Wednesday 21 March 2018


Man of the match

Graham Reilly (Meath)

It had to be a Reilly for Meath. Full-back Kevin defended resolutely throughout, but it was Graham's electrifying pace through the middle from midfield that gave his team a decisive edge either side of half-time. He scored five points in a new role and caused general havoc.

Turning point

Nothing obvious, but, for Meath, not allowing Wicklow's lead to go beyond five points must have been important. In that sense, their third point for 0-7 to 0-3, involving two debutants -- Alan Forde's pass for Mark Collins -- had positive consequences. Meath won the rest of the game by 0-13 to 0-4.

Talking point

The fact that there isn't one is a talking point in itself. This fixture was being spoken of as a banana skin for Meath, but they kept their balance well.

Magic moment

Graham Reilly's last point was the stand-out moment. Brian Meade caught David Gallagher's kick-out, offloaded quickly to Reilly who raced 30 metres before slicing over with the outside of his right foot on the run.

Ref watch

Pretty seamless for Padraig Hughes until a few decisions in the last quarter went awry. Overall, though, nothing to tax him greatly.

What they said

Seamus McEnaney

(Meath manager):

"There has been a lot of talk, full stop. For me, we never lost our focus for this match. When we came back into training there was only one thing in our head and that was playing Wicklow here in Carlow on May 27, nothing else. What was said outside of our group is totally irrelevant."

Harry Murphy

(Wicklow manager):

"We started quite well but Meath's power came into it. They're big all over the place. When they started coming at us we didn't have much in defence. They took over midfield, Graham Reilly killed us coming at us all day."

Match statistics

Wides: Meath 9 (4 first half); Wicklow 8 (2).

Frees: Meath 23 (11); Wicklow 20 (8). Yellow cards: Meath 3 (B Meade 50, P Byrne 75, B Farrell 77). Wicklow 6 (Seanie Furlong 35, J Stafford 53, 66, S Byrne 60, J Bolger 65, R Finn 75).

Red cards: Meath 0; Wicklow 1 (J Stafford 66).

Attendance: 7,350.

What next?

Meath meet Carlow in a Leinster quarter-final on June 10 in Tullamore, Wicklow have a first-round qualifier date on the weekend of June 29/30.

Irish Independent

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