Thursday 23 May 2019

A trophy for the Royals, finally

LGA Lidl NFL: Meath 4-11 Sligo 1-7

After losing out in the finals of both the league and championship in 2018, Meath bounced back to secure the LIDL Division 3 title and promotion to the second tier at St Tiernach's Park, Clones, on Saturday.

When the counties clashed earlier in the campaign Meath had 10 points to spare, 1-13 to 1-3, but this was an even more comprehensive win for Eamonn Murray's charges. They bossed the exchanges from the opening whistle and always looked likely to make amends for last year's defeat.

Meath made a great start to proceedings, with a goal inside four minutes. It was minor star Emma Duggan who finished to the net from a Shauna Ennis pass after Sligo keeper Noelle Gormley kept out an effort from Vikki Wall.

Sligo had plenty of possession throughout the half, but it was Meath who made the most of the chances that came their way and by half-time they had built up a very handy 1-6 to 0-1 lead.

Duleek-Bellewstown's Monica McGuirk made a great save to deny Emma Kevany in that opening half.

Star forward Katie Walsh had mixed fortunes from frees for Sligo and the game was 24 minutes old before she eventually opened her side's account from in front of the posts.

Niamh Gallogly and Seneschalstown's Stacey Grimes had earlier added points for Meath and Grimes and Duggan helped extend the lead to eight points by half-time.

Any hopes Sligo had disappeared within two minutes of the restart when Meath tightened their grip on proceedings with three quick-fire goals.

Stacey Grimes struck first 15 seconds in the half and that was followed by a fine effort from Kesley Nesbitt who had been sin-binned in the opening half. Duggan then set up full forward Nesbitt for her second goal to give Meath an unassailable advantage.

Emma Kevany had Sligo's first point from play on 35 minutes and they eventually found a way through a solid Meath rearguard when Lauren Boles netted. However that was only a consolation score as Meath powered on to an impressive win.

MEATH: M McGuirk; K Newe, S Powderly, S Ennis; S Wall, A Cleary 0-1, N Gallogly 0-1; M O'Shaughnessy, O Lally 0-1; V Wall 0-1, E Duggan 1-2, M Thynne 0-1; E White, K Nesbitt 2-0, S Grimes 1-4 (2f). Subs: O Byrne for White (46), O Duff for Newe (55), K Byrne for Lally (55), B Lynch for Nesbitt (57), N Sheridan for S Wall (60).

Drogheda Independent