Early Cian McBride goal proves crucial in Meath's win over Offaly
EirGrid U20 Leinster Football C'ship: Meath 1-12 Offaly 0-12
A goal within 55 seconds of the start proved the crucial score as Meath advanced to the last four of the Leinster U-20 FC at Pairc Tailteann.
Cian McBride found the net from a Mathew Costello delivery to give the Royals the perfect start. Centre back John Keane added a quick point before Cian O’Farrell opened the Offaly account.
The hosts maintained the lead throughout the half but by half-time they just held a minimum advantage, 1-5 to 0-7. O’Farrell accounted for four of the Offaly scores in the half during which they hit seven wides.
Farrell’s fifth point had the sides’ level within two minutes of the restart but Offaly failed to gain parity again.
Successive points from Luke Mitchell, Mathew Costello, Liam Byrne and Daithi McGowan gave Meath a cushion they held to the finish.
With Farrell continuing his excellent scoring, he finished with seven points, Offaly remained in contention and they had the deficit back to two entering the closing stages.
Substitute Danny Dixon hit a crucial point for the hosts before Offaly laid siege on the Meath goal in the eight minutes of added time but they were unable to find a way through a stubborn rearguard.
Scorers – Meath: C McBride 1-0, D McGowan 0-3, L Byrne (1f, 1’45), L Mitchell 0-2 each, J Keane, M Costello, J Morris, C Ahearne, D Dixon 0-1 each. Offaly: C Farrell 0-7 (5f), J O’Brien, S O’Toole Greene, C Johnson, J Bryant, N Poland 0-1 each.
Meath: A Beakey; S Ryan, R Clarke, C Hickey; E Harkin, J Keane, O Martyn; L Byrne, C Swaine; C McBride, M Costello, C Ahearne; J Morris, D McGowan, L Mitchell. Subs: D Dixon for Swaine (h-t), S Bannon for Martyn (45), A Lynch for Mitchell (53), C Finnegan for Morris (57), D Nolan for Ahearne (63).
Offaly: J Cullinan; Adam Bolger, A Bracken, C Keena; C Donnelly, E Bennett, J O’Brien; J McEvoy, C Donoghue; S Farrell, C Farrell, S O’Toole Greene; C Johnson, J Bryant, K McDermott. Subs: N Poland for Bryant (40), D Wyer for McEvoy (44), E Dunne for O’Toole Greene (53), M Cunningham for McDermott (56), O Murphy for Wyer (BC 61), K Dolan for Bracken (61).
Referee: J Hickey (Carlow).