Clynch leads charge for Meath
Meath 0-16 Mayo 0-15
Meath booked their place in the semi-finals – but only just – after a nail-biting finish to this match at McHale Park.
The home side appeared to be on course for an upset when Kenny Feeney fired them level five minutes from time.
However, the superb free-taking of Stephen Clynch rescued the day for Meath, landing a massive 70-yard free on 70 minutes to snatch victory.
Mayo's gamble on dual-star Keith Higgins, playing his first game for the season, never paid off as the Ballyhaunis man, despite nailing a good point, was subdued for most of the second half.
Having traded scores for much of the first half, Mayo led by 0-10 to 0-9 at the interval.
The Royals hit the ground running on the restart to fire over five unanswered points and go clear by four – 0-15 to 0-11, Clynch with a free, a '65' and superb effort from play, while substitute Derek Doran and Caoimhe King also hit the target.
But Mayo came back with four unanswered points of their own, all from Feeney frees to draw level before Feeney, who missed two easy chances early in the second half, was adjudged to have fouled Clynch and the unerring striker, with No 6 on his back but playing up front, fired Meath into the last four.
SCORERS – Meath: S Clynch 0-8 (5fs, 2 '65s'), C King, W McGrath 0-2 each, S Heavey, S Whitty, D Doran J Meyler 0-1 each. Mayo: K Feeney 0-10 (9fs), F Boland 0-2, D Gallagher (f), S Regan, K Higgins 0-1 each.
MEATH – C Bird; C Reilly, N McLoughlin, D Donoghue; P Farrell, S Clynch, S Whitty; S Heavey, D Reilly; C King, J Toher, J Meyler; W McGrath, D Healy, S Morris. Subs: D Doran for D Reilly (25), S Doyle for D Healy (50), J Regan for J Meyler (69).
MAYO – D O'Brien; A Brennan, A Connolly, D Kenny; D Gallagher, K Higgins, P Barrett; C Charlton, B Higgins; G Nolan, D McDonnell, F Boland; K Feeney, S Regan, B Hunt. Subs: J Kennedy for B Higgins (38), E Collins for D McDonnell (41), S Hoban for B Hunt (64), D McTigue for F Boland (66).
REF – J O'Brien (Tipperary).