Leinster MHC: Meath edge Wicklow

April 12, 2014

Meath's Ross Ryan is under pressure from Wicklow's Stephen Cruise and aaron Kinsella during the Leinster MHC game at Pairc Tailteann. TO VIEW A SELECTION OF PHOTOGRAPHS FOR THIS GAME CLICK HERE
MEATH 3-15

In a game dominated by converted frees, Meath outscored Wicklow in the opening round of the Leinster MHC at Pairc Tailteann to advance to meet Wexford or Dublin.

The small attendance had to wait until 10 minutes into the second half to witness the first point from open play and the visitors left, having registered only such score.

Remarkably there were nearly as many goals as points from play (six to seven) and Meath's chief marksman Josh Wall and his Wicklow counterpart Paul O'Brien kept note-takers most busy.

The home side got off to a bright beginning with Dunderry clubman Alex Walsh taking a pass from Ronan Ryan and firing to the net at the hospital end inside two points.

The first of seven converted frees by Wall increased the advantage but Wicklow, favoured by the breeze, moved into the driving seat with a brace of goals near the end of the opening quarter.

After 12 minutes Seanie Greenan finished a centre from Bill Moorehouse to the net to leave the board reading 1-3 to 1-2 and a second goal by the side in blue and gold followed immediately.

Tiernan Mellon fired the second goal and a brace of converted frees from O'Brien left Wicklow six points to the good. It was 2-5 to 1-5 at the break after Wall slotted over two more frees and in between Charlie Bird drove over a 65, having had a goal attempt from a close-in free blocked out.

On the restart it only took Meath four minutes to get the deficit down to the minimum with another brace from Wall and their prospects of winning were enhanced on 35 minutes when Wicklow wing-forward Enda O'Donoghue was shown a straight red card following an incident in the middle of the pitch.

Ross Ryan had the honour of shooting the first point from play to level matters and Bird edged the eventual winners back into the lead. However, to their credit, the Garden county lads battled bravely after being reduced to 14 players.

Meath were four points to the good at the three-quarter stage, Conor Kearney netting their third goal on 44 minutes and Liam Carey increasing the advantage to five.

Wicklow struck for a third Wicklow goal early in the final quarter when slack defending allowed Padraig Doyle score before O'Brien left the minimum margin in it, 2-11 to 3-7.

Moorehouse sent over the visitors' only point from play but substitute Mark Slevin more or less clinched the home success with the game's sixth goal. The bar will be raised a bit for Meath in their next outing.

Meath: S Quigley; N O'Sullivan, L Swaine, C Dempsey; D Brogan, C Bird (0-2, 65 and free), J Payne; L Moran, L Martyn; J Wall (0-7, 7 frees), Ronan Ryan (0-1), C Kearney (1-0); A Walsh (1-0), Ross Ryan (0-3), L Carey (0-1). Subs: J Bird for O'Sullivan (16), M Slevin (1-1) for Moran (46).

Wicklow: C Geraghty; A Kinsella, S Cruise, S Moloney; C McCrea, P Conroy. E McCormack; A Hughes, P Doyle (1-0); A Kavanagh, T Mellon (1-0), E O'Donoghue; P O'Brien (0-8, 8 frees), S Germaine (1-0), B Moorehouse (0-1). Subs: M Gimbert for Moloney (46), C O'Doherty for Germaine (55).

Referee: A Devine (Westmeath).

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