With the news that Meath would face Louth in the All-Ireland SFC qualifiers fresh in his mind, Cian Ward staked his claim for a starting berth as he inspired Wolfe Tones to an easy SFC victory over Trim at Dunderry on Sunday evening.
Ward was ridiculously outstanding against a very limited Trim side as he gave the Meath management a timely reminder of his magnificent talent and he must surely have booked his place in the starting 15 against Louth.
The Wolfe Tones ace finished with 1-10 to his credit, 1-3 from play. But it wasn't just his free-taking that impressed as he was a constant thorn in the Trim side.
Trim had no answer and their embarrassing display was compounded by the dismissal of Frankie Murphy with 13 minutes remaining. Murphy was unlucky to depart on his own as he was involved in a tussle with Stephen Corrigan which earned the Wolfe Tones man just a yellow card.
Trim can have no excuses. They simply weren't good enough and were outplayed in every sector. Only Derek Donohoe looked to cause Wolfe Tones problems as he gave Ciaran McLoughlin a torrid time, but once the supply to Donohoe was cut off Wolfe Tones were on easy street.
Wolfe Tones are still in the process of rebuilding and with impressive displays from newcomers Donal Fogarty, Shane Glynn and Eanna Harrington and solid backing from old hands Darren McGrath, Alan Fox, Corrigan and Niall McLoughlin they had the measure of Trim.
The quality of football in the early stages was poor, but there was enough excitement to keep the crowd entertained.
Ward gave an indication of his obvious class with a point inside 30 seconds, but Paul Gilsenan converted a free three minutes later to bring Trim level.
Both sides missed chances with Trim clearing the ball off the line before Michael Lowther struck the upright. Ward trebled his tally and Harrington was also on target as Wolfe Tones ended the opening quarter with a 0-4 to 0-1 lead.
That lead was stretched to 0-8 to 0-1 in the next eight minutes with Ward (two frees), McGrath and Stephen Sheppard on target. Donohoe, making his first appearance of the campaign, lofted over a brilliant point before Anthony Kane was fouled by Fogarty. Gilsenan netted the resultant penalty and two minutes later another Donohoe point left Trim 1-3 to 0-8 adrift at the break.
Any hopes Trim held of completing a recovery were dashed within two minutes of the restart when Ward left Colm Doyle trailing in his wake and buried the ball in the bottom corner.
Further points from Ward (four, three frees), Harrington (two) and McGrath stretched Wolfe Tones lead to 1-15 to 1-3 by the end of the third-quarter.
Murphy got his marching orders soon after and despite a debut point from Stephen O'Toole Trim were handed a lesson as Harrington, Ward, Paddy Caffrey and McGrath closed Wolfe Tones' account.
Wolfe Tones - D Nolan; D Coleman, C McLoughlin, S Glynn; D Fogarty, S Sheppard (0-1), N McLoughlin; S Corrigan, A Callaghan; A Fox, D McGrath (0-3), P Caffrey (0-1); E Harrington (0-4), D Browne, C Ward (1-10, seven frees). Subs - K O'Brien for Caffrey 56 mins, C Blaney for Browne 56m.
Trim - B Murphy; C O'Flaherty, C Doyle, P Flanagan; M Power, S O'Toole (0-1), R Fitzsimons; F Murphy, A Douglas; E McGrath, M Lowther, P Gilsenan (1-1, 1-0 penalty, one free; J Toher, D Donohoe (0-2), A Kane. Sub - R Brennan for Power 42 mins.
Referee - David Gough (Slane).