Meath take on Longford in the O'Byrne Cup semi final this Suday at Pairc Tailteann. The two counties met in the final of this competition two years ago. The match report from that entertaining encounter on January 24th 2016.
Meath ......... 1-17
Longford ..... 1-11
Graham Reilly scored six points from as Meath claimed Bord na Mona O'Byrne Cup with a decisive win over Longford at Pairc Tailteann.
The St Colmcille's man scored six points from play. However, Reilly limped off in the latter stages but hopefully will be ready for Meath NFL Division opener at home to Armagh next Sunday.
Meath who led by 0-10 to 1-3 at the break, conceded the first score on the restart to Longford's Francis McGee. However, the Royals responded positively and moved six points clear by the 45th minute.
Graham Reilly and Donal Lenihan pointed before Cillian O'Sullivan goaled at the Commons Road end when put through by Mickey Newman. A fine score from sub Sean Tobin before Reilly completed his tally left it 1-14 to 1-6 after 59 minutes.
Meath then were set for their first O'Byrne Cup success since 2006 and 12th in all to move them ahead of Kildare in the roll of honour.
Cillian O'Sullivan capped a good showing when placing Tobin for his second score that left it 1-16 to 1-8 after 58 minutes.
Denis Connerton's men went close to pulling a goal back four minutes later when Brian Farrell's flick hit a post before being deflected off Darragh Smyth for a 45. Francis McGee landed the subsequent kick. He added two scores in the latter stages (one free) to bring his tally to six points.
Mick O'Dowd men were never headed by the men who defeated Dublin at the 'semi' stage. The sides were level just once when Longford's Barry McKeon cancelled out Michael Newman's opener.
Two Reilly points were the pick of Meath's early scores and they led by 0-4 to 0-2 after 13 minutes. With the aid of a slight breeze, Mick O'Dowd's charges were 0-7 to 0-2 ahead at the end of the opening quarter.
Longford trimmed the deficit to the minimum by the 27th minute, 0-7 to 1-3. A McGee free was followed by a Robbie Smyth goal, a top in at the hospital end. Colm P Smyth and McGee provided assistance.
To their credit Meath closed the half with three unanswered points. Reilly's fourth point was sandwiched between two Newman frees. The hosts led by four points, 0-10 to 1-3, at the break.
Within 16 seconds of the restart, McGee cut the gap to a goal. Meath had the wherewithal to respond positively and gain a welcome boost ahead of the Division 2 FL campaign.
Six points from play and a strong overall contribution earned Graham Reilly the Bord na Mona Man of the Match award.
Meath - Paddy O'Rourke; James O'Reilly, Donal Keoghan, Darragh Smyth (0-1); Alan Douglas, Mickey Burke, Cathal Finn; Harry Rooney, Andrew Tormey; Graham Reilly (0-6), Padraic Harnan, Cillian O'Sullivan (1-1); Michael Newman (0-5 fs), Conor Downey , Donal Lenihan (0-2). Subs - Sean Tobin (0-2 1f) for Tormey (44), Padraig Geraghty for Douglas (53), Ruairi O Coileain (0-1) for Downey (57), Daire Rowe for Lenihan (68), Mark Battersby for Reilly (68), Nicky Judge for Geraghty (68).
Longford - Paddy Collum; Diarmuid Masterson, Barry Gilleran, Colm P. Smyth; Fergal Battrim, Robbie Smith (1-2), Andrew Dalton; Michael Brady (0-1); Brian Farrell; Paul McKeon, James McGivney, Darren Gallagher; Barry McKeon (0-1), Francis McGee (0-6 3fs, 1 45), Dermot Brady. Subs - Donal McElligott for Dalton (22), Shane Doyle for Farrell (25), Liam Connerton (0-1) for Gallagher (ht), Paul McKeon for Barry McKeon (ht), Brian Kavanagh for Gallagher (41), Andrew Dalton for Brady (62)
Referee - Brendan Cawley (Kildare)l