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Meath win seven-goal thriller against Galway in Navan

The Royals recovered from a five-point deficit to win this Division 2 clash at Páirc Tailteann.

Meath's Eamonn Wallace in action against Galway's Gary Sice.
Meath's Eamonn Wallace in action against Galway's Gary Sice.
Image: INPHO/Tommy Grealy

Meath 3-18
Galway 4-11

FREE SCORING MEATH leaked four goals in Navan but still had enough firepower to get their promotion charge off to a positive start in today’s Division 2 clash.

The O’Byrne Cup finalists looked on shaky ground when they trailed by five points with 30 minutes left.

But a thrilling burst of scoring in the final half hour or so elevated them to an opening round win at Pairc Tailteann. Amazingly, all of their tally came from open play while they could also afford to kick 16 wides. And 14 different players got on the score sheet as they moved into a commanding position in Division 2.

They got a perfect start when Mickey Newman netted after 90 seconds after great work by Cillian O’Sullivan. Stephen Bray hit Meath’s second goal but a string of wides and shots that hit the woodwork cost them and Galway led 2-6 to 2-4 at half-time.

Sean Armstrong and Michael Martin netted for the Tribesmen. Sub Tom Flynn registered Galway’s third after the restart to help them into a 3-7 to 2-5 lead.

But Meath took over from that point and used the strong breeze to their advantage. Andrew Tormey was excellent at midfield beside Shane O’Rourke and gave them a platform to dominate.

They kicked 1-14 in the second-half alone, drawing level by the 52nd minute and moving decisively clear after a stunning solo goal by O’Sullivan. All three of their subs made scoring introductions as they eventually sealed a four-point win despite a late Gary Sice goal for Galway.

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Meath’s Cillian O’Sullivan clashes with Galway’s Manus Breathnach
Pic: INPHO/Tommy Grealy

Scorers for Meath: Mickey Newman 1-2, Cillian O’Sullivan 1-1, Stephen Bray 1-0, Graham Reilly 0-3, Eamonn Wallace and Andrew Tormey 0-2 each, Bryan Menton, Donal Keogan, Damien Carroll, Shane O’Rourke, David Bray, David Larkin, Paddy Gilsenan and Mickey Burke 0-1 each.

Scorers for Galway: Sean Armstrong (0-1f) and Gary Sice 1-2 each, Michael Martin 1-1, Paul Conroy 0-4 (0-2f), Tom Flynn 1-0, James Kavanagh and Adrian Varley 0-1 each.

MEATH: Paddy O’Rourke; Mickey Burke, Kevin Reilly, Donal Keogan; Padraic Harnan, Bryan Menton, Davy Dalton; Andrew Tormey, Shane O’Rourke; Cillian O’Sullivan, Damien Carroll, Graham Reilly; Mickey Newman, Stephen Bray, Eamonn Wallace.

Subs: David Bray for S Bray 51, David Larkin for Wallace 64, Paddy Gilsenan for G Reilly 65.

GALWAY: Manus Breathnach; Donal O’Neill, Finian Hanley, Joss Moore; Sean Denvir, Greg Higgins, Paul Varley; Fiontan O Curraoin, Paul Conroy; Gary Sice, Sean Armstrong, Johnny Duane; Shane Walsh, Michael Martin, James Kavanagh.

Subs: Tom Flynn for O Curraoin (h/t), Eoin Concannon for Armstrong (black card, 46), Cathal Mulryan for Denvir 48, Damien Comer for Walsh 51, Adrian Varley for Martin 57.

Referee: Martin Higgins (Fermanagh).

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Paul Keane

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