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Off the mark! Big wins for Meath and Kildare in Leinster MFC openers

Offaly and Laois also prevailed in the first round of the Leinster Minor Football Championship.

Image: James Crombie/INPHO

THERE WERE BIG wins for Meath and Kildare in their respective opening round clashes of the Leinster Minor Football Championship.

Meath had 13 points to spare against Westmeath at the final whistle after holding a four-point advantage at the break.

Meanwhile, Kildare overpowered Wexford to get their campaign off to a winning start, with Offaly and Laois also winning their first-round ties.

Westmeath 2-7 2-20 Meath

Meath surged to victory in the second half at Mullingar, after an opening period in which both sides were evenly matched.

The breakthrough arrived on 21 minutes when Cian McBride found the back of the net to push his side into a three-point lead.

They were four points clear by half-time and a 36th minute goal from the boot of Luke Kelly extended their advantage to 2-12 0-7.

Westmeath were awarded a penalty in the 13th minute of the second half, which Ben McGauran stepped up to take. His initial effort came back into play, but he made no mistake with the rebound to leave the margin at 10 points.

Jack Torpey posted Westmeath’s second goal of the tie just before the end, but the gap was too big as Meath cruised to victory.

Wicklow 0-14 1-13 Offaly

Wicklow got off to a bright start in their first round clash with Offaly in Aughrim, establishing a four-point lead after 13 minutes.

But Offaly clawed their way back into the tie, and found the equaliser through Morgan Tynan, who made it six points apiece seven minutes later.

The sides traded scores for the remainder of the half, with Wicklow holding a slender one-point advantage at the break.

But Wicklow were dealt a blow just before the break when Andy Foley was sent off and Offaly made the most of the numerical advantage thereafter by hitting the only goal of the game through Mikey Cunningham.

With Offaly now leading by two, Wicklow came close to replying with a goal of their own, but a block on Shane Daly’s effort kept Offaly’s noses in front.

There were calls for a Wicklow penalty coming into the injury time, but a free was awarded instead as Offaly held on for a narrown win.

Kildare 1-17 0-07 Wexford

Kildare encountered few problems as they recorded an emphatic first-round clash against Wexford.

They were eight points up before the opposition got off the mark with two points from Lee Jordan, who accounted for all seven of Wexford’s scores throughout the game.

Kildare however, assumed control again and hit four points without reply before half-time with Alex Beirne, Padraig Behan, and Muiris Curtin all splitting the posts.

Wexford struggled to match Kildare, and were reduced to 14 men when Ollie Gahan was sent off.

Tom Browne gave Kildare a 0-13 0-2 lead with the opening point of the second half and an Alex Beirne goal put the contest beyond doubt.

Laois 1-12 0-11 Longford

Laois raced into a five-point lead against Longford, before Cian Dooner opened Longford’s account with a free after 20 minutes.

The margin was still at five points when Laois hit the back of the net in the second half, and they were nine points in front with 15 minutes to go.

Longford did produce a late rally to reduce the gap to four, but Laois popped over two more points before the end to assure the win.

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