By Brendan O’Brien, Navan
Meath 1-10 Armagh 0-8
Mick O’Dowd’s Meath enjoyed an ultimately convincing Division Two defeat of an Armagh outfit that failed to trouble the scoreboard once in the second-half.
The visitors’ frustrations began to tell in the last ten minutes of a game played up to then in an impeccable manner: wing-back Aidan Forker saw red on the back of two yellows and Miceal McKenna followed with a black card in injury-time.
The one downside for the hosts was the news just before throw-in that key forward Graham Reilly, a scorer of six points from play against Longford the week before, was a late omission due to what O’Dowd later revealed to be a knee injury suffered in that outing.
Armagh had three points on the board within five minutes and eight in total by the interval, all bar one of them kicked impressively from distance.
Meath finally settled with a point from the impressive Cillian O’Sullivan in their first attack and there were only ten minutes gone when full-forward Mickey Newman negotiated his way through the rearguard before finishing low into the Armagh net.
A half-time downpour and stiff gusts made it difficult for both teams to find their range, but three points in six minutes midway through the half put Meath into a lead they wouldn't relinquish.
Scorers for Meath: M Newman (1-4, 0-3 f); S Tobin (0-3f); C O’Sullivan (0-2); D Keogan (0-1);
Scorers for Armagh: M McKenna and G McParland (both 0-2); E Rafferty, S Campbell, S Forker and C Watters (all 0-1).
Meath: P O’Rourke; M Burke, C McGill, D Keogan; J McEntee, P Harnan, C Finn; A Tormey, H Rooney; D Smyth, C O’Sullivan, B Power; B McMahon, M Newman, D Lenihan.
Subs: S Tobin for Lenihan (41); J McElroy for Shields (51); C Downey for McMahon (52); R O Coileain for Smyth (66; A Douglas for Finn (73).
Armagh: M McNeice; S Hefron, C Vernon, R McCaughley; A Forker, C O’Hanlon, M Shields; S Sheridan, B Donaghy; S Campbell, M McKenna, S Forker; C Watters, E Rafferty, G McParland.
Subs: A Findon for Sheridan and E McVerry for McParland (both HT); S Connell for Donaghy (52); N McConville for Watters (57); N Grimley for McKenna (72).
Referee: A Nolan (Wicklow).