Royals rally but to no avail
Meath 0-14 Cavan 0-12
Meath took the bragging rights but no more as results elsewhere meant their two point win over Cavan wasn’t enough to see them return to the top flight.
The Royals finished strongly to secure the spoils with Mickey Newman leading the way with a six point haul.
However Down’s win over Laois and Roscommon’s victory in Mullingar meant the Connacht side went up on the basis of their head to head record against the Royals.
The first half was dominated by some desperate shooting. By the short whistle, the sides had managed 20 wides between them with Cavan accounting for 11 of those. The last action of the half summed up much of the play in front of goals as the otherwise excellent Padraic Harnan punched wide from in front of goal when a goal chance seemed on.
Still the Royals took a 0-6 to 0-5 lead in at the break thanks to two superb Shane O’Rourke scores towards the end of the half.
At the other end, Martin Reilly was doing the most damage for Cavan and he hit two points from play to help the visitors into a 0-5 to 0-3 lead after 30 mins. However, the Royals finished strongly to take a narrow lead in at the break.
The tit for tat nature of the game continued though Cavan will rue a brilliant Donnacha Tobin block that denied Cian Mackey a certain goal.
Meath trailed by three with 15 minutes to go but recovered to take the win but it was to no avail as the Royals fell just short of promotion for the second year running.
SCORERS - Meath: M Newman 0-6 (4f), S O’Rourke, S Bray, 0-2 each, J McEntee, B Menton, M Burke, E Wallace 0-1 each.
Cavan: M Dunne (2f), M O’Reilly (1f) 0-3 each, G McKiernan, T Corr, J McEnroe, N Murray, D McVeety, D O’Reilly 0-1 each.
Meath: P O’Rourke; D Tobin, C McGill, J McEntee; M Burke, D Dalton, B Power; C Gillespie, A Flanagan; G Reilly, P Harnan, M O’Sullivan; M Newman, S Bray, S O’Rourke SUBS: B Menton for McEntee (26), J Wallace for O’Sullivan (27), E Wallace for O’Rourke (55), D Carroll for Harnan (68).
Cavan: J Farrelly; J McLoughlin, K Brady, R Dunne; J McEnroe, D O’Reilly, F Flanagan; T Corr, G McKiernan; D McVeety, R Flanagan, M Reilly; C Mackey, M Dunne, B Fitzpatrick SUBS: C Conroy for Brady (ht), M Argue for Fitzpatrick (50), N Murray for McEnroe (52), T Hayes for Dunne (58), J Brady for Flanagan (66).
Referee: B Cassidy (Derry)