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Farrell pounces early to kickstart Royal stroll

SLIGO failed to beat 14 men for the second successive game as they produced a below-par display against a more determined Meath outfit at Pairc Tailteann.

In contrast to the draw with Donegal when they surrendered a substantial lead, Kevin Walsh's side were never in contention in this one and struggled to make an impression at any stage.

Meath finished with 14 after wing-back Cormac McGuinness picked up two yellow cards in quick succession late on. The game was well out of Sligo's reach at that stage, though -- the hosts took a firm grip early on and built up a match-winning lead.

A tap-in goal from Brian Farrell, after Conor Davey had earlier blocked a shot from Joe Sheridan on the line, put Meath into a 1-3 to 0-1 lead and Seamus McEnaney's side went on to lead 1-7 to 0-3 at the break.

They had a chance of a second goal close to the break but Sligo 'keeper Philip Greene brought off a fine save from McGuinness.

Adrian Marren notched Sligo's only point from play in the first half and the full-forward also had a goal disallowed after Eamonn O'Hara was adjudged to have fouled 'keeper Brendan Murphy.

The visitors fared only marginally better after the break and corner-back and captain Charlie Harrison ended a 27-minute barren spell with his side's first point of the second half.

Meath kept the scoreboard ticking over throughout that second period, with Shane O'Rourke, Graham Reilly, Shane McAnarney and Joe Sheridan all accounting for fine scores.

Substitute Alan Costello made an impression in attack for Sligo but they never looked like breaching a solid Meath defence.

The winners were full of running throughout and were on top in most departments against a disappointing Sligo, who lacked ideas, especially in attack.

Man of the Match -- Graham Reilly (Meath).

SCORERS -- Meath: S O'Rourke 0-4 (3f), B Farrell 1-0, G

Reilly, S McAnarney, J Sheridan 0-2 each, D Morgan, T

Walsh 0-1 each. Sligo: M Breheny (1f), A Costello (1f) 0-2

each, C Harrison, S Gilmartin, D Maye (f) and A Marren 0-1 each.

MEATH -- B Murphy 7; G O'Brien 7, K Reilly 7, C King 6; S Kenny 7, B Meade 7, C McGuinness 6; M Ward 7, C Gillespie 7; S McAnarney 7, B Farrell 5, G Reilly 8; D Morgan 6, J Sheridan 7, S O'Rourke 7. Subs: A Nestor 5 for Farrell (61), N Crawford 5 for Ward (63), T Walsh 6 for Morgan (64), C Ward 5 for G Reilly (69), D Dalton for King (70).

SLIGO -- P Greene 7; C Harrison 8, C Davey 4, R Donovan 6; K Cawley 5, M Quinn 5, P McGovern 6; T Taylor 6, S Gilmartin 6; M Breheny 7, E O'Hara 6, F Quinn 6; D Maye 6, A Marren 6, D Kelly 6. Subs: B Kennedy 6 for Davey (19), S Davey 6 for Marren (h-t), A Costello 7 for Cawley (48), B Egan 5 for Quinn (52), P Hughes 5 for Maye (60).

REF -- R Hickey (Clare).

Irish Independent