Donal Lenihan’s crucial strike gives Meath victory

Meath 1-13 - Galway 0-15: Donal Lenihan’s goal on 66 minutes proved the decisive score as Meath inflicted a first defeat on the visitors in this hard-fought Division 2 tie at a damp Pairc Tailteann yesterday.
Donal  Lenihan’s crucial strike gives Meath victory

The older brother of Blackburn Rovers midfield star Darragh had earlier contributed five points, before taking a pass from Cillian O’Sullivan on 66 minutes and producing a neat finish to the Galway net.

That left the Royals two clear — Galway’s only response was a point from substitute Johnny Heaney. The Tribesmen did have a chance of an equaliser in added time but Danny Cummins’ effort was well wide of the mark.

Both sides enjoyed spells of dominance in a game that sparked to life in the second half as Galway fought back from a four-point interval deficit to lead by three with a little over 10 minutes remaining.

Meath, showing a marked improvement from their defeat to Down in their last outing, fought back to eke out the victory.

Afterwards Meath boss Andy McEntee described his side’s performance as a gutsy one. However, he said: “Producing it one day and not producing the next day is not acceptable. We can’t pick and choose the days that we want to play. That has to be the standard and they have to be the qualities that we bring to the table every day we play. If they’re capable of doing it today, they’re capable of doing it next week.

“They were capable of doing it last week in Newry but they just didn’t do it. Everybody has to look at themselves. Maybe that was my fault. We have to question whether they were prepared properly for it so everybody has to take a look at themselves after a performance like last week and I’m no different to anybody else: I have to look in the mirror before I start accusing anyone of doing anything.”

Galway led following two Barry McHugh points within five minutes of the start but Meath gained a stranglehold after that to lead 0-8 to 0-4 at the break.

The Tribesmen responded well in the third quarter and were level following a Thomas Flynn point on 53 minutes. Barry McHugh’s fifth point edged them ahead and they were three points clear, 0-13 to 0-10, following a fine effort from Shane Walsh.

Manager Kevin Walsh admitted afterwards that it was a game they let slip from their grasp. “There were parts of each half where both groups wouldn’t be happy with the performances and there were parts where it was really good. We started off the first 10 minutes and there was at least 2-2 that we missed. That probably came back to haunt us to be honest.

“When the goal arrived, the timing was wrong for us and it came against the run of play, we felt, but that’s the way it is.”

The big news from the Galway camp during the week was the return to the panel of Michael Meehan, the Caltra man having called a premature end to his career three years ago because of injury.

However Walsh was doubtful if Meehan will make an appearance before the end of the league campaign.

“He got back playing a bit of club last year and just for the last number of weeks we’ve been trying a programme with him and the programme finished with him last week, so he’s back on the field,” said Walsh.

“He’ll do a few weeks with us on and off and we’ll see how it works. But the most important thing in this is that Michael Meehan is willing to give it a go, we’re willing to help him give it a go, and if it works out for him great. Hopefully there’ll be no problem with the old injury.”

Scorers for Meath:

D Lenihan (1-5, 0-1f), C O’Sullivan, G Reilly (0-2 each), D Keogan, W Carry, A Forde, S Tobin f (0-1 each).

Scorers for Galway:

B McHugh (0-5, 3fs, 1 45), P Conroy (0-3 , 1f), M Daly (0-2), G O’Donnell, L Silke, J Heaney, T Flynn, S Walsh (0-1 each).

MEATH:

P O’Rourke; D Keogan, C McGill, D Tobin; W Carry, B Power, P Harnan; B Menton, J Toher; R O Coileain, C O’Sullivan, A Forde; B McMahon, G Reilly, D Lenihan.

Subs:

S Tobin for McMahon (46), E Wallace for Forde (51), A Flanagan for Toher (55), J Wallace for O Coileain (56), C O’Brien for E Wallace (BC 63), M Burke for Carry (BC 68), D Tobin (BC 73 not replaced).

GALWAY:

R Lavelle; D Kyne, D Walsh, C Sweeney; G O’Donnell, G Bradshaw, L Silke; P Conroy, F O Curraoin; T Flynn, M Daly, E Brannigan; S Walsh, B McHugh, M Lundy.

Subs:

D Cummins for Lundy (27); J Heaney for Daly (61); G Sice for McHugh (68), D Cummins (BC 73 not replaced).

Referee:

M Deegan (Laois)

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