Kirby the Royal hero
Two goals from Noel Kirby and the accuracy of Neil Hackett from frees saw Meath take the spoils at Banagher on Saturday.
The early stages were nip and tuck with the sides locked at 0-4 apiece after 20 minutes. However, with Alan Grant rattling over three points from play, Derry led by 0-8 to 0-4 by the half hour mark, Paddy Henry contributing two great long-range scores.
But the towering Kirby fielded the ball on the edge of the square on 31 minutes and blasted past Darryl McDermott in the Derry goal, as the Oak Leafers led at the break 0-9 to 1-5.
The start of the second half was all Meath and by the 45-minute mark they led by 2-10 to 0-10, with Kirby raising the green flag for a second time. From there, the result was never in doubt, Hackett keeping the Royals' scoreline ticking over as the visitors eased home.
Scorers -- Meath: N Hacket 0-8, (0-7f, 0-1 '65), N Kirby 2-0, N Mullally, P Keogh 0-2 each, D Kirby, S Donoghue, P Durnin, K Fagan 0-1 each. Derry: A Grant, P Henry (0-1f), S McBride 0-4 each, R Convery 0-3 (0-2f).
Meath -- S Quinn; M Foley, E Fitzgerald, D Donoghue; M Horan, P Fagan, D Kirby; S Donoghue, S Clynch; P Keogh, N Kirby, N Hackett; P Durnin, N Horan, M Mullaly. Subs: K Fagan for Clynch (ht), B Slevin for Durnin (57), J Boyle for Donoghue (63).
Derry -- D McDermott; E Farren, E McKeever, R McCloskey; C McCloskey, P O'Kane, C Brunton; S McNicholl, K Hinphey; A Grant, O McCloskey, P Henry; P McCloskey, R Convery, S McBride. Subs: G Kelly for McNicholl (62), D McCloskey for Farren (62).
Ref -- R Matthews (Antrim)