Meath 2-8 Wexford 0-9
Meath went into this Leinster final the favourites...favourites to lose!!
All of the pundits had Meath the underdogs, having lost to Wexford heavily in the League and narrowly in the Championship Wexford were odds on favourites to win the Leinster Intermediate title at Dr. Cullen Park.
On the basis of the first half of the game that looked likely. Meath opened the scoring with a point from Niamh O'Sullivan. Good play from Emma White and Emma Troy cleared ball to allow interplay from Stacey Grimes, Aoibhin Cleary and Kate Byrne which resulted in O'Sullivans point. Wexford were strong in attack and Troy pulled off a great block in front of the Meath goal.
Perfert control from Meath's Aoibhin Cleary against Wexford at Dr. Cullen Park
Wexford pointed, Meath backs piled huge pressure on the Wexford forwards. Indeed the backs were relentless in their pressure keeping Wexford out of goal scoring chances. Aoibhin Cleary worked tirelessly in the back, along with Aideen Guy, Niamh Gallogly the afore mentioned Troy and White.
Wexford hit two more points and looked to be gaining momentum. Meath replied with a point from Fiona O'Neill. Great interplay between player of the match Megan Thynne and Gallogly was a pleasure to watch. Wexford then hit three unanswered points to end the half with a six point to two lead. Missed opportunities in front of goal and nervous handling on the ball left Meath short by 4 points. Indeed it could have been a lot worse if Wexford had converted some of their chances in front of goal.
The second half was a different affair. Meath came out of the blocks fighting, a game of two halves if you like!
Vicky Wall was superb in defence. Her commitment strong! Grimes linked up with Marion Farrell to create Meaths 1st goal. Farrelly hit the net to the delight of the Meath supporters. Game on!!! Two points for Wexford, followed by a great point for Cleary from the Meath kickout.
Meath captain Niamh O'Sullivan receives the Leinster IFC Cup from Finbarr O Driscoll Leinster Council President.
Wexford missed a goal chance, a point for Meath and another for Wexford; at this stage it had turned into a pulsating game. Meath missed a goal chance but another point over for O'Sullivan drew the sides level.
Niamh Lister came on for Orla Byrne who had worked tirelessly throughout the game. A great block by Wall led to Thynne hitting the back of the net for the Royals.
Meath ahead!! A dramatic point by Farrelly and another by Gallogly added to the lead. Aideen Guy, Troy and Cleary stopped the Wexford forwards in their tracks. Meath were surging forward and Wexford didn't seem to have an answer.
Meath keeper Orlagh McLaughlin pulled off a fine save from a point blank shot after Wexford had put the ball behind the Meath backs.
Meath ladies celebrate at Dr. Cullen Park
Katie Newe replaced Fiona O'Neill in a tactical switch.
A last minute point for Farrelly and the Meath supporters were ecstatic.
As Des McEnery blew the final whistle there were tears of joy both on and off the pitch. Seventeen long years of waiting for an adult title had finally come to an end. Meath were Leinster Intermediate Champions!
Meath: Orlagh McLaughlin, Aideen Guy, Emma White, Aoibhin Cleary(0-1), Emma Troy, Vikki Wall, Niamh Gallogly(0-1), Maire O'Shaughnessy, Kate Byrne, Megan Thynne(1-00), Niamh O'Sullivan(0-3) (C), Orla Byrne, Stacey Grimes, Marion Farrelly(1-02), Fiona O'Neill(0-1). Subs: Niamh Lister for O. Byrne, Katie Newe for O'Neill.
Wexford: S Merrigan; N Mernagh, M Cullen, S Harding-Kenny; C Donnelly (0-1), R Murphy, M Doyle; B Breen, K Kearney (0-1); N Butler, C Murray (0-1), S Cloake (0-1); A Murphy, F Rochford (0-3), R Bennett (0-2). Subs: C Martin for Cloake 43 mins, A Sheil for Butler 54m, M Quill for Doyle
What's next for Meath?
Meath go into the TG4 All Ireland quarter final by virtue of the fact of being Leinster Champions. After last week's TG4/LGFA draw in the Preliminary Round Limerick will play Wicklow. The winners of this play Clare, the winners of that game will then play Meath on the weekend of August 12/13th. More details on that to follow.
After all the excitement of this weekend the Minors will play Roscommon in the All Ireland Semi Final. This will take place on Saturday July 15th at 1.30pm in Kinnegad, Co. Westmeath.