Meath 1-16 Down 0-11
Meath Ladies got off to the best possible start in the Lidl National Football League today after the long trip to Ballykinlar.
After the disappointment of relegation last year the girls and management were determined to put all that behind them and focus on the future.
Playing with the slightest of breezes Meath opened the scoring in the first minute with a well taken point courtesy of Emma White. Not to be outdone Downs Colleen Lennon hit back almost immediately to level the scores. At the ten minute mark both sides having plenty of possession in a frenetic opening period stood at 2 points apiece. The Royals, playing with a renewed vigour went on a five point unanswered scoring spree with points from Keogh, Gallogly, O'Neill, White (free) and captain Niamh O'Sullivan. This could have been a lot more but for some good defending by the Down backs and some wayward shooting by the Meath forwards.
Meath captain Niamh O'Sullivan heads for the Down goal
Noticeably though all six forwards scored in the first half which bodes well for the future!.
With twenty minutes gone Meath seemed to lose their way for a while and Down added five points of their own. Kyla Trainor was dictating play with some fine passing and scores of her own. As the rain started, so ended the first half!. Meath went into the break leading by the narrowest of margins.
On the resumption Down forward Lauren Cunningham and Midfielder Aoife Keown rattled off two points before the Meath girls settled into some outstanding displays football. Leading from the front Niamh O'Sullivan was running the show collecting herself five points in the second half. Meath had a total of seven unanswered scores including a rasper of a shot from Dunboyne clubwoman Fiona O'Neill which ended in the back of the net. Clara Mulveena lofted over a point for the Mourne girls but it was too little too late. Meath had a final point from O'Neill to seal the deal.
The Meath squad at Ballykinlar
There were some very encouraging displays from what is essentially a very young team. Sarah Powderly at full back cleared up anything that came her way. She was well aided by the returning Michelle Peel and Maire O'Shaughnessy. All in all this was a fine display of football by the girls.
Manager Eoin Hennessy said after the game ''it's the first win of the new campaign''.
Next up for Meath is the long trip to Limerick. Details of venue etc TBC.
Meath team and scorers: Orlagh McLoughlin, Kate Flynn, Sarah Powderly, Catriona Keogan, Márie Keogh, Maire O'Shaughnessy, Michelle Peel, Paula Dunne, Ailbhe McHugh, Niamh O'Sullivan (7pts)(C), Bláthnaid Keogh (2pt), Niamh Gallogly (1pt), Aisling O'Reilly (1pt), Emma White (3pts), Fiona O'Neill (1-02). Subs: Vikki Wall for Keogan, Niamh Crowe for O'Reilly, Megan Thynne for White and Siofra Cleary for McHugh.
Referee: Maggie Farrelly Cavan