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Hackett finds range to give sharp Royals final push

NEIL HACKETT proved an able deputy for Nicky Horan as he pointed the Royals to victory in Arklow.

Horan scored 11 of Meath's 19 points in their semi-final win over GMIT, while Hackett showed his accuracy as he racked up eight.

Wicklow shot 10 bad wides to their opponents' three in the first half when playing with what advantage there was from a cross-field wind, and found themselves trailing by 0-10 to 1-4 at the break. However, despite Wicklow's profligacy, they got a lifeline on 26 minutes when Ronan Keddy saw his long-range shot float all the way to the net.

But Meath were the sharper side throughout, and in Paul Fagan they had a hurler of quality. Wicklow battled to the end, but rarely have Andy O'Brien and Don Hyland been restricted to a point each.

Scorers -- Meath: N Hackett 0-8 (4f), D Kirby, P Durnin 0-2 each, G O'Neill, J Keena, P Geoghan, S Clynch 0-1 each. Wicklow: J O'Neill 0-7 (3f), R Keddy 1-0, G Bermingham, D Hyland, A O'Brien, A Driver 0-1 each.

Meath -- S McGann; W Mahedy, P Fagan, D Donoghue; M Horan, S Clynch, M Lynch; J Boyle, G O'Neill; J Keena, N Hackett, P Geoghan; M Cole, D Kirby, P Durnin. Subs: D Doran for M Cole, N Kirby for J Keena.

Wicklow -- W O'Gorman; J Connors, G Keogh, D Cuddihy; G Bermingham, L Kennedy, C O'Neill; E Kearns, T Doyle; R Keddy, J O'Neill, E Dunne; A O'Brien, D Hyland, A Driver. Subs: N Driver for C O'Neill, R Nolan for E Dunne, E Glynn for A Driver.

Ref -- P Dwyer (Carlow).

Irish Independent