Double delight for debutant McGowan eases Meath home
Meath 3-18 Wicklow 2-12
A two-goal salvo from championship debutant Gavin McGowan helped Meath to a comfortable victory at Trim.
The Ratoath man, who ended with 2-2, struck with the opening goal of the game when latching on to a Stephen Morris delivery after six minutes. He then doubled his tally on the half-hour mark with a low drive that went in off a post.
The Royals played into the breeze in the first half but dominated proceedings and were ahead 2-8 to 1-3 at the break. The Wicklow goal arrived on the stroke of half-time from Padraig Doran.
Meath extended their lead at the start of the second half when full-forward Neil Heffernan netted following a great run by Adam Gannon.
That left the hosts leading 3-9 to 1-4, and Wicklow, who hit 14 wides, never seriously threatened to get back into contention.
That said, Meath goalkeeper Shane McGann did produce several fine saves before being beaten late on by John Henderson's late consolation.
SCORERS - Meath: G McGowan 2-2, N Heffernan 1-3, A Gannon 0-5 (2f), S Morris 0-4, J Toher 0-3 (1f), M O'Grady 0-1. Wicklow: J Henderson, P Doran 1-0 each, M Lee (2fs), D Staunton 0-3 each, C Moorhouse (1f, 1 '65'), D Masterson (1f, 1 '65') 0-2 each, G Weir, E Kearns 0-1 each.
MEATH - S McGann; C Reilly, D Donoghue, S Whitty; S Brennan, D Healy, K Keoghan; S Heavey, S Morris; J Toher, K Keena, A Gannon; G McGowan, N Heffernan, S Quigley. Subs: M O'Grady for Keena (52), J Walsh for Quigley (54), S Geraghty for Brennan (58), L Martyn for Gannon (65).
WICKLOW - D O'Neill; L Maloney, B Cuddihy, C O Dulachain; P Keane, J Henderson, M O'Brien; R Keddy, E Kearns; P Doran, S Kelly, D Masterson; C Moorhouse, A Byrne, M Lee. Subs: D Staunton for Keddy (42), G Weir for Masterson (45), E Dunne for O'Brien (50), E McCormack for Moorhouse (66).
REF - J O'Brien (Tipperary)