Mick O’Dowd upbeat as Meath blow away cobwebs

Meath 4-10, Westmeath 0-11: Meath started a busy month of football with a goal rush that pleased manager Mick O’Dowd at Páirc Tailteann on Saturday night.

Mick O’Dowd upbeat as Meath blow away cobwebs

After going a full month without a game following their snowed off Round 3 tie with Roscommon, the Royals will now be in action every weekend until the conclusion of the campaign.

It took the Meath men a while to work off the rustiness but once they got into their stride Westmeath were left floundering in their wake.

“Our decision making in the first-half was a little bit rusty and that maybe was because of the four week break,” O’Dowd said afterwards. “But overall we are pleased, we came to get two points and we did that well and improved our scoring difference.”

The Meath men were boosted by an early goal, veteran Stephen Bray producing a fine finish after Andrew Tormey capitalised on a wayward pass by Paul Sharry. They failed to build on that though and at half-time it was the Lake County who led 0-8 to 1-3.

“We went a long period of 17 or 18 minutes without a score in the first-half and that was a bit disappointing, but there was a pretty rough breeze,” O’Dowd continued.

“It was important in the second-half that we drove on and upped the pace of the game. We moved it inside well and we knew that our forwards had the beating of their men in general and the goals were killer scores.”

The hosts swept into the lead within four minutes of the restart when Padraic Harnan started and finished a move with a well executed goal to put his side in the driving seat.

By the 43rd minute Meath had moved into a commanding 3-4 to 0-9 lead after Mickey Newman took a pass from Stephen Bray and slotted home goal number three.

It was over as a contest after Graham Reilly picked up a breaking ball and made tracks for goal before chipping the advancing Gary Connaughton and leaving the ball nestling in the back of the net on 50 minutes.

Connaughton denied Reilly another goal with a spectacular block minutes later at the expense of a ‘45 which Paddy O’Rourke drove between the sticks.

Reilly capped a superb display by taking his tally of points to five before the finish.

Westmeath went into the game as table toppers and boss Tom Cribben will be concerned with his sides poor second half showing. They only managed three points and all of them came from placed balls by John Heslin.

Scorers for Meath: G Reilly (1-5), M Newman (1-2), S Bray (1-1, 0-1f), P Harnan (1-0), P O’Rourke ‘45, A Tormey (0-1 each).

Scorers for Westmeath: J Heslin (0-6, 6 frees), G Egan, D Glennon (0-2 each), J Gonoud (0-1).

MEATH: P O’Rourke; D Tobin, C McGill, M Burke; D Dalton, D Keogan, B Power; B Menton, A Flanagan; G Reilly, P Harnan, A Tormey; D Carroll, S Bray, M Newman.

Subs: M O’Sullivan for Flanagan (55), E Wallace for Carroll (58), S Tobin for Power (60), N Judge for Dalton (60), B McMahon for Newman (65), D Bray for Menton (67).

WESTMEATH: G Connaughton; M McCallon, K Maguire, K Daly; J Gonoud, K Martin, P Holloway; P Sharry, J Heslin; D Daly, G Egan, R Connellan; L Smyth, C McCormack, D Glennon.

Subs: S Dempsey for McCormack (h-t), D McCormack for D Daly (55), J Gilligan for Smyth (55), J Connellan for Glennon (60), J Egan for K Daly (60), D Lynch for R Connellan (65).

Referee: F Kelly (Longford)

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