Joe McDonagh Cup: Laois outclass Meath to survive

June 09, 2018

Meath's Adam Gannon looks to block Charles Dwyer of Laois

Laois 3-23 
Meath 0-14

Laois secured their Joe McDonagh Cup status with an emphatic win over Meath at Pairc Tailteann on Saturday afternoon. 

Eamon Kelly's men started to put distance between the sides in the second quarter and outscored Meath by 2-10 to 0-7 in the second-half when both teams doubled their first-half tallies. 

The outcome in the final batch of round robin fixtures saw Laois leap frog Antrim in the final table thereby consigning the Glensmen to the relegation play-off with the Ring Cup winners. 

Laois posted their second win of the five-match campaign, that included an earlier win away to Antrim. 

A fifth defeat of the campaign demotes Meath to the Ring Cup - now the third tier competition. Meanwhile, Laois finish their year with their status intact. 

Nine different players were on the Laois scoresheet. Two goals late on added further gloss to the visitors' win. Midfielder Patrick Purcell grabbed the second when the sliotar broke behind the Meath rearguard and the Rathdowney-Errill men netted with ease. 

Ben Conroy added the third in stoppage time from close range bringing his tally to 1-5 from play. That came after sub Eanna Lyons pointed. Ross King posted six points from play and placed balls before departing with a knock. 

Laois finished with 18 wides while goalkeeper Shane McGann was Meath's best performer on the day. The home side chalked up 11 wides. 

Meath had the breeze coming from the town end in the first-half. The underdogs stayed in touch with Laois in the opening 25 minutes. A Jack Regan point left them 0-2 to 0-1 in front after four minutes. 

Shane McGann excelled in his efforts to keep the visitors at bay. The Kiltale man saved well from Ryan Mullaney in the 19th minute, following a strong solo run by Ben Conroy.

Four minutes later McGann was to Meath's rescue again, saving a Neil Foyle strike before Charles Dwyer sent the rebound wide. Laois were very wasteful in the opening quarter, going on to hit eight wides in the first 35 minutes. 

Meath chalked up five wides in the lead-in to half-time leaving Laois 1-13 to 0-7 ahead at the break. 

Laois - Enda Rowland; Joe Phelan, Leigh Bergin, Podge Lawlor; Lee Cleere , Matthew Whelan, Ryan Mullaney (0-1); Patrick Purcell (1-2), James Ryan; Charles Dwyer (1-3), Ben Conroy (1-5), Willie Dunphy (0-2); Stephen Maher (0-2 1f), Neil Foyle (0-1), Ross King (C) (0-6, 3 fs, 2 65s). Subs - Colm Stapleton for Ryan (25), Mark Kavanagh for King (48), Mark Dowling for Foyle (60), Ciaran Comerford for Maher (66), Eanna Lyons (0-1) for Mullaney (66)

Meath - Shane McGann; Shane Brennan, Sean Geraghty, Darragh Kelly; Joe Keena, Damien Healy, Keith Keoghan; David Conneely, Alan Douglas; Cathal McCabe (0-1), James Kelly (C) (0-4), Paddy Conneely (0-4 2fs); Stephen Morris (0-1), Adam Gannon, Jack Regan (0-3, 1f). Subs -  James Toher (0-1) for Healy (26), Niall Weir for D Conneely (47), Mark O'Sullivan for McCabe (60), Michael O'Grady for Gannon (65), 

Referee - Peter Burke (Kilkenny)

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