Meath to return to Division 1 after convincing win over Fermanagh

Meath 2-12 Fermanagh 0-11

Meath to return to Division 1 after convincing win over Fermanagh


There was a carnival atmosphere as Meath made a long-awaited return to top-flight football following this victory at Pairc Tailteann.

The Royals have not tasted Division 1 football since 2006 and while the glory days of the late eighties and early nineties would still appear to be a long way off this nevertheless was a significant step in their efforts to get back among the elite.

Fermanagh needed victory to have a chance of promotion but their hopes had all but vanished by the end of the opening half when playing with the advantage of the strong breeze.

They made a whirlwind start to proceedings with Conall Jones lofting over a fine score inside a minute and that was followed in quick succession by points from Ciaran Corrigan, Ultan Kelm and Sean Quigley.

The visitors then had numerous opportunities to increase that lead but wayward finishing dented their hopes and by the end of the half they had tallied 11 wides.

The game was 16 minutes old before Cillian O’Sullivan opened the Meath account and the hosts settled into the game after that and led 1-4 to 0-6 at the break.

They hit the front for the first time when James McEntee and Bryan Menton created the opening for Barry Dardis to find the net on 28 minutes. Cillian O’Sullivan and Mickey Newman added to the Meath tally before the end of the half.

Quigley from a free ended a 30-minute scoring drought for Fermanagh and Ciaran Corrigan hit the final point of the half.

A point from Ryan Jones had Fermanagh level within a minute of the restart but a Newman point regained the lead for the home side and they went well clear after that.

Bryan Menton, James McEntee and Barry Dardis added further points and there was no way back for Fermanagh after wing-back James McEntee netted on 46 minutes to leave it 2-8 to 0-7.

While Fermanagh erratic finishing continued, they ended with 17 wides, Meath continued to pick off their scores with Cillian O’Sullivan (two), Newman and sub James Conlon on target.

Andy McEntee’s charges have a Division 2 final to look forward to against Donegal, who defeated them in Ballybofey in February.

Scorers for Meath: J McEntee (1-1, 0-1 free), B Dardis (1-1), C O’Sullivan (0-4, 1 free), M Newman (0-3, 1 free), B Menton, J Conlon, B Brennan (f) (0-1 each)

Scorers for Fermanagh: R Jones (0-3), C Corrigan, S Quigley (I free), C Jones (0-2 each), U Kelm, D McGurn (0-1 each).

MEATH: A Colgan; S Lavin, C McGill, R Ryan; J McEntee, D Keogan, S Gallagher; B Menton, S McEntee; C O’Sullivan, B Brennan, B Dardis; B McMahon, M Newman, T O’Reilly. Subs: G Reilly for Brennan (h-t), D Campion for McMahon (55), A Flanagan for S McEntee (62), G McCoy for Gallagher (64), J Conlon for O’Reilly (65).

FERMANAGH: J McGrath; L Cullen, C Cullen, K Connor; U Kelm, J McMahon, C Corrigan; E Donnelly, R Jones; J Cassidy, D McClusker, A Breen; R Lyons, C Jones, S Quigley. Subs: P McCusker for Lyons (45), D Teague for Kelm (49), D McGurn for Jones (55), T Clarke for Donnelly (58), C McGee for Breen (58).

Referee: Joe Molloy (Galway)

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