As Ashbourne based warbler Johnny Logan once sang, ‘What’s another year’?
It is hard to know how much to read into it impossible to say if this was a definite step in the right direction for Offaly or a backward movement by Meath
The last time the sides met about a year ago the Faithful county side had to hang on for dear life to beat Meath in a league tie but their victory was never in doubt here once they found their stride in the second quarter.
Worryingly from a Meath point of view, the fight went out of them early in the second half. Offaly, however, played very well. They were very mediocre in the first quarter but things changed spectacularly after the first water break.
The winners were 0-6 to 1-2 behind at that stage and were grateful to Oisin Kelly’s brilliantly flicked first minute goal. Offaly had first use of the wind but Meath were much the sharper side early on and it looked like they were up for the battle.
Both sides struggled when playing with the wind which may have been more of a hindrance than a help Offaly had eleven wides with it in the first half while Meath had seven in the second half.
Offaly got their act together after the water break. They looked a completely different team, made fewer mistakes, and were more intense in the tackle and when foraging for the ball. They scored 1-11 without reply and led by 2-13 to 0-7 at half time, Adrian Hynes netting their second goal.
Meath got an early goal in the second half, courtesy of James Kelly, but 1-5 without reply from Offaly put them to bed and was exactly the response they needed, that goal coming from, Adrian Hynes.
Meath got two further goals, the firstly a Mark O’Sullivan score and the last one in injury time, being a decent effort from Jack McGowan
Scorers: Offaly – Eoghan Cahill 0-12 (8fs), 2sls; Liam Langton 0-5; Oisin Kelly, Adrian Hynes, Shane Kinsella 1-0 each; Brian Duignan, Ben Conneely 0-2 each; Brian Watkins, Leon Fox (f), Ross Ravenhill, Shane Dooley (f) 0-1 each.
Meath – Padraic Hanrahan 0-4 (3fs); Mark O’Sullivan, Jack McGowan, James Kelly 1-0 each; Jack McGowan, Adam Gannon, Gavin McGowan, Alan Douglas, Jack Regan 0-1 each.
Offaly – Conor Clancy; Joey Keenaghan, Ciaran Burke, Paddy Delaney; Brian Watkins, Ben Conneely, Killian Sampson; Leon Fox, Ross Ravenhill; Shane Kinsella, Eoghan Cahill, Liam Langton; Oisin Kelly, Adrian Hynes, Brian Duignan. Subs – Damien Egan for Keehaghan (6), Paddy Rigney for Delaney (27), Jason Sampton for Duignan (59), Colin Gath for Fox (64), Evan Kelly for Sampson (64), Shane Dooley for Cahill (66), David Nally for Hynes (66),
Meath – Charlie Ennis; Ben McGowan, Shane Whitty, Sean Geraghty; Keith Keoghan, Darragh Kelly, James Toher; Paddy Conneely, Pauric O’Hanrahan; Daithi McGowan, Damien Healy, Alan Douglas; Gavin McGowan, Mark O’Sullivan, Adam Gannon. Subs – Jack Regan for D Healy (30), James Kelly for D McGowan (ht), Stephen Morris for O’Hanrahan (ht), Michael Burke for B McGowan (44), Jack Walsh for Geraghty (59), Shane Brennan for D Kelly (59).
Referee – David Hughes (Kilkenny)