Pressure on Banty as Meath relegated

Meath boss Seamus McEnaney has vowed to fight for his job after suffering a shock relegation to Division 3.

The Royal County slumped to a fifth straight defeat and with Westmeath beating Derry they were subsequently relegated.

The development leaves ‘Banty’ under real pressure to retain his position for the Championship.

Most disappointing for McEnaney was the manner of defeat having trailed by 12 points at half-time and then having two men sent off in the second-half.

McEnaney said: “I have been involved in a lot of fights in my life, in my business, personal life, in my family and in football. I have never walked away from a fight in my life. This is a fight and it is a fight we have to get on with. It is the manager’s job to get the best out of his players. I’m not getting the best out of them at the moment. The players are giving everything they can in training, we are just not playing as well as we can.”

Louth fought back for a thrilling draw in Derry in Round 6 and hit the ground running here. They scored 1-8 without reply at one stage in the first-half and led 1-12 to 0-3 at half-time.

There was a brief response from Meath who hit 1-1 after the restart, the goal by Tom Walsh after a mistake by the Louth ‘keeper.

But Derek Maguire’s second goal for Louth soon after, he hit 2-2 in all, shut the door on Meath’s attempted revival.

“I will call a spade a spade – that buries the Leinster final of 2010,” said Louth manager Peter Fitzpatrick, whose side were infamously denied provincial glory by an illegal Meath goal: “It is all right saying it now but that match really, really set us back. But this performance puts it to bed.

“People have said since that Louth cannot beat Meath but there is no better place to beat Meath than in their own backyard.”

As if things weren’t bad enough for Meath, they had both midfielders, Brian Meade and Mark Ward, sent off for second yellow cards. By that stage, Louth fans in the 6,000 or so crowd were cheering every pass their players made as they scored a famous win.

The result guarantees their Division 2 status for 2013 and, in truth, the win was never in doubt.

Ronan Carroll and Paddy Keenan were excellent at midfield and their lung bursting runs summed up a dynamic team display.

Darren Clarke hit three early points to help Louth go four ahead and they were 1-7 to 0-1 clear when Maguire netted his first goal after 25 minutes.

Scorers for Louth: D Maguire 2-2; D Clarke 0-6 (3f, 2 45); R Carroll 0-3; A Reid, P Keenan & D Byrne 0-1 each.

Scorers for Meath: T Walsh 1-0; C Ward 0-3 (2f); S Bray 0-2; M Burke, B Menton & G Reilly 0-1 each.

LOUTH: N Gallagher; G Hoey, D Finnegan, P Rath; D Byrne, J Carr, R Finnegan; P Keenan, R Carroll; D Crilly, M Brennan, A Reid; D Maguire, J McEneaney, D Clarke.

Subs: B White for Reid (42-44), A McDonnell for Brennan (58), L Shevlin for Hoey (63), B White for Carroll (74).

MEATH: D Gallagher; M Burke, C King, C O’Connor; S McAnarney, B Menton, D Tobin; B Meade, M Ward; S Kenny, S Bray, G Reilly; C Ward, B Farrell, J Queeney.

Subs: C Lenihan for McAnarney (3-5), T Walsh for Farrell (21), Lenihan for O’Connor (29), A Forde for Queeney (58).

Referee: M Collins (Cork).

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