Royals imperious in replay win over Carlow

Meath 2-21 Carlow 0-09

Meath 2-21 Carlow 0-09

Peadar Byrne bagged two goals as Meath claimed an impressive 15-point win in this Leinster SFC quarter-final replay in Tullamore.

The sides were level on four occasions inside the opening 19 minutes, but Carlow failed to score again until the 38th minute.

Meath led by 1-11 to 0-04 at half-time and they continued to pick off scores on the restart.

A Keith Jackson goal gave Carlow some hope entering the final quarter, but Meath always looked on top with substitute Byrne netting his second late on.

Boosted by Brendan Murphy's inclusion, Carlow matched their counterparts well in the opening 19 minutes of tonight's clash, but once Meath broke in front in the 21st minute they never trailed.

Graham Reilly edged Meath ahead with the opening points after just 12 seconds, but Carlow broke 0-02 to 0-01 ahead after eight minutes thanks to scores from JJ Smith and Brian Murphy.

Meath edged back in front thanks to a Brian Farrell free, only for a fisted Kieran Nolan score - from a pass from captain Shane Redmond - to make it 0-03 to 0-02 to the underdogs.

Farrell's second pointed free soon tied up the game for the third time with Carlow boss Luke Dempsey opting to switch Con Murphy and Sean Gannon in attack.

Smith landed his second point in the 17th minute, however it proved to be Carlow's final score for 21 minutes as Seamus McEnaney's men took firm control of proceedings. They upped their game in every sector with Farrell's third point squaring things up again.

The Royals kept up the momentum but missed a decent goal-scoring chance. Carlow goalkeeper Trevor O'Reilly pulled off a good save, parrying the ball out for a '45' after target man Joe Sheridan was put through.

Cian Ward sent the resulting '45' over the crossbar and Conor Gillespie and Farrell added points to see Meath break into 0-07 to 0-04 lead in the 27th minute.

Substitute Byrne was just 10 minutes on the pitch when he pounced for the lone goal of the opening half. Set up by Sheridan, the Ballinlough clubman cut through the defence and fired home from the tightest of angles.

Graham Reilly missed a gilt-edged chance just two minutes later, watching his effort bounce off the bar and the ball fell the wrong side of the goal-line.

Meath kept motoring and rattled off four unanswered points before the break with Damien Carroll, Alan Forde, Bryan Mention and Farrell all on target. That left Carlow with a mountain to climb at 1-11 to 0-04 down.

A second Graham Reilly point extended Meath's advantage to 11 points, two minutes into the second half. Darragh Foley rallied Carlow with a much-needed point - only their second score from play.

Meath continued to look dangerous with defender Menton forcing a save from Carlow net minder O'Reilly in the 39th minute.

The Royals sent over three more points without reply with Carroll and Fennell continuing to cause damage. Smith and Forde traded points before Carlow enjoyed a strong spell.

Smith went for goal from a close-in free as the game entered the final quarter, goalkeeper David Gallagher got a block in but the rebound was knocked over by Smith.

Now edging ahead in the possession stakes, Carlow struck for their only goal with 16 minutes remaining. Substitute Keith Jackson found the back of the net, cutting the deficit back to 1-16 to 1-07.

However, Dempsey's charges found scores hard to come by over the remainder of the game. Farrell led by example up front for Meath, tagging on two more points to push his own tally to 0-08.

The Royals killed off the game right at the death with Byrne completing his brace. Through to the last-four, Meath now await the winners of tomorrow's Kildare-Offaly tie.

MEATH: D Gallagher, D Keoghan, K Reilly, M Burke; D Tobin, S McAnarney, B Menton (0-01); G Reilly (0-04), C Gillespie (0-01); A Forde (0-02), D Carroll (0-02), B Meade; B Farrell (0-08, 0-05f), J Sheridan, C Ward (0-01, 0-01 '45').

Subs used: P Byrne (2-00) for Meade (17 mins), E Harrington for K Reilly (59), J Queeney (0-02) for G Reilly (61), C O'Connor for Tobin (65), M Collins for Ward (66).

CARLOW: T O'Reilly; P Murphy, C Lawlor, B Kavanagh; K Nolan (0-01), S Redmond, T Bolger; Brendan Murphy (0-01, 0-01f), D Foley (0-01); Brian Murphy (0-01, 0-01f), C Murphy, E Ruth; JJ Smith (0-05, 0-03f), S Gannon, C Walshe.

Subs used: BJ Molloy for P Murphy (37 mins-half-time, blood sub), B Lambe for Nolan, K Jackson (1-00) for C Murphy (both 42), BJ Molloy for P Murphy (53), L Shepard for Foley (60); P McElligott for Bolger (66).

Referee: Derek Fahy (Longford)

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