Meath advance in some style

Story by Fergal Lynch

Saturday, 15th April, 2017 5:57pm

Meath advance in some style

Meath advance to the Leinster MHC quarter-finals with a hugely impressive 2-18 to 0-6 win over Westmeath at Ashbourne today.

Despite playing against the wind it was Westmeath who opened the scoring from a Shane Broughan free after 30 seconds, but that was the only time they led.

When no advantage accrued after Brian Dowling was fouled it gifted Michael Mullen with a tap over free to open his account which eventually ended at 1-11. Mullen then converted a '65' and a 20-metre free to make it 0-3 to 0-1 before a mistake by Aaron Dunne allowed Broughan score from a '65'.

A brilliant rob by Dowling restored Meath's two point cushion and after Mullen converted another free Nicky Potterton got off the mark and Mullen added his first from play to make it 0-7 to 0-2 at the end of the first quarter.

More nervous defending allowed Kassim Carey reply for Westmeath and after the excellent Evan Fitzgerald pointed Westmeath were allowed stay in the game as another poor clearance set up Fiachra Heeney to make it 0-4 to 0-8.

Using the wind to good effect Mullen converted a '65' and scored twice from play while Fitzgerald scored a superb score from 66-metres. Adam Ennis saw red following a heavy challenge on Jacob Ryan before Broughan closed the first-half scoring from a free to leave Westmeath 0-5 to 0-12 adrift at the break.

Broughan scored another free 43 seconds after the resumption, but that proved to be their only score of the half as brilliant Meath totally dominated.

An excellent pass from Darren Hennessy set-up Potterton for the opening goal in the 34th minute and by the end of the third quarter another free from Mullen and a brilliant point from Potterton made it 1-14 to 0-6. In between those scores Potterton was denied a second goal by a fine save from Brian McHugh, but Meath always looked comfortable.

Two more points from Mullen (one free) were followed by a goal for the Killyon man with two minutes remaining as he caught Vincent Ward's pass, turned in a flash and buried the ball to the net in one swift movement.

Potterton and Jamie Leavy closed the scoring with fine scores as Meath closed out the game with ease to set up a quarter-final, probably against Laois, on Saturday 29th April.

Meath - Aaron Dunne (Killyon); Brian O'Reilly (Killyon), Cormac Butler (Ratoath), Sean Coffey (Na Fianna); Jamie Connolly (Longwood), David McGowan (Ratoath), Brin Kelly (Kildalkey); Evan Fitzgerald (Kildalkey0-2), Darren Hennessy (Rathmolyon); Jacob Ryan (Killyon), Tom Fadden (Ratoath), Jamie Leavy (Dunderry 0-1); Brian Dowling (Trim 0-1), Mikey Mullen (Killyon 1-11 five frees, two '65s'), Nicky Potterton (Kildalkey 1-3). Subs - Daire Gilmartin (Dunboyne) for Fadden 36 mins, Michael Farrell (Dunboyne) for Hennessy 46m, Vincent Ward (Rathmolyon) for Ryan 49m,  Conor O'Farrell (Donaghmore/Ashbourne) for Dowling 58m, Sean Hogan (Donaghmore/Ashbourne) for Coffey 59m.

Westmeath - B McHugh; D O'Loughlin, C Shaw, R Moore; C Flynn, C O'Brien, L Broderick; F Heeney (0-1), E Ahearne; A Ennis, C McKeogh, R Coyne; K Carey (0-1), P Kane, S Broughan (0-4 three frees, one '65'). Subs - P Tormey for Coyne 26 mins, A Kennedy for Kane 39m, B McCarthy for Carey 44m, A Fagan for McKeogh 52m, E Burke for O'Loughlin 60m.

Referee - Gearoid MacGrath (Wexford). 

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