Meath far too strong for Wicklow
MEATH 5-14 WICKLOW 0-6
MEATH produced a stunning performance to cruise to the TG4 Leinster Intermediate final where they must be red hot favourites to beat Wexford going on their dismantling of a gallant Wicklow side in Navan on Sunday afternoon last.
From the very first Wicklow attack that was turned over it was abundantly clear that Meath are just in a totally different place in terms of tactics and fitness as they ran Wicklow ragged over the course of this game, finding the net five times, four in the second half, as they maintained their impressive form under the coaching guidance of former Baltinglass Senior ladies and men’s team manager Paul Garrigan.
Meath’s ability to move the ball swiftly through the hands had Wicklow chasing shadows early on and the Royals opened up an early two-point lead through wicked points from Emma Duggan and Emma White.
The Royal County put huge pressure on Kim Connors’ kickouts in this game, while the tight marking at the other end, especially from full-back Sarah Powderly on Wicklow’s main attacking threat in Laura Hogan, was ferocious to say the least.
The home side romped out to a 0-8 to 0-0 lead before Laura Hogan got the visitors off the mark with a pointed free after 13 minutes.
But Meath were just effortless in their movement up the field, with runners off the shoulder helping them charge into Wicklow territory before a neat ball found one of the target women, usually full-forward Kelsey Nesbitt, and in one of the next attacks the ball was worked to Orla Byrne who lashed home past Kim Connors in the Wicklow goal to make it 1-8 to 0-1 with very little hope remaining of a Wicklow recovery even at this early stage of the encounter.
Meath led by 1-10 to 0-3 at the break and were 2-12 to 0-3 ahead by the 40th minute, Kelsey Nesbitt with the goal, and from here they coasted to victory and denied James Kelly’s charges a second Leinster final on the trot. Anything other than a Meath victory in that decider would be a shock.
Wicklow now turn their attention to the All-Ireland Intermediate football championship that gets underway in early July.
WICKLOW: Kim Connors; Sarah Jane Winders, Sarah Hogan, Aoife Gillen; Lorna Fusciardi, Aimee Maher, Emily Mulhall; Aoife Gorman, Sarah Delahunt; Jackie Kinch, Laurie Ahern, Meadhbh Deeney; Marie Kealy, Laura Hogan, Jessie Nolan Byrne. Subs: Tara Costello for L Fusciardi (44), Anna McGrath for M Kealy (51), Amy Murphy for M Deeney (54), Kate Hennessy for A Gillen (54).
MEATH: Monica McGuirk; Katie Newe, Sarah Powderly, Orlaith Duff; Aoibhin Cleary, Shauna Ennis, Megan Ennis; Máire O’Shaughnessy, Katie Byrne; Aoibheann Leahy, Emma Duggan, Orla Byrne; Emma White, Kelsey Nesbitt, Vikki Wall. Subs: A Leahy for M O’Shaughnessy (40), B Lynch for E White (46), N Sheridan for K Newe (46), F O’Neill for K Nesbitt (49), M O’Brien for K Byrne (49).