Thursday 20 June 2019

Nothing 'extra' to give as the Minors suffer Leinster exit

Leinster MFC: Westmeath 2-15 Meath 1-14

Sean Wall

There was heartbreak for the Meath minor footballers in this quarter-final tie as they exited the Leinster campaign in the cruellest of fashion at Cusack Park in Mullingar on Saturday.

The holders led entering added time but were unable to hold on and two points in the four added minutes from the hosts left it at 1-13 apiece and forced the game to extra time.

Westmeath then seized the initiative in the additional 20 minutes as Meath only managed to add a single point to their tally.

Meath did have opportunities to win the game, but they spurned three good goal opportunities in the opening half and then seemed to panic in extra time by going for goals when points were the better option.

The opening half was a disjointed affair as both sides struggled with a swirling breeze, but at half-time it was Westmeath who led 0-7 to 0-4. Meath failed to score from play in the half, relying on Eoghan Frayne to convert two frees and a '45, while Niall Finnerty was also on the mark.

Ben McGauran added two points to the three he scored in the opening half as Westmeath remained in front throughout the third quarter. Dan Leech and Fionn O'Hara were also on target with points, while Meath stayed in touch with points from Frayne (three) and Finnerty.

Westmeath still led by three entering the final quarter - 0-11 to 0-8 - but Meath then hit a purple patch after a point from sub Barry Thompson on 47 minutes. Finnerty then scored a superb individual goal and this was followed by points from captain Josh Carolan and Frayne to push the Royals into a 1-11 to 0-11 lead with four minutes of normal time remaining.

At that stage Meath looked to have done enough to secure a semi-final spot, but Westmeath responded with a goal from O'Hara to draw level.

There was further drama to come, with Frayne hitting a brace of points to restore the Meath lead. Westmeath, though, were not to be denied and scores from McGauran and Luke Buckley forced the game to extra time.

During those 20 extra minutes Meath managed a solitary Niall Finnerty point from play that gave them the lead. That was wiped out when a speculative effort from Shane Reid ended in the net and it left Westmeath leading by 2-13 to 1-14 as the sides changed ends for the final time.

Meath created some good early chances in the second period of extra time, but they opted to go for goals and drew a blank on the scoreboard.

Buckley and Cillian Lawlor added points for Westmeath and that effectively sealed Meath's fate.

Westmeath: Jamie Mulkearns; Daire Smyth, Dylan Fagan, Ciaran Daly; Darragh Seery, Eamonn Martin 0-1, Josh Gahan; Conor Gibney, Fionn O'Hara 1-2; Adam Treanor, Luke Buckley 0-3 (1f), Devin Hill; Ben McGauran 0-6 (3f), Shane Reid 1-1, Dan Leech 0-1. Subs: Cillian Lawlor 0-1 for Smyth (21), Mark Flynn for Fagan (h-t), Brendan Killian for Hill (50), Jamie Corcoran for Killian, Ronan Hanley for Leech, Darren Mnguni for Reid (all e-t).

Meath: Dean Pluck (Ballinabrackey); Jamie Fagan (Kilmainhamwood), James McGovern (Drumbaragh), Harry Corscadden (Meath Hill); Sean O'Donoghue (St Colmcille's), Aaron Chinchilla (Simonstown), Adam McDonnell (Summerhill); Josh Carolan 0-1 (Simonstown), Endi Ehichoya (St Colmcille's); Cillian Hegarty (Donaghmore/Ashbourne), Niall Finnerty 1-3, 2f (Skryne), Evan Corrigan (Wolfe Tones); Shane Smyth (Skryne), David Bell (St Colmcille's), Eoghan Frayne 0-9, 6f, 1'45(Summerhill). Subs: Pearse Sheridan (Oldcastle) for Corrigan (28), Barry Thompson 0-1 (Ballinabrackey) for Ehichoya (h-t), Jamie Browne (Donaghmore/Ashbourne) for Sheridan (50), Harry Ryan (Ballinlough) for Bell (59), Aitzol King (St Patrick's) for Carolan (BC 59), Brian Cassidy (Kilmainhamwood) for Chinchilla (e-t).

REF: David Fedigan (Louth)

Drogheda Independent