Meath accounted for IT Carlow by 0-18 to 0-12 in the O'Byrne Cup at Pairc Tailteann this evening in front of an estimated crowd of 500 and it was a good work-out for the Royals who did enough to merit victory.
Meath were ahead at half-time as they virtually strolled through the opening 35 minutes with two points apiece coming from David Bray, Stephen Bray and Cillian O'Sullivan while Paddy Gilsenan, Conor Sheridan, Dalton McDonagh and Shane O'Rourke completed the tally.
The Meath supporters wanted O'Rourke to do well – his point in the 23rd minute was greeted with the biggest cheer of the opening half.
Carlow enjoyed a good opening and closing period in the half as Brian Hurley (two) and Liam Boland (free) split the posts in the first 10 minutes.
Carlow got going again close to the interval with Hurley, Boland, Tommy Durnin and Darragh White capitalising on complacency by the hosts.
Carlow upped the tempo in the second-half and got it down to a one point game (0-12 to 0-11) by the three-quarter stage, but the Royal County reacted positively.
Buoyed by the introduction of Graham Reilly during that period the hosts reeled off six points to stamp their authority on the game.
Donal Lenihan claimed four of the second-half points, but the biggest cheer was reserved for another O'Rourke point.
Meath will face Wicklow, who also won tonight, next Sunday in the final group game in Baltinglass with the winner qualifying for a semi-final the following weekend.
Meath – Conor McHugh (Oldcastle); Caolan Young (Summerhill), Sean Curran (Donaghmore / Ashbourne), David McQuillan (St Patrick's); Seamus Kenny (Simonstown Gaels), Brian Power (Ratoath), Paddy Gilsenan (Oldcastle 0-1)); Conor Sheridan (Simonstown Gaels 0-1), Shane O'Rourke (Simonstown Gaels 0-2); Cillian O'Sullivan (Moynalvey 0-3 one free), Dalton McDonagh (Na Fianna 0-1), Padraig McKeever (Simonstown Gaels); David Bray (Navan O'Mahonys 0-2), Stephen Bray (Navan O'Mahonys 0-2 one free), Donal Lenihan (Dunboyne 0-4 two frees).
Subs – Michael Burke (Longwood 0-1) for Young, Eoghan Harrington (Wolfe Tones) for Curran, David Larkin (Summerhill) for S Bray all half-time, Graham Reilly (St Colmcille's 0-1) for McKeever 48 mins, David Dalton (Summerhill) for Kenny 62m, Donncha Tobin (Blackhall Gaels) for Sheridan 65m.
Meath Supporters Club have a bus going to Baltinglass on Sunday from Navan price €12 - contact Jacksie Kiernan.
OTHER RESULTS TONIGHT
Wicklow 1-12, DIT 3-13
Laois 2-18, Offaly 1-15
UCD 2-10, Wexford 2-3
Kildare 3-20, Longford 0-6
Athlone IT 1-15, Carlow 0-13
Dublin 2-6, Louth 0-8
DCU 2-15, Westmeath 2-9