Meath, Kildare and DCU advanced to the Bord na Mona O'Byrne Cup semi-finals this afternoon, while in the Shield competition Laois, DIT and Wicklow all claimed victories.
Meath secured a workmanlike 0-11 to 0-5 victory over neighbours Louth at Pairc Tailteann in Navan.
The visitors kicked four early wides as the Royals moved 0-3 to 0-0 ahead with the minimum of effort. Debutant Ronan Holcroft opened the Louth account approaching the half hour mark.
Late points from substitute Stephen Bray and Paddy Gilsenan gave Meath a 0-5 to 0-1 buffer at half-time, with their superior fitness levels and finishing the obvious factors.
Scores from Graham Reilly (0-2), Bray and defender Mickey Burke kept Seamus McEnaney’s men on course at 0-9 to 0-2 and as expected, 38-year-old selector Graham Geraghty soon entered the fray.
It was the veteran forward’s first appearance for Meath at the Navan venue in four years, and he looks keen for game-time ahead of the Allianz League.
The impressive Reilly and Bray added closing points to make it a comfortable finish for Meath, although their wides tally did enter double figures before full-time.
Meath will host DCU in next weekend’s semi-finals, after the College side got the better of Longford in Ballymahon - 2-11 to 0-12.
A brace of second half goals proved crucial for the students, with Jack Brady and Donal Smith netting the vital scores.
DCU led by 0-8 to 0-6 at the interval, with Brady's goal arriving inside three minutes of the restart after Longford had registered two points.
Galway's Fiontain O Curraoin's initial shot came off the crossbar, a scramble ensued before Cavan man Brady flicked the ball to the net.
Longford responded with a score from Paul Kelly to cut the deficit to two points. However, DCU continued to perform strongly and the students had a green flag raised for the second time when first half substitute Smith from Roscommon netted late on.
Newbridge will be the venue for the other semi-final as Kildare look to lay down an early season marker against All-Ireland champions Dublin.
Kildare, the O’Byrne Cup title holders, looked sharp as they coasted into a 0-10 to 0-0 half-time lead against Offaly this afternoon, with Eoghan O’Flaherty top-scoring with three points.
The Faithfuls spared the blushes with four second half points, but Kieran McGeeney’s Lilywhites were never in danger as they ran out 0-17 to 0-4 winners.
James Kavanagh led the scoring for the home side with 0-4, while Ronan Sweeney, O’Flaherty and Alan Smith all claimed a hat-trick of points.
In the O'Byrne Shield competition, Laois will face DIT next weekend after both sides emerged as quarter-final winners today.
Justin McNulty's Laois side finished with 13 men after the second half dismissals of Billy Sheehan and Peter O'Leary. However, they still managed to record a 1-14 to 1-7 win over Carlow at Dr Cullen Park.
Laois led by 1-1 to 0-0 after just two minutes, with both scores coming from O'Leary as the visitors hit the ground running.
Carlow responded with points from Daniel St Ledger and Brian Murphy, but failed to score for another 22 minutes as Laois tagged on four unanswered points, with both Colm Kelly and Darren Strong on target.
Laois were 1-5 to 0-3 clear at the break, with the sides trading points on the resumption before Sheehan saw red for the visitors.
The O'Moore men held a double scores lead at 1-9 to 0-6 entering the final quarter, following a point from substitute Ross Munnelly, Yet they were reduced to 13 men at this stage after O'Leary picked up a second yellow card.
Carlow's goal search paid off with 11 minutes remaining when Brendan Murphy snuck through, but Laois finished strongly with Conway impressive, while Strong and goalkeeper John Dunphy made some excellent blocks in defence.
Carlow were reduced to 14 men late on after defender Tony Bolger received a second yellow card.
Meanwhile, DIT overcame Westmeath by 0-16 to 0-13 in a keenly-contested encounter at Kinnegad.
Mark Gorman, Declan Mullen and Callum McCormack impressed for Westmeath as they led by 0-9 to 0-7 at half-time, but DIT were strong on the restart.
Colm Walshe, Mayo's Alan Freeman and Westmeath's Kieran Martin were prominent in the second half, with Freeman claiming some vital scores late on for the students.
Meanwhile, Wicklow will take on Wexford in the other Shield semi-final, after Harry Murphy's charges emerged as 2-16 to 1-10 victors over Athlone IT after extra-time.
Unanswered points from Nicky Mernagh, Conor McGraynor and Mernagh again saw Wicklow take a late 0-12 to 1-8 lead in normal time in Baltinglass, but Cavan's Levi Murphy force extra-time for the students.
Wicklow were strongest in extra-time, with back-to-back goals from Tony Hannon (penalty) and Paul Cronin paving the way for them to claim a last-four berth.
BORD NA MONA O'BYRNE CUP RESULTS:
ROUND 2 -
Dublin 4-14 UCD 0-12, Parnell Park (played on Saturday)
Meath 0-11 Louth 0-5, Pairc Tailteann
Longford 0-12 DCU 2-11, Ballymahon
Kildare 0-17 Offaly 0-4, Newbridge
BORD NA MONA O'BYRNE SHIELD RESULTS:
ROUND 1 -
Wicklow 2-16 Athlone IT 1-10 (aet), Baltinglass
Westmeath 0-13 DIT 0-16, Kinnegad
Carlow 0-7 Laois 1-14, Dr Cullen Park