McCormack's Meath maintain perfect start
Ailbhe Leahy and Marion Farrelly struck first-half goals as Meath shrugged off a determined Waterford challenge at a blustery Fraher Field and made it three wins from three in NFL Div 1 with a 2-10 to 2-5 victory, writes Tomas McCarthy.
Two-time All-star Emma Duggan shot six points for the Royals, four frees and two from play, in a great duel with Emma Murray on the edge of the square. Déise dual star Mairéad O'Brien netted twice but Pat Sullivan's side suffered their third straight defeat in the top flight.
Waterford won the toss and captain Kellyann Hogan elected to play with the wind in the first half. Four goals arrived in the opening eleven minutes.
Meath made a blistering start as Ailbhe Leahy, who was a late replacement for the absent Meadhbh Byrne, lashed the ball to the net after just 30 seconds.
The home side hit back straight away as the towering O'Brien flicked a high ball from Aine O'Neill to the back of the net.
O'Brien got her second goal in the ninth minute after she was set up by Lauren McGregor and Eve Power. It was her third goal in two games, but Waterford's lead didn't last long as Marion Farrelly fired home her second goal in two games two minutes later to make it 2-1 to 2-0.
The goals dried up for the rest of the half as four Emma Duggan points (three frees) kept the Royals ahead as Farrelly also rattled the Waterford crossbar.
Lauren McGregor and Kellyann Hogan converted frees for the hosts while Katie Murray saw her effort saved by Monica McGuirk as Meath led 2-6 to 2-3 at the break.
Duggan split the posts from 40 metres within two minutes of the restart to stretch Meath's lead.
Waterford substitute Clare Walsh pointed at the other end with her first touch, but Meath maintained their stranglehold on the contest as Shelly Melia and Duggan saw Shane McCormack's charges stay four in front entering the closing stages.
The Déise missed two late frees before Meath substitute Rachel Casserly wrapped up the win with a 65th minute point to maintain the Royals perfect start.
Meath - Emma Duggan 0-6 four frees; Marion Farrelly 1-0; Ailbhe Leahy 1-0; Rachel Casserly 0-1; Shelly Melia 0-1; Ciara Smyth 0-1; Niamh Gallogly 0-1.
Waterford - M O'Brien 2-0; L McGregor 0-2 two frees; K Hogan 0-2 two frees; C Walsh 0-1.
Meath - Monica McGuirk; Katie Newe, Aine Sheridan, Nicole Troy; Niamh Gallogly, Mary Kateb Lynch, Aoibhin Cleary; Maire O'Shaughnessy, Shelly Melia; Megan Thynne, Ella Moyles, Ciara Smyth; Ailbhe Leahy, Marion Farrelly, Emma Duggan. Subs - Lisa Young for Smyth 43m, Seona Lynch for Leahy 55m, Rachel Casserly for Farrelly 61m, Tori Foster for Melia 66m
Waterford - E O'Brien; H Power, E Murray, A Murray; A O'Neill, E Power, A McNulty; M O'Brien, C Carroll; C McCarthy, K McGrath, K Hogan; B McMaugh, K Murray, L McGregor. Subs - C Murray for Hogan 11m, K Hogan for C Murray 16m, C Murray for McCarthy half-time, A Brazil for McMaugh, C Walsh for Carroll both 41m, M Comerford for McGrath 56m, A Waring for K Murray 57m.
Referee - Kevin Phelan (Laois).