McDonagh goal puts end to students' rally
MEATH 4-11 DIT 1-14
First-half goals from Michael Newman and Dalton McDonagh eased Meath to victory at Pairc Tailteann.
In a low-key affair, referee Fergal Barry didn't have cause to flash any black cards -- he only issued two yellow cards.
Meath, who welcomed back Shane O'Rourke and Davy Dalton following lengthy injuries, went ahead through Graham Reilly on three minutes and never relinquished their lead.
The advantage stretched to eight points early in the second half but the students managed to reduce the gap to three near the end. The hosts were able to move up the gears when required and they responded to DIT's late surge with McDonagh finding the net on the stroke of full-time.
Earlier, Eamon Wallace set up the opening goal for Newman, who then made the opening for McDonagh's maximum on 22 minutes.
Conor Grimes had the students off the mark on seven minutes but that was their only score from play in the first half -- their remaining five points were frees converted by Bernard Allen and Niall Scully. Meath led 2-6 to 0-6 at the break.
Newman didn't appear for the second half due to a slight injury but points from Reilly and David Larkin soon extended the lead. The Sigerson Cup champions hit back with points from Ciaran Reddin, Bryan Menton, Nick Devereux and Shane O'Connor.
Scully's point on 51 minutes left it 2-9 to 0-11 but Meath responded with a goal from Larkin. DIT never gave up and were back in contention after Scully converted a penalty following a foul on Darren O'Reilly.
The students had further chances but failed to take them and were punished as Reilly pointed to take his tally to five. Reddin replied to leave it a three-point game with two minutes to go but they never looked like snatching an equalising goal and instead McDonagh netted.
SCORERS -- Meath: M Newman 1-3 (3fs), D McDonagh 2-0, G Reilly 0-5, D Larkin 1-2, S O'Rourke 0-1. DIT: N Scully 1-4 (1-0 pen, 3fs), B Allen 0-4 (4fs), C Reddin 0-2, N Devereux, S O'Connor, B Menton, C Grimes 0-1 each.
MEATH -- P O'Rourke; C Young, S Curran, M Burke; D Dalton, E Harrington, D McQuillan; S O'Rourke, C Gillespie; D Larkin, D McDonagh, G Reilly; E Wallace, S Bray, M Newman. Subs: C O'Sullivan for Wallace (26), S Kenny for McQuillan (h-t), C Sheridan for Newman (h-t), D Bray for S O'Rourke (56).
DIT -- C Daly; K O'Brien, M Shields, G O'Hare; N Devereux, P Cunningham, R Sheridan; R Hazley, B Menton; C Reddin, P Achenson, D O'Reilly; B Allen, C Grimes, N Scully. Subs: M O Hehir for Cunningham (31), S O'Connor for Hazley (47), C Doyle for Devereux (51), C Sutton for Sheridan (56), B Daly for O'Reilly (68).
REF -- F Barry (Kildare)