Roscommon rescue point as Smith strikes late penalty
Roscommon 2-12 Meath 2-12
Roscommon boss Kevin McStay admitted that the black card was "poorly constructed" as a Donie Smith injury-time penalty rescued a draw for his side at Dr Hyde Park.
Deep into injury-time, Meath duo Joey and Eamon Wallace were shown black cards, bringing the Royal County's total to three following Brian Power's dismissal in the 67th minute, for indiscretions in the move that saw Finbarr Cregg win a penalty.
There was a long delay as referee Barry Cassidy sorted out proceedings before Smith held his nerve. Ten minutes earlier Roscommon defender David Murray was also shown a black card in what was a final quarter laden with incident at the Hyde.
"The black card is poorly constructed. They've done their sums and they know that they can take one for the team," said McStay. "We had overlaps and our players were just rugby tackled to the ground. I'm not whinging. We'd have probably done it ourselves if we were in that position."
Leading by 1-11 to 1-6 after 52 minutes, the Rossies collapsed with a strong wind behind them. Meath hit six points without reply and looked destined for victory when Eamon Wallace stretched the margin out to four points.
But Roscommon dug deep to unearth a response. Finbarr Cregg landed what seemed like a consolation free, but a crucial turnover rescued possession and their decision to go for broke was rewarded when Cregg was upended inside the small square.
"We had two points wrapped up halfway through the second-half. With 30 seconds to go, we had no points. So I'm frustrated that we didn't get two when we were on top, but I'm delighted to come home with one," said McStay.
Meath full-forward Cillian O'Sullivan goaled in the ninth minute, but Roscommon found the net through Seán Mullooly on 18 minutes.
Leading by 1-6 to 1-5 at the break, the Rossies kicked on with four unanswered points, but Meath's substitutes Seán Tobin and Padraig McKeever kicked five points between them. When Wallace found the net, they looked to have done enough, but Smith held his nerve in a dramatic finale.
SCORERS - Roscommon: D Murtagh 0-5 (2f), S Mullooly, D Smith (pen) 1-0 each, C Murtagh 0-2 (1f), E Smith, N Kilroy, C Lennon, D Murray, F Cregg (1f) 0-1 each.
Meath: C O'Sullivan, E Wallace 1-0 each, S Tobin (2f) 0-3, B Brennan (2f), P McKeever (1f) 0-2 each, B Menton, T O'Reilly (1f), J Wallace, J McEntee, S Lavin 0-1 each.
ROSCOMMON: C Lavin 6; D Murray 7, J McManus 6, N. McInerney 6; F Lennon 7, S Mullooly 8, C Devaney 7; T O'Rourke 7, I Kilbride 5; N Daly 6, N Kilroy 6, E Smith 7; D Murtagh 7, C Lennon 7, C Murtagh 7. Subs: F Cregg 6 for Kilbride (27), C Daly 5 for D Murtagh (46), C Cregg 5 for Kilroy (52), R Daly 5 for N Daly (55), P Domican 5 for Murray (60, b/c), D Smith 6 for C Murtagh (65).
MEATH: A Colgan 6; S Lavin 6, C McGill 6, M Burke 5; D Keogan 6, B Power 6, S McEntee 6; B Menton 7, A Flanagan 6; J McEntee 6, B Brennan 6, G Reilly 5; J Wallace 6, C O'Sullivan 7, T O'Reilly 6. Subs: B Conlon 6 for Burke (30), P McKeever 7 for O'Reilly (h-t), E Wallace 6 for Brennan (46), S Tobin 7 for Reilly (46), D O'Neill 5 for O'Sullivan (61), A Douglas 5 for Power (67, b/c).
REF - B Cassidy (Derry).