Westmeath steamrolled as Meath banish away day blues

The famine is over, according to Seamus McEnaney, though whether Meath can maintain their fine Division 2 form to achieve the promotion they crave remains to be seen.

The Royal County steamrolled hapless Westmeath in Mullingar to preserve their perfect record in the league and, in doing so, scratched an itch that had been bothering them for some time. It was three years in fact since they last won an away game in the league, beating Wexford at Wexford Park in March of 2009.

Experienced attacker Stephen Bray did most to advance Meath’s cause with a fine display and five points while Graham Reilly’s hard running from centre-forward and three points from play were equally impressive.

Westmeath, of course, were badly hamstrung by the loss of the Garrycastle club players while ace attacker Denis Glennon pulled out with an ankle problem.

Meath pushed on to build up a comfortable lead and when Westmeath’s Michael Ennis was dismissed for his second yellow card after 48 minutes the game was officially up.

“Meath had won one match away from home in five years,” said McEnaney. “That was something we needed to change, the famine of the away wins. Our attitude had to be 100 per cent right because Meath have travelled to Tipperary in the past and travelled to Antrim last year, under me, and we’ve been complacent. We had to take responsibility for that and we did, we made sure our attitude was right. We saw how Kerry were big favourites on Saturday night but got beat. If your attitude isn’t right then you’re going nowhere in life or football.”

Back-to-back points from Bray followed Ward’s early strike and Meath led 0-3 to no score after eight minutes. By half-time the margin was out to six points, 0-10 to 0-4, and Meath could legitimately kick themselves for not adding another half dozen points to their tally. Reilly turned over two fine points from the right wing also while, at the other end, Westmeath’s play was disjointed and error-strewn.

Points from Cian Ward, Ciaran Lenihan and Brian Meade after the restart put Meath 0-13 to 0-4 ahead and when Ennis was dismissed soon after the game was all but up.

Westmeath only scored one point in the second-half, through Kieran Martin.

In contrast, Meath closed out the win with four in-a-row from Bray, twice, Meade and Mark Ward.

Meath scorers: S Bray 0-5 (1f); G Reilly 0-3; C Ward (1 45) & B Meade 0-2 each; S Kenny, S McAnarney, C McGuinness, C Lenihan & M Ward 0-1 each.

Westmeath scorers: K Martin 0-2 (1f); A Giles (1f), M Ennis & C McCormack 0-1 each.

MEATH: D Gallagher; B Menton, C Lenihan, G O’Brien; S McAnarney, M Burke, C O’Connor; B Meade, M Ward; S Kenny, S Bray, G Reilly; P Gilsenan, C Ward, C O’Connor.

Subs.: J Sheridan for C Ward 43, G Geraghty for Gilsenan 54, K Reilly for O’Brien 60, D Tobin for Lenihan 62, C King for Burke 68.

WESTMEATH: G Connaughton; K Gavin, R Foley, D McDermott; A Finnan, M Ennis, K Maguire; T English, P Bannon; P Sharry, David Glennon, P Sheridan; A Giles, K Martin, C McCormack.

Subs.: D Daly for English 43, K Sheridan for Bannon 47, M Gorman for Giles 49, B Moran for Glennon 57, A Stone for Sharry 60.

Referee: E Kinsella (Laois).

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