Sensational late rally earns Meath a precious victory
Grit and determination were evident at Pairc Tailteann today where Meath dug deep for a vital NFL Div 2 win by 1-9 to 1-8 against Kildare.
Before the game started the groundsmen were busy brushing water out of the goalmouths but the game finished in snow shower that left pitch covered in white.
However, it was all about the green and gold at Pairc Tailteann when referee Derek O'Mahoney ended a gripping contest five minutes into added time.
A SWEEPER POLICY AT THE PAIRC
For long periods of the second-half it looked like Kildare would survive the green and gold test in Navan, but the Meath pressure told and Barry Darids converted an added time penalty.
The penalty was awarded after Shane McEntee was impeded by Keith Cribbin who duly departed on a black card.
Dardis converted and Meath survived the tense closing minutes to great encouragement from the home supporters.
SEE THE PENALTY
The second-half scores were hard-earned and were slow to arrive with Meath trailing by 0-9 to 1-8 on the hour mark after missing some reasonable chances.
Ben Brennan (two), Dardis and a magnificent Cillian O'Sullivan effort from way out kept Meath ticking over as Kildare managed a solitary Neil Flynn pointed free.
With the crowd roaring them on, Meath made that surge as players like Mickey Burke and Padraig Harnan augmented interval subs Graham Reilly and Niall Kane who departed late in the game with an arm injury.
Meath had started positively and had a Mickey Newman point on the board in the first minute, but that was as good as it got for the Royal County and they were playing catch-up for the remainder of the first-half against a very fast-moving Kildare side.
The Kildare men even survived the 10 minutes unscathed that Mick O'Grady (black card) was absent in the second-quater as they established a 1-7 to 0-5 interval advantage.
A paltry return of five Meath points is reflective of the chances they created in the opening 35 minutes with Newman adding a free to his tally while Ben Brennan (two, one free) and Darragh Campion hit the target.
Meath briefly had a goal chance, but a tight Kildare rearguard reacted quickly and the danger was averted.
Ben McCormack found the net for Kildare in the seventh minute when he ghosted past Seamus Lavin and he also claimed a point before departing in the 23rd minute due to injury, he was replaced by Adam Tyrrell.
All the KIldare scores were from play with the extra points from Neil Flynn and Jimmy Hyland (two each), Keith Cribbin and Tommy Moolick.
All the changed in the second-half and Meath took the points with that late penalty goal converted by Barry Dardis.
P W D L Diff Pts
Meath 5 4 0 1 +15 8
Fermanagh 5 3 2 0 +8 8
Donegal 5 3 0 2 -2 6
Kildare 5 2 1 2 +6 5
Armagh 5 1 2 2 -1 4
Clare 5 1 1 3 -3 3
Tipperary 5 1 1 3 -8 3
Cork 5 1 1 3 -15 3
Fifth round -
Meath 1-9 Kildare 1-8;
Fermanagh 0-12 Clare 0-9.
Cork 1-12, Tipperary 0-12;
Donegal 1-9, Armagh 0-11,
FULL-TIME CROWD REACTION