Dardis goals key for Meath
THE ability to score goals proved crucial as Meath saw off Offaly in Tullamore.
Meath deserved their win, even if the final scoreline flattered them.
Football, however, is all about taking your chances and Meath did this to much greater effect. A second-minute goal from Barry Dardis gave them the initiative against the wind in the first half and that score proved instrumental as they led by 1-3 to 0-5 at half-time.
Offaly came out with all guns blazing in the second half and quickly went into a 0-7 to 1-3 lead. Goals from Patrick Kennelly and Dardis again in a three-minute spell gave Meath a 3-3 to 0-7 lead and really put them in the driving seat.
Offaly did battle with great spirit, but they missed a succession of goal chances before four points on the trot put Meath out of sight. Joe Maher got a late consolation goal for Offaly, but their evening ended on a low note when forward Peter Cunningham was red-carded.
SCORERS -- Meath: B Dardis 2-1, P Kennelly 1-0, F Ward 0-3 (1f), J McEntee, J Daly 0-2 each, R O'Coilleain, C O'Sullivan, K Griffin 0-1 each. Offaly: J Maher 1-4 (1f), P Cunningham 0-2, J Kavanagh (1f), R McNamee 0-1 each.
MEATH -- J Hannigan; D Smyth, B Power, J O'Malley; N Kane, S McEntee, R O'Coilleain; P Harnan, A Flanagan; C O'Sullivan, P Donnellan, J McEntee; B Dardis, P Kennelly, F Ward. Subs: A Neary for Kane (h-t), J Daly for Donnellan (44), S Coogan for Kennelly (53), D Toner for O'Malley (57), K Griffin for J McEntee (60).
OFFALY -- C Clancy; S Moriarty, J Quinn, B Grehan; E Carroll, L Kelly, D Corbett; C Cahill, C McNamee; J Kavanagh, O Cusack, P Cunningham; R McNamee J Maher, R Reynolds. Subs : M Kirwan for Corbett (32), S Lawless for Reynolds (43).
REF -- J Hickey (Carlow).