Allianz FL D2: Meath overpower Clare
Allianz Football League Division 2
MEATH 0-21 CLARE 0-7
By Paul Keane at Pairc Tailteann, Navan
A storming second-half performance in Navan eased promotion hopefuls Meath to their first victory of the Allianz football league Division 2 campaign.
Andy McEntee's men, who drew with Roscommon in Round 1, were fortunate to be two ahead at half-time following a sluggish start.
But they turned on the style after the restart and outscored Clare by a whopping 0-15 to 0-3 in the second-half to win at their ease.
They scored seven points on the trot in the third quarter and then, following Gary Brennan's third point of the game for Clare, tagged on another eight without reply.
Padraig McKeever made a strong claim for regular inclusion with six points in total for Meath while Graham Reilly and James McEntee contributed 0-7 between them.
Substitutes Eamon Wallace and Sean Tobin added three points each while new captain Bryan Menton performed well in midfield ahead of key defender Brian Conlon.
Next up for Meath is a trip to Cavan next Saturday evening while Clare face Munster neighbours Tipperary in Round 3.
Meath were on top throughout the first-half yet only took a 0-6 to 0-4 lead into the interval and feared wasteful play may come back to haunt them.
Last year's captain Reilly fired three of those points for the hosts but shot tamely at goal early on while midfielder Adam Flanagan also fumbled a good chance.
Meath dropped seven point attempts short in total in the opening half.
All of those errors helped to keep Clare in the game and the sides were level four times up to 0-4 apiece after 34 minutes.
Pearse Lillis and Jame Malone fired Clare's two points from play in the opening half with goalkeeper Killian Roche and Brennan booting the other two from placed balls.
Back to back Meath points before the break from Reilly and Bryan McMahon, the latter following a clever quick free by Conlon, left the Royals in pole position.
But it was far from a classic contest and the hope was that the standard would improve after the restart.
Meath finally found their range in the third quarter and piled on the scores, much to the dismay of Clare who were powerless to prevent the onslaught.
Wallace scored fine points from either wing, off either foot, while Sean Tobin had a strong influence when he came on, delivering three points.
*Scorers for Meath: *Padraig McKeever 0-6 (0-3f), Graham Reilly 0-4, James McEntee 0-3, Eamon Wallace 0-3, Sean Tobin 0-3 (0-1f, 0-1 45), Bryan McMahon 0-2.
Scorers for Clare: Gary Brennan 0-3 (0-1f), Killian Roche 0-1 (0-1 45), Pearse Lillis 0-1, Jamie Malone 0-1, David Tubridy 0-1 (0-1f).
*MEATH: *Andrew Colgan; Donal Keogan, Conor McGill, Seamus Lavin; Brian Conlon, Brian Power, Shane McEntee; Bryan Menton, Adam Flanagan; James McEntee, Padraig McKeever, Graham Reilly; Bryan McMahon, Cillian O'Sullivan, Joey Wallace. *Subs: *Eamon Wallace for J Wallace (32), Daniel O'Neill for Power (h/t), Sean Tobin for McMahon (53), Caolach Halligan for Reilly (61), Ben Brennan for O'Sullivan (62), Shane Glynn for Keogan (65).
CLARE: Killian Roche; Cian O'Dea, Cillian Brennan, Gordon Kelly; Ciaran Russell, Aaron Fitzgerald, Pearse Lillis; Gary Brennan, Cathal O'Connor; Jamie Malone, Eoin Cleary, Gearoid O'Brien; Conor Finucane, Keelan Sexton, Eimhin Courtney. Subs: Eoghan Collins for C Brennan (16), Alan Sweeney for Finucane (23), Sean O'Donoghue for Courtney (45), David Tubridy for O'Brien (59), Martin O'Leary for Cleary (66).
Referee: Sean Hurson (Tyrone).