Two factors which have been constants throughout Meath’s hurling season to date were of paramount importance once again as several Mayo rallies were staved off in this exciting Christy Ring Cup opening round encounter at Pairc Tailteann.
At the outset here, unfortunately I again find myself drawn to comment on the idiocy which seems to engulf fixture makers within all section of the GAA. Already in the past week, we had the lunacy of players having to play two U-20 HC matches and the opening round of the Christy Ring Cup in the space of four days.
Mind you, the farce which ensued today (Sunday) not only took the biscuit, it used up the last teabag as well. Misgivings about the manner in which fixtures for lady GAA players are dealt with are regular occupants of space here.
On this occasion, Cumann Camogiochta find themselves in the dock. While it is only right and as it should be that the Very Ireland National Camogie League Finals are played in Croke Park – all inter county GAA Finals should be – it does have to be asked (a) Did the two fixtures have to have such ridiculously early throw-in times (12 Noon and 1.50), and (b) did they have to be played at the same time as fixtures in the Cup competitions in hurling?
Not only would it mean clubs with players involved in both matches having to divide their loyalties, by the very nature of these things, it often leads to families having to split up to ensure all representatives get the support they deserve.
So it was that just as the camogie team were being consigned to Heartbreak Hotel, the Royal stickmen were just getting their campaign for another Ring Cup title under way.
One thing which has stood to Meath so far this season has been their ability to run up big scores and so it was again here. It was point for point early on before, yet again, the crafty Eamon Og O’Donnchadh showed his penchant for bagging important goals.
This one left Seoirse Bulfin’s men clear by 1-06 to 0-05 at the and though Mayo did again respond with a flurry of scores, a Jack Regan goal from close range ensured the home team took a 2-11 to 0-13 buffer into the break.
The second half proceeded along similar lines to what had gone before it, a shoot out between Regan and – mostly – Cormac Philips and Joe McManus on behalf of the green and red.
The Mayo management of Don McConn and Tom Philips certainly have a spirited group of players to work with and they proved as such when reeling off another plethora of points to get themselves back within a point (2-17 to 0-22).
Not for the first time though, we again must laud this Meath team for Their spirit, as they asserted once again and a fine point from Kiltale’s James Kelly ensured they hung on for a deserved success.
MEATH – C. Ennis; G. Dwane, S. Brennan, B. McKeon; N. McLarnon, J. Toher, S. Ennis (0-1); S. Geraghty (0-1), M. Healy; S. Morris, J. Regan (1-11), J. Kelly (0-2); M. Cole (0-1), E. Og O’Donnchadh (1-2), P. O’Hanrahan (0-2). SUBS – D. Shine for Morris, T. Shine for Cole, C. Shirren for Kelly, P. Barnwell for Healy, E. Fitzgerald for O’Hanrahan.