Gavin McGowan marked his debut at this level with a brace of goals boosting Meath to a Ring Cup round one win over Wicklow at Trim on Saturday afternoon
Meath ...... 3-18
Wicklow ...... 2-12
The Ratoath man finished with 2-2 from play to his credit as Martin Ennis' charges eased into the quarter-finals having never been headed here.
Meath laid the foundations when playing against the breeze in the opening half. However, they were outscored by 0-5 to 1-6 in the final quarter.
Other significant scoring contributions came from full-forward Neil Heffernan and midfielder Stephen Morris with 1-3 and 0-4 respectively from play. Killyon's Adam Gannon finished with 0-5 (two frees).
Another significant contribution came from goalkeeper Shane McGann who made a number of fine saves that prevented Wicklow from causing an upset.
Martin Storey's men never looked like improving their recent record against Meath. However, they never gave up and but for seeing two goal attempts hit the frame of the goal might have finished closer to the hosts.
The 8/11 favourites made the early running despite playing into the breeze blowing from the town end. Adam Gannon opened the scoring from a free for a foul on Toher.
Stephen Morris turned provider for McGowan's opening goal. The Blackhall Gaels' man's delivery batted to the net by the Meath number 13.
Points from Diarmuid Masterson (free) and Mikey Lee trimmed the deficit to a goal by the 13th minute.
When McGowan fired low to the net for his second goal the board read 2-8 to 0-2 after 30 minutes.
Wicklow pulled back four points in the run-in to the break with Padraig Doran netting their opening goal in first-half stoppage time.
Meath led by eight points at the interval, 2-8 to 1-3. Within five minutes of the restart Neil Heffernan added their third goal with Adam Gannon creating the opening.
The Killyon-man then created the opening for an excellent Toher point. By the 50th minute the margin was up to 12 points (3-11 to 1-5). The issue was settled but both sides will need improvement to make an impact in the competition.
Meath - Shane McGann; Cormac Reilly, David Donoghue, Shane Whitty; Shane Brennan, Damian Healy, Keith Keoghan; Sean Heavey, Stephen Morris (0-4); James 'Toher (C) (0-3, 1f), Kevin Keena, Adam Gannon (0-5, 2fs); Gavin McGowan (2-2), Neil Heffernan (1-3), Sean Quigley. Subs - Subs - Michael O'Grady (0-1) for K Keena (53), Sean Geraghty for Brennan (58), Luke Martyn for Gannon (65).
Wicklow - Daniel O'Neill; Luke Maloney, Billy Cuddihy (C), Cathal O Dulachain; Peter Keane, John Henderson (1-0), Martin O'Brien; Ronan Keddy, Eamonn Kearns (0-1); Padraig Doran (1-0), Stephen Kelly, Diarmuid Masterson (0-2. 1f 1 65); Christy Moorhouse (0-2, 1f 1 65), Anthony Byrne, Mikey Lee (0-3, 2fs). Subs - Danny Staunton (0-3) for Keddy (42), Gavin Weir (0-1) for Masterson (46), Eugene Dunne for O'Brien 61), Eoin McCormack for Moorhouse (67).
Referee - John O'Brien (Tipperary)