Leinster Senior Hurling Championship Qualifier Round 1: Meath 3-20, Kerry 2-17
Meath celebrated their return to Leinster Senior Hurling Championship action with a six point defeat of Kerry at Pairc Tailteann.
Despite the concession of a first minute goal, Meath responded to lead by three at the interval and although they suffered some anxious moments in the closing stages, deservedly claimed both points.
Kerry were six points behind before Mikey Boyle fired home a goal in injury-time and they pressed hard for an equaliser.
But Meath held firm and Cathal McCabe raised a green flag at the other end to secure a famous victory for the Royal County.
The early omens didn’t look good for Meath as Shane Nolan opened the scoring with a Kerry goal after only 14 seconds.
Meath took the lead for the first time in the tenth minute with a Sean Quigley goal directly from a sideline and they led by 1-10 to 1-7 at the interval.
By the 44th minute, Meath had increased their advantage to five points and when Kevin Keena struck for their second goal five minutes later, they led by 2-15 to 1-10.
Four points in a row started the Kerry comeback and they were back in the hunt for at least a share of the spoils when Boyle’s goal left just three between the sides.
But Meath lifted the siege and finished on a high which sets them up nicely for the challenge of Laois in seven days’ time.
Meath Scorers: Steven Clynch 0-7 (6fs), Sean Quigley 1-3 (1-0 s/l), Kevin Keena 1-0, Cathal McCabe 1-0, Adam Gannon 0-3, Mark O’Sullivan 0-2, Anthony Forde 0-1, Keith Keogan 0-1, Daragh Kelly 0-1, Gavin McGowan 0-1, Neil Heffernan 0-1.
Kerry Scorers: Shane Nolan 1-9 (6fs), Mikey Boyle 1-1, Michael O’Leary 0-2, Jordan Conway 0-1, Philip Lucid 0-1, Bryan Murphy 0-1, Maurice O’Connor 0-1, Jack Goulding 0-1.
MEATH: Shane McGann; Cormac Reilly, Damian Healy, Shane Whitty; Keith Keogan, Daragh Kelly, Shane Brennan; Anthony Forde, Joe Keena; Sean Quigley, Steven Clynch, James Kelly; Gavin McGowan, Mark O’Sullivan, Adam Gannon.
Subs: Sean Geraghty for Healy (13), Kevin Keena for Kelly (45), Neil Heffernan for Quigley (55), Cathal McCabe for McGowan (63), Padraig Kelly for Gannon (69).
KERRY: Aiden McCabe; Tom Murnane, Rory Horgan, Sean Weir; John Buckley, Bryan Murphy, Darren Dineen; Tommy Casey, Paudie O’Connor; Mikey Boyle, Patrick Kelly, Keith Carmody; Philip Lucid, Shane Nolan, Jordan Conway.
Subs: Michael O’Leary for Kelly (35+1), Jack Goulding for Casey (h/t), Maurice O’Connor for Carmody (47), Brendan O’Leary for Lucid (55), Colm Harty for Conway (67).
REFEREE: S Cleere (Kilkenny).
Leinster Senior Hurling Championship Qualifier Round 1: Laois 1-23, Westmeath 2-17
Laois hit eight points in a row between the 46th and 60th minutes which gave them enough breathing space to survive a Westmeath revival at O’Moore Park.
The home team looked to have the two points in the bag, but Westmeath hit back with goals from Robbie Greville and Eoin Price, leaving Laois relieved to hear the final whistle after four minutes of additional time.
Westmeath were slightly the better team in the opening half, but a scrambled goal by Paddy Whelan in the 20th minute, after a free-in was dropped in the goalmouth, was the main reason the sides were level at the break – 1-8 to 0-11.
Westmeath held the upper hand in the opening quarter, and led by 0-3 to 0-1 and then 0-5 to 0-4. Even after the goal, the Lake County hit back with four points in a row through Alan Devine (2), Derek McNicholas and Cormac Boyle.
Stephen Maher and Ross King had chipped in crucial scores for Eamon Kelly’s side in the opening 35 minutes and when they got on a run on Westmeath later on, Maher and substitute Aaron Dunphy were the main driving forces.
After Robbie Greville threw Westmeath a lifeline, Dunphy and King (free) hit back for Laois, which put them five in front again. And after Price’s strike led to some more anxious moments, captain King had the final saw with a free, his tenth point of the match.
Laois Scorers: Ross King 0-10 (8fs, 1 ‘65’), Stephen Maher 0-4, Aaron Dunphy 0-3, Paddy Whelan 1-0, Cha Dwyer 0-2, Willie Dunphy, Cian Taylor, Enda Rowland (f) 0-1 each.
Westmeath Scorers: Alan Devine 0-5 (3fs), Niall Mitchell 0-4, Robbie Greville 1-1, Eoin Price 1-0, Paul Greville 0-2 (1f), Gary Greville, Shane McGovern, Cormac Boyle, Derek McNicholas, Jack Galvin 0-1 each.
LAOIS: Enda Rowland; Cahir Healy, Leigh Bergin, Dwane Palmer; Ciaran Collier, Cha Dwyer, Lee Cleere; Ross King, Paddy Purcell; Cian Taylor, Aidan Corby, Ben Conroy; Willie Dunphy, Stephen Maher, Paddy Whelan.
Subs: Aaron Dunphy for Corby (29 mins), Matthew Whelan for Taylor (42 mins), Sean Downey for Conroy (48 mins), Eanna Lyons for Dwyer (61 mins), Stephen Bergin for P Whelan (65 mins).
WESTMEATH: Paddy Maloney; Conor Shaw, Tommy Doyle, Tommy Gallagher; Gary Greville, Paul Greville, Joey Boyle; Aonghus Clarke, Cormac Boyle; Alan Devine, Derek McNicholas, Niall Mitchell; Shane McGovern, Robbie Greville, Killian Doyle.
Subs: Darragh Egerton for J Boyle (56 mins), Niall O’Brien for McGovern (57 mins), Jack Galvin for C Boyle (66 mins).
Referee: James Owens (Wexford).