Published: Wednesday, 8th February, 2012 4:53pm
St Patrick's Drumcondra 5-16, Meath 1-16
Meath hurling manager Cillian Farrell.
Holders Meath exited the Kehoe Cup when they were out-hurled by a classy St Patrick's, Drumcondra side at Páirc Táilteann on Sunday where goals made the diffence after 70 minutes.
The origins of the St Patrick's players seemed to be a closely guarded secret with no information available from the students about the different counties that were represented.
From a Meath perspective there was some good news as some post-match investigations were successful in identifying players from Dublin, Kilkenny and Clare. There may have been more gems and nuggets on the Dublin side, but lips were sealed when questions were posed?
And no one was able to shed any light on what county three-goal Kevin Nimmo plays for although Niall Arthur, who scored nine points, plays for Clare and was the Munster minor hurler -of-the-year in 2010.
Canice Maher, who scored 1-1 at full-forward and Tom Breen (1-3) at centre-forward are both from Kilkenny.
Suffice to cease the investigations at that stage and just accept that this was a very good St Patrick's team, certainly much too good for the standard that prevails in the Kehoe Cup.
That statement can be substantiated by taking a quick look at the two teams in the final - St Patrick's v GMIT - no county team survived.
That might be a debate for another day, but for last Sunday there was some positives for Meath.
They scored plenty, Stephen Clynch continued to show his old form with some massive points from distance and Nicky Horan was accurate from frees finishing with eight points to his credit, six from placed balls.
Then there was the bad. Five goals conceded, four of them of the 'gift' variety. The marking was poor at times and the defending was comical, if you adopt a type of black humour towards what the defenders were supposed to do and what they actually did.
However, Meath more than matched St Patrick's for the opening 35 minutes and were well in touch at the interval as they trailed by 1-8 to 3-7.
By the three-quarter stage they were 1-12 to 4-13 adrift and the closing exchanges were fairly academic as the students just went through the motions.
The first St Pat's goal arrived in the fourth minute when a high ball caused problems for Meath and Nimmo finished. Arthur and Paudie Kehoe added points, but Meath were on terms through Horan (two), Peter Durnin, David Raleigh and Clynch with the first of his long-range efforts.
Meath hit the front in the 20th minute when Durnin finished to the net, but at the other end Breen ran through from about 40 metres for a goal.
Two more Clynch points had Meath in front again, but Arthur replied with a brace before Breen and Keith Keoghan traded scores to leave it at 1-8 to 2-5 after 27 minutes.
St Pat's were able to up the tempo sufficiently to go in with that five-point interval advantage after Nimmo netted again and Arthur pointed twice.
St Pat's moved up another gear after the resumption, but Meath kept battling and matched their opponents point-for-point, it was only in the goal stakes that the hosts were deficient. Meath also wasted a couple of goal chances and that ultimately proved costly.
Meath will play Lucan Sarsfields in a challenge next weekend and will then turn their attentions to the first round of the NHL Div 3A.
St Patrick's - S Murphy; D Glynn, D Weafer, D Byrne; N Maguire, M Quilty, N Ring; I Duggan, P Kehoe (0-1); L French, T Breen (1-3), P Murphy; K Nimmo (3-0), C Maher (1-1), N Arthur (0-9 two frees, one '65'). Subs - L Ryan (0-2) for Maguire 30 mins, D Wright for Murphy half-time, C Caulfield for French, D Carroll for Nimmo 60m, P Concannon for Quilty 66m
Meath - Shane McGann; Cormac Reilly, Enda Fitzgerald, William Mahady; Enda Keogh, Paul Fagan, Stephen Morris; Stephen Clynch (0-3 one free), Ciaran Fitzsimons; Eoin Marsh, Damien Healy (0-1), Keith Keoghan (0-1); Peter Durnin (1-1), Nicky Horan (0-8 six frees), David Raleigh (0-1). Subs - Sean Heavey for Fagan half-time, Noel Kirby (0-1) for Morris 42 mins, Mike Cole for Keoghan, James Kelly for Raleigh both 55m, Stephen Donoghue for Healy 62m.
Referee - John Keenan (Wicklow).