Meath boss John McCarthy praises his U20 players after championship win over Longford

Longford 0-4 Meath 0-12

Captain Eoghan Frayne was in fine form for Meath against Longford. Picture: Sportsfile

Seán WallDrogheda Independent

MEATH boss John McCarthy reaped praise on his side after they overcame the hosts and the elements in this Leinster U20 FC Group 1 tie at Allen Park, Clonguish, last Tuesday evening.

McCarthy said after the win that it wasn’t all about football in the testing conditions, with the game spoiled by the driving wind and rain that persisted throughout.

“It was a night that if you only went half at it you would be found out so I was delighted with the character the lads showed,” McCarthy said: “It was as much about the mental approach and the lads battled really hard and brought great energy and intensity to the game and chased down every ball.”

Meath held a 0-8 to 0-2 lead at half-time after having the elements in their favour in that first half and considering the ferocity of the wind, Longford were by no means out of it at that stage.

“I knew we would play equally as well in the second half because of the work rate the lads have and they are really good running with the ball. In the second half we controlled the game really well.

“That was the happiest part of the whole night, the way we played in the second half. We played it clever and we asked them to stick to a plan which they did. Our energy and work rate around the middle third was better in the second half.’

Meath adapted much better to the conditions and were always in the driving seat after Oisín Keogh pointed them ahead inside 10 seconds.

Captain Eoghan Frayne led the line well in attack with a tally of six points, five from frees, while target man Keogh bagged three points in an impressive display.

There were plenty of other fine individual performances from the likes of Liam Kelly, John Finnerty, John O’Regan, Seán Emmanuel, Conor Gray and Ciarán Caulfield.

At the midpoint of the opening half, it was 0-6 to 0-1, with Frayne contributing four of those scores.

Keogh and Caulfield extended the lead to seven by the 20th minute before Longford enjoyed a spell of dominance which yielded just a single point from Matthew Flynn.

Jamie Brady-Hynes hit the opening score of the second half from a free for the hosts and their only other score came at the three quarter way stage, also from a free, by Michael Flynn.

Kinsella and Keogh kept the scoreboard ticking over for Meath while their two remaining points came from the boot of Summerhill man Frayne.

LONGFORD: Oisín McManus; Darragh Finlass, Seán Moran, Cian Sutton; Ronan Courtney, Dylan Lynch, Ross Shields; Ben Lynn, Matt Duffy; Matthew Flynn 0-1, Micheál Hynes, Gavin Farrelly; Michael Flynn 0-1 (1f), Jamie Brady-Hynes 0-2 (1f), Caolan Lynch. Subs: Oisín O’Toole for C Lynch (20), Conor Smith for Shields (HT), Pádraig Boyle for Courtney (36), John Sorohan for Matthew Flynn (45).

MEATH: Billy Hogan; Brian O’Halloran, Liam Kelly, John Finnerty, Brian O’Reilly, John O’Regan, Shaun Leonard; Jack Kinlough, Conor Gray; Ciarán Caulfield 0-2, Eoghan Frayne 0-6 (5f), Liam Stafford; Seán Emmanuel, Oisín Keogh 0-3, Ruairí Kinsella 0-1. Subs: Tom Bowden for Emmanuel (42), John McDonagh for Stafford (54), Oisín McDermott for Hogan (56), Ben Moran for Finnerty (57), Conor Ennis for Caulfield (60).

REFEREE: Alan Coyle (Westmeath)