O'Byrne Cup: Royals ease into last four

January 07, 2018

Mark McCabe wins possession for Meath under pressure from Wicklow's Brendan Kennedy during the O'Byrne Cup clash at Pairc Tailteann.

Meath booked a home O'Byrne Cup semi-final spot with an empahtic win over Wicklow at Pairc Tailteann on Sunday.

Meath  4-19

Wicklow  0-13

A strong first-half showing set Andy McEntee's men en course for an 18-point win. Thereafter Meath nearly doubled their account in a fragmented second-half.

The unlimited substitution rule allowed the manager to give most of his panel a run. One of the replacements, Joey Wallace chipped in with 1-2 from play in the latter stages.

Moments earlier Mark McCabe netted for the home side who will face Longford at this venue in the semi-final next Sunday.

A raft of half-time replacements led a fragmented third quarter that saw Meath add just four points to their interval tally.

Bolstered by the aforementioned goals Meath tagged on 2-4 over the remainder. Wicklow, boosted by pointed frees from Gearoid Murphy and Sean Furlong added 0-8 after the change of ends.

The exchanges at Carlow during the week were close until Meath needed a late trio of points to prevail narrowly. Wicklow, in their first outing, were 11 points in arrears of Carlow.

Apart from a few seconds, when the sides were level for the only time, Meath bossed matters. Graham Reilly punched point 22 seconds in got The Royals going. It was quickly followed by a Sean Tobin score.

Points from Sean Furlong and Gearoid Murphy (free) got Wicklow on terms. Meath tagged on 2-3 before Wicklow scored again through Dean Healy.

David Toner fired in Meath's opening goal after Bryan Menton had an attempt blocked during his brief appearance as a temporary sub. Meath's second goal - in the 22nd minute - was the score of the half. Donal Lenihan netted with a well struck effort with assistance from Toner and Alan Douglas.

Graham Reilly landed two points in quick succession around the 24th minute, the second leaving the new scoreboard reading 2-7 to 0-3.

Both goalkeepers were pressed into service in the run-in to the break. David Gallagher saved well Wicklow forward Padraig O'Toole. At the opposite end Robert Lambert denied Lenihan a second goal.

Meath led by 2-10 to 0-5 at the break and looked well for a semi-final spot. The Royals finished with nine scorers, including contributions from four replacements. Wicklow's tally was provided by four scorers, including one replacement.

Meath - David Gallagher; Shane Glynn, Luke Moran, Mickey Burke; Donal Keogan, Brian Conlon, Alan Douglas; Adam Flanagan (0-1), Harry Rooney; Mark McCabe (1-2), David Toner (1-1), Graham Reilly (0-3); Sean Tobin (0-4, 2fs), Donal Lenihan (1-2, 0-2 fs), Paddy Kennelly (0-2). Subs - Bryan Menton for Flanagan (bs 15-16), Bryan McMahon for Toner (32), Daragh Griffin for Reilly (ht), Liam Ferguson for Burke (ht), Menton for Flanagan (ht), Shane McEntee (0-1) for Rooney (ht), Joey Wallace (1-2) for Lenehan (ht), Conor Dempsey for Conlon (51), Eoghan Greene for Glynn (53), Conor McGill for Dempsey (73, BC).

Wicklow - Robert Lambert; Ciaran Hyland, Harry Wilson, Eoin Murtagh; Dara Fitzgerald, Dean Healy (0-2), Jamie Snell; Kevin Murphy, Rory Finn; Theo Smith, Mark Kenny, Padraig O'Toole; Gearoid Murphy (0-6 fs), Sean Furlong (0-4, 3fs), Conor Byrne. Subs - Brendan Kennedy for Murtagh (32), Mark Jackson for Lambert (ht), Dan Keane (0-1) for O'Toole (ht), Conor French for Byrne (ht), Saoirse Kieran for Wilson (39), PJ O'Keefe for Kenny (39), Gavin Murray for Murphy (57), Daniel Kelly for G Murphy (57), Conor Healy for Snell (64).

Referee - Stephen Murphy (Louth).

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