Regan reigns for Royals
Meath 1-16 Kildare 0-16
Jack Regan led the way as Meath began their campaign with a hard-fought win over Kildare in Newbridge.
Last year's Division 2B winners led at the break after Regan's injury-time penalty helped them to a 1-8 to 0-6 lead, but they had to withstand serious pressure in the second-half as Kildare came storming back.
Missed frees harmed Kildare's chances in the opening 35 minutes. They tried five free-takers, but finally settled on 18-year-old debutant James Burke and the youngster carried them back into the game.
After Meath had stretched their lead to six points early in the second-half, Burke scored five as Kildare hit six in a row to tie the game with 10 minutes to go.
Meath responded and a couple of Regan scores put them in charge. Burke halved the lead in the 66th minute.
Regan scored twice in injury-time, with Kildare reduced to 14 men after Paul Divilly's red card, as the Royals secured the win.
Scorers - Meath: J Regan 1-10 (1-0 pen, 6fs, 0-1 '65); P Conneely, J Toher 0-2 each, J Kelly, S Quigley 0-1 each.
Kildare: J Burke 0-9 (8fs); M Fitzgerald, R Ryan (1f) 0-2 each; J Sheridan, P Divilly, E O'Neill 0-1 each.
Meath: S McGann 6; K Keoeghan 6, D Healy 7, C Lynch 6; D Kelly 6, J Keena 6, N Weir 6; J Toher 8, A Forde 8; P Conneely 7, C O'Mealoid 6, J Kelly 7; N Heffernan 6, A Gannon 6, J Regan 8. Subs: E Marsh 6 for Weir (23); E Ó'Donnchadha 6 for Heffernan (25); S Quigley 6 for Gannon (52); C McCabe 6 for O'Mealoid (65).
Kildare: P McKenna 7; C Forde 7, J Doran 7, P Sullivan 7; É O'Neill 7, M Moloney 7, M Grace 7; P Divilly 6, N Ó'Muineacháin 6; J Burke 8, R Ryan 6, J Sheridan 7; B Byrne 7, M Fitzgerald 7, C Bonus 6. Subs: P Dermody for McKenna (blood sub 34-HT), B Deay 6 for Ryan (45); K Whelan 6 for Bonus (65).
REF - D Hughes (Carlow)
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