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Royals make it five

Meath carved out a hard-fought victory over Wicklow in Roundwood to claim the title for a fifth time in a row.

The Royals were first off the mark when full-forward Brian Davis pointed after two minutes. Wicklow dominated the remainder of the first half, up to the last minute when Meath's Brian McMahon levelled before the break (0-5 each).

Wicklow's Conor McKenna hit the post and Paddy Crowley's rebound was blocked out for a fruitless 45.

More clinical with their chances, Meath regained the lead in the first seven minutes of the second half with points by David Donnellan and Aaron Ennis, both from frees.

The best that Wicklow could achieve was to narrow the gap to a point but, in injury-time, Davis scored a mighty point for Meath, a score that underlined the gulf between the sides.

Scorers -- Meath: B Davis 0-3 (1f), B McMahon, R Farrelly 0-2 each, A Ennis (f), D Donnellan (f), S McEntee 0-1 each. Wicklow: T Smith 0-6 (3f), P Crowley 0-2.

Meath -- C O'Riordan, C Finn, C McGill, D Murtagh, J Welby, S Melia, P Haslam, N Shortall, S McEntee, D Donnellan, A Ennis, R Farrelly, P Lynch, B Davis, B McMahon. Subs: A Gannon for Lynch, G Deary for Murtagh, P McGrath for Ennis, J Farrelly for Haslam.

Wicklow -- P Miley, M O'Brien, J Manley, J Snell, J O'Brien, K Manahan, P Geoghegan, J Henderson, C McGraynor, J Kelly, T Smith, S Olohan, S Magee, P Crowley, C McKenna. Subs: S Duffy for Snell, A Conway for Olohan, D Gammell for Henderson, D Keane for Magee, J Doyle for McKenna.

Ref -- D Brazil (Offaly).

Irish Independent