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Dublin: 16 °C Saturday 8 August, 2020

Meath back in top flight for first time since 2006 after power-packed performance

Andy McEntee’s men ended a 13-year wait for Division 1 football with an impressive display against Fermanagh.

Meath 2-12

Fermanagh 0-11

Paul Keane reports from Páirc Tailteann

MEATH ARE BACK in the top flight of the Allianz football league for the first time since 2006 after finishing their Division 2 campaign with a power-packed performance in Navan.

The Royals could afford to lose by nine points and still return to Division 1 but after a shaky start duly came good to record their sixth win of a memorable campaign.

Bryan Menton celebrates with Darragh Campion Bryan Menton celebrates Meath's promotion with Darragh Campion. Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

Goals from Barry Dardis, his third in four games, and Man of the Match James McEntee did the trick for Meath who celebrated on the pitch with supporters afterwards.

A crowd of 6,500 turned out at Pairc Tailteann and Meath will hope for a strong support again next weekend when they play Donegal in the Division 2 final at Croke Park.

It’ll be an opportunity to make amends for Meath’s only loss in the campaign when they came up shy of Declan Bonner’s Ulster champions in Round 2.

They won all their games since and got on top of Fermanagh after a difficult first 20 minutes or so to ultimately record a seven-point win.

Fermanagh, chasing promotion themselves at the start of the afternoon, had the strong wind initially and moved 0-4 to 0-0 ahead after four minutes but were undone by a huge amount of wides.

They struck 11 wides in the first-half, and 17 in total, and Meath took advantage to finish the half strong and lead 1-4 to 0-6 at half-time.

Cillian O'Sullivan and with Eoin Donnelly and Lee Cullen Meath's Cillian O'Sullivan and with Eoin Donnelly and Lee Cullen. Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

Cillian O’Sullivan was terrific for Meath again and fired three first-half points while Dardis grabbed their goal in the 29th minute after McEntee’s pass.

Fermanagh briefly tied it up after the restart but Meath reeled off 1-4 between the 40th and 47th minutes to move 2-8 to 1-7 clear and effectively seal the victory.

McEntee’s goal came in the 47th minute after a clever burst of pace from Bryan McMahon which set him clear in the danger area to feed the marauding McEntee.

O’Sullivan, the influential Mickey Newman and sub James Conlon all tacked on points in the run in for Meath who saw out the game in businesslike fashion to the delight of their fans.

Meath scorers: Barry Dardis 1-1, James McEntee 1-1, Cillian O’Sullivan 0-4 (0-1f), Mickey Newman 0-3 (0-1f), Ben Brennan 0-1 (0-1f), Bryan Menton 0-1, James Conlon 0-1.

Fermanagh scorers: Ryan Jones 0-3, Ciaran Corrigan 0-2, Sean Quigley 0-2 (0-1f), Conall Jones 0-2, Ultan Kelm 0-1, Darragh McGurn 0-1 (0-1f).


1. Andrew Colgan (Donaghmore Ashbourne)

2. Seamus Lavin (St Peter’s, Dunboyne)
3. Conor McGill (Ratoath)
7. Shane Gallagher (Simonstown Gaels)

5. James McEntee (Curraha)
6. Donal Keogan (Rathkenny)
4. Ronan Ryan (Summerhill)

8. Bryan Menton (Donaghmore Ashbourne)
9. Shane McEntee (St Peter’s, Dunboyne)

10. Cillian O’Sullivan (Moynalvey)
13. Bryan McMahon (Ratoath)
23. Ben Brennan (St Colmcilles)

15. Thomas O’Reilly (Wolfe Tones)
22. Barry Dardis (Summerhill)
14. Michael Newman (Kilmainham)


20. Graham Reilly (St Colmcilles) for Brennan (h/t)
12. Darragh Campion (Skryne) for McMahon (56)
18. Adam Flanagan (Clonard) for Shane McEntee (62)
19. Gavin McCoy (St Peter’s, Dunboyne) for Gallagher (64)
24. James Conlon (St Colmcilles) for O’Reilly (65)


16. James McGrath (Belcoo)

2. Lee Cullen (Beal na Leice)
4. Kane Connor (Beal na Leice)
17. Jonny Cassidy (Inis Ceithleann)

3. Che Cullen (Beal na Leice)
6. James McMahon (Roslea)
13. Ryan Lyons (Erne Gaels)

8. Eoin Donnelly (An Cuach)
9. Ryan Jones (Derrygonnelly)

12. Aidan Breen (Tempo)
5. Ultan Kelm (Erne Gaels)
7. Ciaran Corrigan (Droichead Mhig Uidhir)

15. Sean Quigley (Roslea)
14. Conall Jones (Derrygonnelly)
11. Declan McCusker (Naomh Seosamh)


10. Paul McCusker (Naomh Seosamh) for Lyons (45)
21. Daniel Teague (Droichead Mhig Uidhir) for Kelm (49)
25. Darragh McGurn (Beal na Leice) for Conall Jones (56)
23. Tom Clarke (Lisnaskea) for Donnelly (58)
20. Conor Magee for Quigley (58)

Referee: James Molloy (Galway).

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Paul Keane

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