Laois out of Leinster U-20 Championship as goals see Meath to victory

Rory Delaney

Reporter:

Rory Delaney

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rory@leinsterexpress.ie

Laois out of Leinster U-20 Championship as goals see Meath to victory

Alan Kinsella was in action at corner-forward for Laois.

Laois U-20 footballers are out of the Leinster Championship after they lost out to Meath by two goals in Pairc Tailteann, Navan on Saturday.

Laois 0-13

Meath 2-13

Laois would play into a strong breeze in the first half, but they almost made the perfect start when Sean O'Flynn got up from wing-back and was put through on goal, but his shot whistled wide.

Meath responded with the opening score of the game from midfielder Darragh Campion, but Laois made little of the conditions by drawing level thanks to a brilliant point from Peter Kealy. They had little time to savour the score, however, as Jason Scully had Meath back in front moments later with a point from close range.

Again Laois found a response, and again it was an impressive one, as Evan Lowry defied the elements to kick an outstanding point from way out on the right wing. Frank O'Reilly put Meath back in front with their third point, and over ten minutes would pass before another score was registered.

Meath had the better of the play, but some wayward shooting meant that Laois were hanging on in the game. When the scoring finally resumed it was Meath who rectified their poor shooting, as Conor Moriarty (two frees) and James Conlon pushed them into a four point lead.

Evan Lowry hit back for Laois, but Meath were just that bit cuter in attack and aggressive in defence, and they kept Laois at arms length for the rest of the half. Their aggressiveness in defence would probably have seen Laois awarded more frees under a different referee, but Fergal Smyth waved 'play on' on a number of occasions when it looked like Laois men had been fouled.

A Diarmuid Whelan free in the final minute of normal time had Laois within four of Meath, but Darragh Campion's third point of the half meant Meath led 0-10 to 0-5 at the interval.

Laois needed a strong start to the second half to try eat into the Meath lead, but it was the hosts who hit the ground running. With a little over a minute played, centre-forward Ethan Devine was allowed to advance on goal far too easily, and he made no mistake from ten yards out to leave Laois with a mountain to climb.

Conor Moriarty added a free for the home side moments later and Meath now lead by nine points, but to Laois' credit they worked hard to get back into the game. They enjoyed their best spell of the game after that, with Diarmuid Whelan central to their dominance.

Laois kicked six points without reply, with Whelan getting five of them, to whittle the Meath lead down to just three poitns, but they would not get any closer than that.

Ethan Devine pointed to relieve a bit of pressure on Meath, but Ronan Coffey replied for Laois with a score from a tight angle.

What Laois really needed was a goal, but they never really created an clear-cut chances, and Meath killed the game off soon enough. James Conlon pointed to send them four clear once more, before Ethan Devine got his second goal with an emphatic finish from close range to end the game as a contest.

A late Diarmuid Whelan free made it a six point game, and that's the way it finished.

LAOIS

Scorers: Diarmuid Whelan 0-7 (0-5 frees), Evan Lowry 0-2, Peter Kealy, Jordan Fitzpatrick, Alan Kinsella, Ronan Coffey 0-1 each.

Team: Matthew Byron (Courtwood); James Kelly (St Joseph's), Diarmuid Bennett (Portarlington), Richie Hitchcock (Park-Ratheniska); Conor Brennan (Ballyroan Abbey), Shane Bolger (Killeshin), Sean O'Flynn (Courtwood); Peter Kealy (St Joseph's), Eoin Dunne (Rosenallis); David Connolly (Ballyfin), Jordan Fitzpatrick (Portarlington), James Phelan (The Heath); Alan Kinsella (Courtwood), Diarmuid Whelan (Ballyroan Abbey), Evan Lowry (Killeshin). Subs: Ronan Coffey (Portarlington) for Fitzpatrick (42 mins), Dean Brophy (St Joseph's) for Kealy (49 mins), Robert Tyrell (Camross) for Phelan (53 mins), James O'Connor (Timahoe) for Brennan (55 mins), Liam Kinsella (The Heath) for A Kinsella (58 mins), Martin Doyle (Graiguecullen) for Hitchcock (59 mins)

MEATH

Scorers: Ethan Devine 2-1, Conor Moriarty (frees), Darragh Campion 0-3 each, Jason Scully, Frank O'Reilly (0-1 free), James Conlon 0-2 each.

Team: Adam McDermott; Robbie Clarke, Conor Harnan, Kieran Slavin; Jason Scully, Eanna O'Kelly Lynch, James Cassidy; Darragh Campion, Adam Murphy; Eoin Smith, Ethan Devine, Frank O'Reilly; James Conlon, Conor Moriarty, Shane McDonnell. Subs: Jordan Morris for McDonnell (40 mins), Adam Kealy for O'Reilly (52 mins), Brian O'Reilly for Scully (60 mins), Darren Gibney for Slavin (63 mins), Ben McGowan for Murphy (63 mins)

Referee: Fergal Smyth (Offaly)