Return of three jewels boost hopes of holding onto the crown

Meath… 0-15

Laois… 0-05

Take Kevin De Bruyne, Ruben Dias and Erling Haaland out of the Manchester City team, they don’t win their fifth Premier League title in six years. Send Limerick out shorn of Declan Hannon, Gearoid Hegarty and Aaron Gillane and they wouldn’t know Liam Mac Carthy as well as they do.

Now consider that, with Emma Duggan, Vikki Wall and Orlagh Lally back in harness on Sunday, the Meath ladies were undoubtedly back to their best as they comprehensively saw off Laois in O’Moore Park to secure another crack at Dublin in the Leinster SFC Final.

Well, let me qualify that a bit. It ended up a clearcut victory but Davy Nelson’s side were undoubtedly fortunate to head in at half time leading by 0-06 to 0-04. Such being the case only because of a triumvirate of tremendous saves by Monica McGuirk.

Monica McGuirk is quite possibly the best goalkeeper in Gaelic football – male or female at present

As was the case with our hurlers on Saturday, though, those scares seemed to prompt the defending All Ireland Champions to find another gear.

Which manifested itself as Emma Duggan pointing four timrs and Aoife Minogue, Megan Thynne, Vikki Wall, Stacey Grimes and substitute Olivia Callan also getting in on the act.

Just like the lads the previous evening, it’s a win that is as important in psychological terms as material ones. Yes it was their first win in a long time, but placed against the context of those who have been absent, maybe a little too mucb was being read into early season form.

Things had a more familiar look about them today and hopefully results will from now on as well.

MEATH – M. McGuirk; A. Sheridan, M. K. Lynch, K. Newe; N. Gallogly, S. Ennis, A. Cleary; M. O’Shaughnessy, A. Minogue (0-1); M. Thynne (0-1), V. Wall (0-1), E. Duggan (0-6, 3F); O. Lally, S. Grimes (0-5, 3F), N. O’Sullivan.

SUBS – S. Melia for Cleary, C. Smyth for Thynne, O. Gore for Sheridan, M. Byrne for O’Sullivan, O. Callan (0-1) for Duggan, A. McCabe for O’Shaughnessy, A. Farrell for Newe, A. Sherlock for Gallogly, R. Casserly for Wall.

Referee – Finbarr Shanahan (Dublin)

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