Meath win O'Byrne Cup with 13 men

Story by Conall Collier

Sunday, 13th May, 2018 4:30pm

Meath win O'Byrne Cup with 13 men

Meath won the O'Byrne Cup with a 4-13 to 1-13 victory against Westmeath despite finishing with 13 men in Mullingar.

Meath opened the scoring with a pointed Donal Lenihan free in the third minute, but a series of three wides in as many minutes subsequently sustained Westmeath.

The hosts were on the mark from a brace of John Connellan frees before Kieran Martin opened their account from play in the 14th minute.

Meath also had reasonable claims for a penalty when Ben Brennan was impeded, but got on the scoreboard from play when Paddy Kennelly sent over.

Cillian O'Sullivan then had a Meath goal chance, but Westmeath's Stephen Gallagher saved at the expense of a '45' which Lenihan converted to leave it 0-3 apiece at the end of the opening quarter.

Connellan's free edged Westmeath ahead again, but tehn Meath burst forward and Donal Keogan finished a fine move with a goal that was followed by a superbly-finished Lenihan goal that left the hosts reeling and adrift by 0-4 to 2-5.

However, Kennelly picked up two avoidable yellow card between the 20th and 25th minutes and that ignited Westmeath players and supporters although Lenihan sent over another point. 

Callum McCormack got in for a Westmeath goal with Meath's Conor Dempsey appealing for a free out near the sideline, but his pleas were futile.

Lenihan popped over two more Meath points for a 2-7 to 1-7 interval lead with Martin, Luke Loughlin and Connellan pointing for the hosts.

Meath controlled the second-half despite having only 14 men and Lenihan was in excellent form adding 1-3 to his tally with Ben Brennan, O'Sullivan and Thomas O'Reilly points 

Meath finished with 13 men after substitute Eamon Wallace picked up a straight red card with 10 minutes remaining.
Dan O'Neill claimed a fourth Meath goal with the last action of the game.

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