Meath overcome Derry in All-Ireland minor football quarter-final
Electric Ireland GAA Football All Ireland MFC Quarter-Final
MEATH 1-15 DERRY 1-10
By Dan Bannon at the Athletic Grounds, Armagh.
Meath had to withhold a terrific second half comeback from Derry to book a place in the All-Ireland minor football semi final in a rain soaked Athletic Grounds in Armagh.
Meath mastered the conditions better throughout, but the game swung on two goal chances just before the half time whistle.
Derry’s Ethan Doherty missed a glorious chance as Seán Brennan expertly spread himself to deny the wing forward. From the very next attack, Meath corner forward Luke Mitchell found the net. That six point swing gave Meath the cushion and would prove costly for a valiant Derry side.
Meath cruised into control from the early exchanges opening up a 4-1 lead after 8 minutes, Adam Reilly- directly from the throw in-, Luke Kelly, Cian McBride and Darragh Swaine all got in on the act on the back of midfield dominance from the impressive McBride.
Derry did respond through an Enda Downey brace. Downey a son of the famous Seamus first effort was their only one from play in the entire half as they struggled to get to grips with the slippery O’Neills.
On the contrary, Meath put together some slick hand passing moves with Mitchell, Swaine and David Bell finishing in between two Conleth McGuckian frees.
Mitchell and Kelly added to their tally before the drama at both goalmouths where Mitchell’s match winning major broke Derry hearts.
Bryan McCormack’s point at the death crucially left nine between the sides at the interval 1-10 to 0-4.
Mitchell opening the scoring upon the resumption and it would not be his last say on the half but it would be Meath’s sole score for 25 minutes as Paddy Campbell’s young side sparked into an astonishing revival.
McGuckian notched over a free to get the momentum going quickly followed by Downey, midfielder Niall Doyle boomed over an inspirational effort from distance and Downey, found the range from play and a 45 to make it five on the trot.
Meath full back Harry O’Higgins then fouled Downey and received a black card and McGuckian dispatched the penalty to leave the minimum between the teams and allowing Derry to dream.
Substitute Conor McAteer did have chances to level, but like the rain showers, Meath would not relent.
Scorers for Meath: Luke Mitchell 1-6 (5f) Luke Kelly 0-2, Darragh Swaine 0-2, David Bell, Bryan McCormack, Adam Reilly, Cian McBride and Mathew Costello 0-1 each.
Scorers for Derry: Conleth McGuckian1-4 (1-0pen 3f) Enda Downey 0-5 (1f 145), Niall Doyle 0-1,
MEATH: Seán Brennan;James O'Hare, Harry O'Higgins, Cathal Hickey; Conor Farrelly, Seán Coffey, Oisin McCloskey; Adam Reilly, Cian McBride; Darragh Swaine, Matthew Costello, Bryan McCormack; David Bell, Luke Kelly, Luke Mitchell. Subs: Colin Hawdon for B McCormack (41), Luke Newe for O McCloskey (48), Killian Price for H O’Higgins BC (52) ,Niall Bennett for D Swaine (52), Joseph Moore for L Kelly (59).
DERRY: Aidan Gillen; Ronan McFaul, Aidan McCluskey, Conan Milne; Jamie Duggan, Johnny McErlain, Adam Canavan; Niall Doyle, Iarlaith Donaghy; Eunan McElhennon,Enda Downey, Ethan Doherty; Eoghan Hawe, Conleth McGuckian,Conan Milne.
Subs: PJ McAleese for J Duggan (14) Sean Kearney for A Canavan (37), Conor McAteer for E Hawe (41) Dara Mooney for E McElhennon (62), Ronan Lee for C McGuckian BC (64).
Referee: Liam Devenney (Mayo)