Offaly battle hard to master Meath

Offaly dug deep to overcome a gutsy Meath side in this Electric Ireland Leinster MHC encounter at O’Connor Park on Saturday evening.

Cillian Kiely’s goal separated the sides at the interval as Offaly enjoyed a 1-9 to 0-9 cushion and Meath were firmly in contention thanks to some great goalkeeping by Charlie Bird and Jack Regan’s free taking. Offaly, who face Laois to decide who advances to the provincial semi-final, edged two goals clear after 42 minutes (2-11 to 0-11) after Kevin Dunne forced home a scrambled goal.

The Meath youngsters refused to give up and Dylan Keenan pounced on a 58th minute error by Offaly ‘keeper Conor Clancy and finished to the net, leaving them two adrift (1-14 to 2-13).

The Royals threw everything at the hosts but were unrewarded.

Scorers for Offaly: C Kiely (1-3, 0-1 free), D Murray (0-5, 0-4 frees), K Dunne (1-0), E Nolan (0-1), G Crowe (0-1), A Spain (0-1), K Bergin (0-1), S O’Connor (0-1).

Scorers for Meath: J Regan (0-10, 0-8 frees), D Keenan (1-1), D Kelly (0-1), V Moore (0-1), S Kelly (0-1).

OFFALY: C Clancy; D Murphy, A Browne, R Kelly; E Nolan, C Doughan (capt.), E Pilkington; S O’Connor, C Mahon; G Crowe, K Dunne, K Bergin; A Spain, C Kiely, D Murray.

Subs: A Connolly for C Mahon (24), B Connors for G Crowe (49), J Nally for S O’Connor (55), P Rigney for R Kelly (59).

MEATH: C Bird; S Benville, S Whitty, L Ferguson; C Darby, D Kelly, S Doyle; S Kelly, L Rickard; D Reilly, V Moore, J Regan; J Fagan, G McGowan, K Ryan.

Subs: D Keenan for K Ryan (41), S Lenihan for S Doyle (45), C Reilly for D Kelly inj (49), J Wall for J Fagan (49), G Ryan for G McGowan (59).

Referee: Kevin Brady, Louth.

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