagher had to be alert to divert Smith's stinging shot over the bar.
With the game long since over as a contest, Carlow substitute Keith Jackson finished a brilliant move with a stunning consolation goal, but that man Farrell replied instantly with another excellent point: 1-17 to 1-7.
Carlow hit a couple of late wides before Smith (free) tapped over his fifth.
It went from bad to worse for the losers in the closing minutes as substitute Jamie Queeney pointed before a poor kick-out by O'Reilly immediately gifted Byrne his second three-pointer.
Gallagher tipped a Brendan Murphy shot over the bar but Farrell replied with two more late scores to complete a virtuoso individual display.
Hard to believe these two sides drew last weekend.
Meath: D Gallagher; D Keoghan, K Reilly, M Burke; D Tobin, S McAnarney, B Menton (0-1); G Reilly (0-4), C Gillespie (0-1); A Forde (0-2), D Carroll (0-2), B Meade; B Farrell (0-8), J Sheridan, C Ward (0-1). Subs: P Byrne (2-0), E Harrington, J Queeney (0-2), C O'Connor, M Collins.
Carlow: T O'Reilly; P Murphy, C Lawlor, B Kavanagh; K Nolan (0-1), S Redmond, T Bolger; Brendan Murphy (0-1), D Foley (0-1); Brian Murphy (0-1), C Murphy, E Ruth; JJ Smith (0-5), S Gannon, C Walshe. Subs: B Lambe, K Jackson (1-0), BJ Molloy, L Shepard, P McElligott.
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