FITZSIMONS CUP: MEATH 1-10 CAVAN 0-10. MICK O'DOWD'S first competitive outing as new Meath manager proved a winning one as the hosts overcame neighbours Cavan in the Fitzsimons Cup FT at Grangegodden, Kells on Sunday.
In what was a mixture of experienced players and relative newcomers, Paddy O'Rourke resumed in goals for the Royals after an absence of more than a year. His cousin Shane who has been out of action even longer with a career - threatening injury was among the subs though he is not expected to return to competitive action until early in the new year.
There was also starts for Summerhill duo Caolan Young and Davy Dalton, Cormac Rowe of Syddan, Stephen Crosby (Drumconrath) and former Drogheda United player Darragh McNamara.
Kilmainham's Michael Newman lined out at full forward and scored three points while the crucial goal was scored by Brian Sheridan five minutes from the finish. First half substitute Sean Tobin showed up well and managed two points, the second of which came from a free.
It was a dour enough contest in difficult conditions but never-theless a competitive outing as a hard hitting Cavan dominated for most of the opening half but eventually ran out of attacking ideas as Meath upped the tempo from the restart.
The Breffni men were never headed in the opening period and led 06 to 0-5 at the break, with half of that tally coming from corner forward Niall McDermott. The hosts could never get a decent supply of possession around the middle of the field but scores were difficult to come by at both ends.
Newman's second point after halftime put Meath ahead for the first time, though Cavan were back level at 0-8 each at the three quarter way stage.
Wing back Ciaran Lenehan scored two second half points before Sheridan struck for what proved to be the winning score. Cavan went in search of a match-saving goal in the closing stages but Oisin O'Connell's effort was well smothered by Eoghan Harrington. MEATH: Paddy O'Rourke; Caolan Young (Summerhill), Donal Keogan, Davy Dalton (Summerhill); Cormac Rowe (Syddan), Darren Hagan (St Patrick's), Ciaran Lenehan 0-2; Brian Meade, Conor Gillespie; Stephen Crosby (Drumconrath), Damien Carroll 0-1, Darragh McNamara (Drumbaragh); Cian Ward 02 (2f), Michael Newman (Kilmainham) 0-3 (1f), Brian Sheridan 1-0. Subs: Sean Tobin (Simonstown) 0-2 (1f) for Ward (30), Eoghan Harrington for Meade (62). CAVAN: A O'Meara; J Hughes, P Carroll, N O'Reilly; P Reilly 0-1, J McEnroe, D O'Reilly; G McKiernan, T Corr 0-2; C Mackey, M Reilly, M McKeever, K Meehan, K Tierney 0-1, N McDermott 0-3 (1f). Subs: E Keating 0-2, O O'Connell 0-1. REFEREE: Sean Carroll (Westmeath)