Down dash Royal County ambitions
They trailed all the way and in the end Meath's hopes of advancing to an All-Ireland Intermediate Camogie final were dashed 0-14 to 0-8 by Down at Clones today.
Physically strong and skilful the Mourne County side led 0-6 to 0-2 at the interval and continued on the road to victory in the second-half quelling a spirited Meath revival that ultimately fell short.
At one stage in the second-half Meath trailed by 0-4 to 0-11 but they hit back - thanks mainly to the superb free-taking of Aoife Minogue - to reduce the deficit to three with five minutes remaining but it was Down who finished stronger.
Meath took some time to get into the game and the fact that they could only manage two points from play in the opening half underlined the difficulties they had.
Sinead Hackett and Aedin Slattery fired over Meath's first-half scores with Minogue registering five from frees in the second-half. Aoife Maguire also came on to fire over an excellent point from play after the break but they needed more.
Paul O'Hagan was Down's consistent free-taker and she finished up with six points, five frees, one '45.'
Down were physically imposing and they could put together some very enterprising pacy moves as well with Sorcha McCartan, Sara Louise Graffin and Niamh Mallon firing over points for the red and black at regular intervals.
Meath rarely threatened to get the goal they so badly needed and there can be few arguments that the better team on the day won.
Down - Paula O'Hagan 0-6 five frees, one '45'; Sorcha McCartan 0-3; Niamh Mallon 0-3; Sara Louise Graffin 0-2.
Meath - Aoife Minogue 0-5 frees; Aedin Slattery 0-1; Sinead Hackett 0-1; Aoife Maguire 0-1.
Meath - Maggie Randle; Sophia Payne, Claire Coffey, Louise Donoghue; Tracy King, Maeve Clince, Aine Keogh; Kristina Troy, Cheyenne O'Brien; Aoife Minogue, Aedin Slattery, Leah Dennehy; Megan Thynne, Sinead Hackett, Jane Dolan. Subs - Aoife Maguire for Dennehy 42 mins, Amy Gaffney for Keogh 47m.
Down - Catherine McGourty; Catriona Caldwell, Dearbhla Magee, Danielle Harrison; Beth Fitzpatrick, Karen McMullan, Fionnuala Carr; Aoife Keown, Paul O'Hagan; Aimee McAleenan, Sara Louise Graffin, Saoirse Sands; Niamh Mallon, Lauren Clarke, Sorcha McCartan. Subs - Clara Cowan for Sands 24mins, Catherine Rocks for Fitzpatrick 65m.
Referee - Philip McDonald (Cavan).