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Five goals and two red cards as Meath are pushed all the way by 13-man Wicklow

The Royals prevailed in Navan despite leaking three goals.

Meath's Harry Rooney is challenged by Dean Healy of Wicklow.
Meath's Harry Rooney is challenged by Dean Healy of Wicklow.
Image: ©INPHO/Morgan Treacy

Meath 2-19
Wicklow 3-12

MEATH ARE THROUGH to the semi-finals of the Leinster senior football championship but they didn’t have it all their own way today in Navan.

In front of a crowd of 8,417, the Royals ran out four-point winners over a Wicklow side who finished with 13 men following the dismissals of Dean Healy and Paul Cronin.

A meeting with neighbours Westmeath at Croke Park on 28 June awaits Mick O’Dowd’s side in the last four.

Andy Tormey, who finished with a personal tally of 1-9, played a crucial role in Meath’s victory and he scored their first goal in the seventh minute when he converted from a penalty after Stephen Bray had been fouled.

However, just moments later Wicklow reduced the gap to the minimum when Paul Cronin goaled to leave the scoreline at 1-3 to 1-2.

Wicklow had Niall Gaffney black-carded in the 28th minute following a foul on Graham Reilly, with Conor McGraynor introduced in his place. But Wicklow stayed within touching distance despite a 1-11 to 1-6 deficit at the interval.

They cut the gap to four early in the second-half before Reilly struck with a goal for Meath. However, still Wicklow stayed in pursuit and their second goal came from from a Conor McGraynor penalty after he was fouled. That left five between them — 2-14 to 2-9.

Robert Lambert is beaten from the penalty spot by Andrew Tormey Wicklow goalkeeper Robert Lambert is beaten by Andrew Tormey's penalty. Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

Meath goalkeeper Paddy O’Rourke was shown a black card when he coughed up a penalty after fouling McGraynor. Conor McHugh came off the bench to replace O’Rourke and McGraynor missed with his attempt.

But when the referee ordered a retake due to an infringement, McGraynor made no mistake at the second time of asking.

With 14 minutes of normal time remaining there were just two points between the teams — 2-16 to 3-11 — but that was as close as Wicklow got.

Meath then kicked three unanswered points in a row, and with Paul Cronin and Dean Healy both receiving red cards in the dying moments, Wicklow’s hopes of completing the comeback ended.

Scorers for Meath: A Tormey 1-9 (7f, 1-0 pen, 1 ’45), G Reilly 1-4, B McMahon 0-3, S Bray, J Wallace and J McEntee 0-1 each.

Scorers for Wicklow: C McGraynor 2-1 (2-0 pens), J McGrath 0-3 (0-3f), P Cronin 1-0, T Kelly 0-3, D Hayden 0-2, S Kelly, D Woods 0-1 and P McLoughlin 0-1 each.

Harry Rooney celebrates the final whistle Meath's Harry Rooney celebrates at the final whistle. Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

Meath

Paddy O’Rourke

James McEntee
Brian Power
Donncha Tobin

Nicky Judge
Donal Keogan
Davy Dalton

Harry Rooney
Adam Flanagan

Graham Reilly
Padraic Harnan
Andrew Tormey

Joey Wallace
Stephen Bray
Bryan McMahon

Subs

Mickey Burke for Judge (HT)
Bryan Menton for Flanagan (48)
Eamon Wallace for J Wallace (51)
Kevin Reilly for Dalton (58)
Sean Tobin for Power (66)

Wicklow

Robert Lambert

Aaron Murphy
Paul Cunningham
Ciaran Hyland

Dean Healy
Paul McLoughlin
Mark Kenny

Anthony McLoughlin
Daniel Woods

Niall Gaffney
Stephen Kelly
Darren Hayden

Paul Cronin
Thomas Kelly
John McGrath

Subs

Conor McGraynor for Gaffney (black card, 28)
Ross O’Brien for Cunningham (41)
James Stafford for Woods (44)
Paddy Dalton for McLoughlin (49)
Brendan McCrea for McGrath (68)
Patrick McWalter for Kenny (69)

Referee: Barry Cassidy (Derry)

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