Cork deep in relegation trouble as Meath ease to win at Páirc Uí Rinn
Cork 1-9 Meath 2-12
The meeting of top and bottom in Division 2 followed the formlines as Meath surged clear of Cork in the second half at Páirc Uí Rinn tonight.
An unanswered burst of 1-4 over an 11-minute spell midway through the second period made the game safe, wing-back Gavin McCoy marking his first competitive start with a palmed goal following a well-worked move. That left Andy McEntee’s side 1-11 to 0-6 in front and though Cork did have a late goal from sub Seán Powter, a comeback was never likely.
Before a crowd of 1,817 – the game was preceded by a ladies’ league tie, Tipperary beating Cork – Meath began well. Bryan Menton opened the scoring from a good Darragh Campion pass, and the midfielder should have doubled the lead but dropped his shot into the hands of Cork goalkeeper Micheál Martin, a late replacement for Mark White.
While Cork sought to drop deep, Meath were making good use of possession and Ben Brennan sent over a free to make it 0-2 to 0-0. Though Ruairí Deane got Cork off the mark, Meath had the next three points, all frees by Michael Newman.
Michael Hurley, who had earlier been off-target after winning a mark, pulled one back for Cork, having been found by a nice Kevin Crowley crossfield pass, but Brennan replied for Meath, scoring his second on 24 minutes to make it 0-6 to 0-2.
Though 11 minutes remained until half-time, it proved to be the Royals’ last score of the first period. Corner-back Conor Dennehy landed a booming effort for Cork before Luke Connolly converted a free on the half-hour.
At the other end, Cillian O’Sullivan was unlucky to see his free come back off the post while Meath lost Menton to a black card and Brennan to injury. A good Connolly point in injury time had Cork back to within one, but Meath should have had a goal before the half was out.
A good move ended with O’Sullivan placing Bryan McMahon, but unfortunately for the corner-forward the ball hit the side-netting.
Graham Reilly ended the mini-drought on the resumption but though Michael Hurley replied on 38, Cork wouldn’t score for another 27 minutes. In between, Meath put daylight between the sides as Thomas O’Reilly, Newman and Cillian O’Sullivan pointed before the goal.
Shane McEntee, O’Sullivan and McMahon were all involved, allowing McCoy an easy task and with an eight-point lead the win was as good as assured.
Cork did finally manage to add to their tally when sub Seán Powter palmed home a handpass from another replacement, Mark Collins, and though a pair of Collins frees brought Cork to within four as five minutes of injury time dawned, Meath struck again.
After forcing a turnover as Cork tried to play out, Newman could have shot but he opted to give sub Barry Dardis the easy task of tapping in.
Scorers – Meath: M Newman 0-4 (3f), B Dardis 1-1, G McCoy 1-0, B Brennan (1f), B Menton 0-2 each, G Reilly, C O’Sullivan, T O’Reilly 0-1 each; Cork: S Powter 1-0, M Hurley, L Connolly (1f), M Collins (2f) 0-2 each, M Taylor, R Deane, C Dennehy 0-1 each.
Meath: A Colgan; S Lavin, C McGill, R Ryan; G McCoy, D Keogan, S Gallagher; B Menton, S McEntee; C O’Sullivan, D Campion, B Brennan; B McMahon, M Newman, T O’Reilly. Subs: G Reilly for Brennan (32, injured), E Devine for Campion (52), N Kane for McCoy (63), A Flanagan for McEntee (67).
Cork: M Martin; S Ryan, K Flahive, C Dennehy; K Crowley, Thomas Clancy, P Walsh; I Maguire, K O’Hanlon; R O’Toole, L Connolly, M Taylor; P Kerrigan, R Deane, M Hurley. Subs: M Collins for Connolly (43), B Hurley for Walsh (46), Tomás Clancy for Crowley (51), S Powter for M Hurley (53), E McSweeney for O’Toole (62).
Referee: F Kiely (Longford).