Pre season competitions are exactly that, a step below the intensity and seriousness of what comes after them. But they can also be useful indicators of where a team’s form is at.
Thus, just as the Royal County senior footballers franked their unbeaten start to the season with last week’s terrific victory down in Cork, the hurlers endorsed the form of their recent Kehoe Cup win over Wicklow when opening their NHL campaign.
The restructuring which took place in hurling has resulted in nearly all competitions being played off among teams of commensurate ability. Meaning that, by and large there are no more trouncings.
That can only be a good thing, and arising from same, games even in the lower divisions are feverishly competitive. Something only aided by the regularity with which the teams meet.
Meath’s victory here was all the more impressive given that they played more than 35 minutes down a man after Tipperary referee sent Damien Healy for an early shower.
The home side led by 0-11 to 0-06 at the time and though Wicklow did find the net thereafter, Padraig O’Hanrahan’s late score left the locals three clear, 0-12 to 1-06 half way through.
To their great credit, Meath drove on after the restart with Sean Quigley and Eamonn O’Donnchadh particularly prominent. Even when the Garden County hit back with a goal from the introduced Andy O’Brien, like a good staying chaser, Seoirse Bulfin’s side kept finding.
Tagging on another flurry of scores including a goal from Trim’s Mikey Cole and points from Paddy Barnwell (two) and Jack Regan to see them over the line.
MEATH – C. Ennis; S. Morris, S. Geraghty, B. McKeon; K. Donnelly (0-1), J. Toher, J. Kelly (0-1); P. Ryan (0-1), N. Potterton (0-1); D. Healy (0-1), S. Ennis, N. McLarnon; S. Quigley (1-2), E. O’Donnchadh (0-3), P. O’Hanrahan (0-11). Subs; M. Cole (1-0) for Quigley, P. Barnwell (0-2*) for McLarnon, D. Shine for O’Hanrahan.
* Replaced O’Hanrahan as Blood Sub: 4-24 Mins.
Referee: Conor Doyle (Tipperary)