McEnaney begins Royal reign with loss to UCD

IT had been billed as the beginning of a new era for Meath football but Seamus McEnaney’s first game in charge of the Royals was a losing outing, with UCD snatching a dramatic victory in the refixed O’Byrne Cup opener in Navan last night.

The win was secured with an added time goal from Josh Hayes, denying the home side after their keeper, Brendan Murphy, had kept out a Ciaran Lyng attempt.

UCD fielded notable inter-county performers like current All Star Peter Kelly of Kildare, Dublin’s Michael Fitzsimons, Kevin McGourty of Antrim and Wexford forward Lyng. However, Kelly was stretchered off with a knee injury after just three minutes.

Meath opened up a three-point lead in the opening 19 minutes and that advantage could have been more as five scoring attempts fell into the arms of opposing ‘keeper, Michael Savage.

Although it took UCD 24 minutes to get on the board, with a converted free by John Heslin, they led by 0-5 to 0-4 at the break. One of their points should have been a goal, with Michael Brazil blasting over the bar.

There was little between the sides in the second half of a less than exciting encounter and Shane McAnarney appeared to have given Meath the win with a lead point on 69 minutes.

However, in the last attack, corner-back Hayes moved upfield to dramatically send his side on to face Carlow next Sunday.

Scorers for UCD: J Heslin 0-6, 4 frees, J Hayes 1-0, C Lyng, free, M Brazil, C McGourty 0-1 each.

Scorers for Meath: C Ward 0-3, 2 frees, G Reilly 0-2, D Dalton, C McGuinness, N Mooney, P Gilsenan 0-1 each.

UCD: M Savage; J Hayes, C Forde, M Fitzsimons; S Redmond, P Kelly, C Brady; K McGourty, J Heslin; J O’Loughlin, C Lyng, J Cocoman; C Kenny, D Larkin, M Brazil. .

Subs: T Warburton for Kelly (3), L Smith for Cocoman (48), S Nerney for Redmond (50), L Cawley for Larkin (56), R Mallon for Brazil (65).

MEATH: B Murphy; C McGill, J Macken, D Dalton; D Morgan, C McGuinness, C Lenehan; M Ward, C Gillespie; S McAnarney, C Ward, N Mooney; G Reilly, B Sheridan, P Gilsenan.

Subs: S Kenny for McGill (h-t), D Keogan for Sheridan (51), B Menton for Gillespie (65), B Meade for Mooney (69).

Referee: P Knell (Louth).

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