Longford held on to pick up their second O’Byrne Cup win in a week at Meath’s expense on a stormy evening in Ashbourne.
Football was far from the winner in this one as both teams combined for just 15 scores over the 70 minutes but, in the end, it was two accurate frees from Robbie Smyth in the closing 10 minutes that made the difference for the Midlanders.
The visitors made a blistering start in the difficult conditions to open up a five-point lead before Meath eventually opened up their account on 26 minutes.
Ben Brennan brought the Royals right into contention on the eve of half-time with a well-taken goal, leaving it at 0-6 to 1-2 when the sides went in at the break.
Sean Tobin’s point levelled the tie early in the restart and Andy McEntee’s men were in front once Graham Reilly sailed over a 43rd minute free.
Longford rallied back though to level and lead and put their faith in Smyth, who finished with a 0-8 total and obliged with back-to-back frees in the 51st and 53rd minutes which proved just enough as the final score from Reilly proved too little, too late for the hosts.
Longford - P Collum; D Quinn, B O’Farrell, S Donohoe; C P Smyth (0-1), M Quinn, D Mimnagh; D Gallagher, P Hanley; N Rabbitte, R McEntire, B McKeon; I O’Sullivan, A Farrell, R Smyth (0-8, 5f). Subs: C Lee for I O'Sullivan, M Hughes for R McEntire, C Shields for A Farrell, J Hagan for S Donohoe.
Meath - A Beakey; T McGovern, S Glynn, S Gallagher; E Lynch, G McCoy, R Garry; D Quinn, O McDonnell; S Tobin (0-1), L Ferguson, N Hickey; B Brennan (1-2, 0-1f, 0-1'45), G Reilly (0-2, 1f), D McGowan. Subs: M Brennan for A Beakey, S Reilly for G McCoy, R Clarke for S Gallagher, C Devlin for L Ferguson, B Menton for E Lynch.
Referee - A Coyne.