Byrne nicks it for Meath
While their form away from Navan may leave a lot to be desired, Meath continue to grind out results at Pairc Tailteann and recorded another narrow success at the expense of Laois on Saturday.
Laois arrived on the back of a much-improved showing against Westmeath the previous week and they made much of the running here. But Meath's fighting spirit ensured they poked their noses in front at the end.
Although Laois led for most of the contest, some fine second-half points from Cian Ward as well as a sublime sideline kick from Joe Sheridan hauled the Royal County back on level terms with five minutes remaining. And late points from Michael Burke and substitute Peadar Byrne swayed the verdict in their favour.
The first half was a dull affair. The visitors' goal arrived in the 25th minute when Billy Sheehan rose above Meath 'keeper Paddy O'Rourke to fist a Cathal Óg Greene centre to the net. That gave Laois a 1-4 to 0-5 lead and they were still in front at the change of ends thanks to a pointed Donie Kingston free.
Meath did manage to reduce the first-half damage to a point with Sheridan and Ollie Lewis raising white flags after the break. Shane O'Rourke made his first competitive start in over two years and he freshened up Meath's attack scoring two fine points.
Laois finished the game with 14 men as Michael John Tierney was dismissed with four minutes remaining after picking up a second yellow card. It didn't make much difference to the final outcome though as the late points had landed Meath the spoils.
scorers -- Meath: C Ward (2f, 1 '45'), O Lewis, Joe Sheridan (1sl) 0-3 each, S O'Rourke 0-2, P Byrne , M Burke 0-1 each. Laois: B Sheehan 1-1, D Kingston 0-4 (4f), MJ Tierney, C Begley, C Rogers, P O'Leary 0-1 each.
Meath -- P O'Rourke; C O'Connor, N McKeigue, E Harrington; A Moyles, C McGuinness, M Burke; N Crawford, M Ward; S Kenny, S O'Rourke, O Lewis; C Ward, J Sheridan, S Bray. Subs: P Byrne for McGuinness (55), B Meade for M Ward (55)
Laois -- M Dowling; J Scully, D Booth, C Healy; D Strong, M Timmons, C Begley; B Quigley, C Óg Greene; B Sheehan, C Rogers, K Meaney; MJ Tierney, D Kingston, N Donoher. Subs: P McMahon for Healy (50), P O'Leary for Rogers (57), P Lalor for Donoher (64), D Rooney for Óg Greene (68).
Ref -- JMcKee (Armagh).