One of the biggest drawbacks during Meath’s National League campaign, which resulted in them being relegated from the top tier, was the difficulty they had in raising green flags. Whatever happened during the lockdown, the Royal County have registered a dozen ‘majors’ in their two Championship outings to date.
Every one of the handful they put past Mark Donnellan today were required to navigate their way past an equally talented but profligate Kildare team. Jack O’Connor’s charges made reasonable use of the strong breeze in the first half – Jimmy Hyland and newcomer Darragh Kirwan kicking them into a 0-10 to 0-04 half time lead.
However, one of the admirable traits this Meath side have inherited from their predecessors is their refusal to panic and their self belief got its due reward early in the second half as a treble goal salvo from Mathew Costello, Jordan Morris and the tireless Cillian O’Sullivan catapulted them from being a half dozen adrift to a one score advantage within moments of the change of ends.
Kildare did eventually get going in the second half, with the introduction of the Flynns – Daniel and Neil instrumental. However, three points was as close as they outsiders could get to Andy McEntee’s team. Firstly owing to their repeated rebuffing of the all whites’ direct approach. Meath’s full back line tightened up considerably after have time and they, ably assisted by their half back colleagues, midfielders Bryan Menton and Ronan Jones and floating wing forward Ronan Ryan gave an accomplished display of defending which enabled the construction of attacking platform which those charged with making use of did with aplomb.
The strong running of the midfield and raiding defenders being the catalyst as substitutes Joey Wallace and Jason Scully also filled the linen before points from the impressive Shane McEntee and promising replacement Cathal Hickey closed out the deal to set up another Royal rumble against the Dubs.