O'Connor glad to survive 'dogfight'
Kerry 0-18 Meath 0-16 - Joe McDonagh Cup
A Joe McDonagh Cup final appearance is out of reach for Kerry but they could have a big say in who contests the decider against Westmeath when they travel to Antrim this weekend.
The Kingdom secured their status for another year but made hard work of this victory over 14-man Meath in Navan on Saturday.
"We knew coming up that Meath would be fighting for their lives and they fought for every ball," Kerry boss Fintan O'Connor said afterwards.
"It was a real dogfight and we just had to get over the line. It is good to get a result," the Kildare native continued.
The hosts, seeking a first win of the campaign, were dealt a blow when full forward Alan Douglas was dismissed for a second yellow card on 29 minutes for a challenge on John Buckley.
Meath ended the half leading 0-8 to 0-6, with Paddy Conneely accounting for four points but Padraig Boyle converted two frees within three minutes of the second half to level matters before Brandon Barrett and Shane Conway stretched their lead to seven.
They were still ahead by seven after Conway hit a third '65 between the posts on 57 minutes, however with Conneely in fine scoring form Meath staged a comeback of sorts but it wasn't enough and their place in the Joe McDonagh Cup is now hanging by a thread following this fourth defeat.
Scorers - Kerry: S Conway 0-6 (2 fs, 3 '65s), P Boyle 0-4 (3 fs), B Barrett 0-2, D Collins, M Boyle, J Goulding, B O'Leary, B Murphy, M Stackpoole (f) 0-1 each. Meath: P Conneely 0-7 (4 fs), A Gannon, K Keoghan, J Keena 0-2 each, J Kelly, S Brennan, J Regan 0-1 each.
Kerry: M Stackpoole 7; S Weir 7, J Buckley 7, B Murphy 7; B Barrett 7, D Collins 8, J O'Connor 7; J Conway 7, B O'Leary 7; D Griffin 6, M Boyle 7, B O'Mahony 7; J Goulding 6, P Boyle 8, S Conway 8. Subs: S Nolan 6 for Griffin (49 mins), D O'Carroll 6 for Goulding (59), T Murnane for Weir (64), M O'Connor for Conway (67), S Leane for O'Connor (70).
Meath: S McGann 7; D Conneely 7, S Geraghty 7, D Kelly 7; J Keena 8, D Healy 7, K Keoghan 7; A Gannon 7, C McCabe 6; S Brennan 7, J Kelly 7, P Conneely 8; S Morris 7, A Douglas 5, G McGowan 6. Subs: N Heffernan 6 for McGowan (49 mins), J Regan 6 for Healy (53), S Quigley 6 for Kelly (56), J Toher 6 for McCabe (59), C O Mealoid for Gannon (65).
Ref - S Hynes (Galway).