Meath do it the hard way to make a win­ning re­turn

The Irish Times - Monday - Sport - - Gaelic Games -

Af­ter a 13-year ab­sence Meath made a win­ning re­turn to the Le­in­ster SHC as they up­set the odds in this qual­i­fier group round one game at Páirc Tail­teann.

The Roy­als had to do it the hard way though, con­ced­ing a goal af­ter just 14 sec­onds and then they were forced to fight a rear­guard bat­tle in the clos­ing stages to pre­serve their lead.

Shane Nolan hit that early goal for the King­dom who op­er­ated two di­vi­sions above their op­po­nents in t his year’s league. De­spite los­ing cap­tain Damien Healy to in­jury af­ter 13 min­utes Meath fought back and de­servedly led 1-10 to 1-7 at the break.

Their goal came from a Sean Quigley side­line cut which de- ceived Kerry keeper Ai­dan McCabe on 11 min­utes.

With Stephen Clynch in fine form, the hosts strength­ened their grip on pro­ceed­ings in the third quar­ter. They were boosted by a goal from sub­sti­tute Kevin Keena and they went nine points clear.

Kerry staged a rally and with Shane Nolan and sub­sti­tutes Michael O’Leary and Jack Gould­ing mak­ing a dif­fer­ence they grad­u­ally trimmed the deficit.

Just a goal sep­a­rated the sides af­ter Mikey Boyle found the net in added time and Meath keeper Shane McGann had to come to his side’s res­cue on two oc­ca­sions in the last 90 sec­onds as Kerry went in search of an equal­is­ing goal. But Meath’ s Cathal McCabe net­ted goaled in the last ac­tion of the match. SMcGann; SWhitty, DHealy, CReilly; SBren­nan, JKeena; JKelly; SGer­aghty for Healy (13 mins), for Quigley (55 mins), for McGowan(63 for JKelly (45mins), mins), PKelly for Gannon (68mins). AMcCabe; RHor­gan, TMur­nane, SWeir; JBuck­ley, O’Con­nor; PKelly, KCar­mody; for Kelly (35mins), for Casey (h-t), Carmody(47 mins), BO’Leary for Lu­cid (55 mins), CHarty for Con­way (67mins). SCleere (Kilkenny). DDi­neen; TCasey, P for

Sean Quigley: scored a goal direct from a side­line cut af­ter 11 min­utes

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