A brace of late points from Trim’s Aaron Lynch earned Meath a deserved share of the spoils in this entertaining O’Byrne Cup encounter played in horrendous wind and rain at Donaghmore/Ashbourne.
Regrettably, it wasn’t enough to take Colm O’Rourke’s team through to the final of the pre-season competition. By virtue of the fact they drew two of their three group games whereas Paddy Christie’s charges were two from two going into tonight’s clash
However, the home side did start the better and were quickly out of the blocks with an exceptional point from Cillian O’Sullivan before Donal Lenihan used the conditions to his advantage in arrowing the ball beyond Paddy Collum in the Longford goal.
Be that as it may, the blue and gold dominated the remainder of the first half as points from the outstanding Joe Hagan and David McGivney gave the visitors the lead. Midfielder Shane Crosby did respond for Meath but they still trailed by 1-02 to 0-06 half way through.
O’Rourke rung the changes at half time but it was still Christie’s crew who dominated long spells of the second half, opening a lead of 1-02 to 0-10 in the process.
To their credit though, the Royal County hung in there and actually registered the final handful of scores in the match, including two eye-catching efforts from the introduced Lynch.
Naturally, it would have been better to qualify to take on Offaly, thus having a cut at some silverware and an extra outing, but the manner in which they hung in there and secured a draw espoused the workrate and battling qualities which will be essential going forward.
MEATH: B. Hogan; R. Ryan, M. Flood, J. O’Hare; E. Harkin, D. Keogan, D. O’Neill; R. Jones, S. Crosby (0-1); J. O’Connor, T. O’Reilly, J. Scully; C. O’Sullivan (0-1), K. Curtis, D. Lenihan (1-2). Subs; D. McGowan for Jones, B. Conlon for Curtis, J. Morris (0-1) for O’Reilly, C. Moriarity for Scully, A. Lynch (0-2) for Lenihan, C. Quigley for Harkin, S. Rafferty for O’Connor.
Referee: U. McElroy (Louth)