The winners eased to their second successive Allianz league division 2 victory with a result that means the pressure continues to mount on Meath manager Andy McEntee after a game that was far more one-sided than the final margin suggested.
Meath, who made five changes to the team that was named, conceded a couple of early scores but got off to a great start when Mathew Costello played a quick exchange of passes with Jordan Morris, then slipped the ball underneath Conor Lavin
Conor Cox, Cathal Heneghan, Enda Smith and Donie Smith all showed moments of promise for the Rossies in that opening half and Anthony Cunningham’s men took back the initiative when Niall Kilroy did well to spoil a Meath kick out. A quick transfer of passes ended with Conor Cox setting up Cathal Heneghan for a palmed goal after a quarter of an hour.
Roscommon struggled to build up the lead they needed, however, and as the game approached the half-hour mark, they still led by just three points: 1-6 to 1-3.
That would have been a very slender lead to try and defend on a day when anything more than 25 metres from goal was outside scoring range against the wind, but a purple patch just before half-time completely changed the game.
Enda Smith, Conor Cox, Ultan Harney and Donie Smith all pointed as the score was moved to 1-12 to 1-3 by the interval, with Meath’s problems compounded by a black card for Robin Clarke.
The Royals needed to make a move early in the second half but Roscommon dominated the battle for possession, controlled the ball well and kicked two early frees to increase the lead by one before Clarke returned to the field.
The introduction of Eamon Wallace livened up the home side, with the Ratoath speedster kicking two points, but in general Meath’s play was lethargic and directionless, and it was only after Conor Cox was black-carded with 15 minutes remaining that they livened up.
Jordan Morris kicked some good scores over a crowded defence but they left themselves far too much to do, and by the time the game moved into stoppage time, they still trailed by six.
To compound Meath’s misery, a row broke out at the start of injury-time that led to James McEntee receiving a straight red card, as did his manager and uncle Andy McEntee.
While three late points gave a flash of hope that there might be a miraculous escape, a breakaway move led to a foul on substitute Ciarán Sugrue and a handy opportunity for Conor Cox to score his seventh point of the day from a 20-metre free.
Scorers for Roscommon: Conor Cox 0-7 (0-5f, 0-1m), Cathal Heneghan 1-1, Enda Smith 0-2, Donie Smith 0-2, Cian McKeon 0-1m, Eddie Nolan 0-1, Ultan Harney 0-1.
Scorers for Meath: Jordan Morris 0-5 (0-3f), Mathew Costello 1-0, Harry Hogan 0-2f, Eamon Wallace 0-2, Tomas O’Reilly 0-1f, Eoin Harkin 0-1.
1. Colm Lavin (Éire Óg)
2. Fergal Lennon (Clann na nGael)
3. Brian Stack (St Brigid’s)
4. Eoin McCormack (St Dominic’s)
5. Dylan Ruane (Michael Glaveys)
6. Conor Hussey (Michael Glaveys)
7. Richard Hughes (Roscommon Gaels)
8. Ultan Harney (Clann na nGael)
9 . Eddie Nolan (St Brigid’s)
10. Niall Kilroy (Fuerty)
11. Enda Smith (Boyle)
15. Cathal Heneghan (Michael Glaveys)
13. Cian McKeon (Boyle)
14. Donie Smith (Boyle)
24. Conor Cox (Éire Óg)
18. Ciarán Lawless (Oran) for Heneghan (temp, 45-48)
18. Ciarán Lawless (Oran) for Heneghan (55)
20. Niall Higgins (Elphin) for Lennon (55)
21. Ciarán Sugrue (St Brigid’s) for Ruane (59)
23. Shane Cunnane (St Brigid’s) for Kilroy (62)
22. Ben O’Carroll (St Brigid’s) for McKeon (66)
1. Harry Hogan (Longwood)
4. Eoin Harkin (Dunsaney)
3. Ronan Ryan (Summerhill)
2. Robin Clarke (Duleek/Bellewstown)
6. Shane McEntee (St Peter’s Dunboyne)
7. Donal Keogan (Rathkenny)
17. Gavin McGowan (Ratoath)
8. Pádraic Harnan (Moynalvey)
25. Jason Scully (Oldcastle)
9. Ethan Devine (Na Fianna)
24. Thomas O’Reilly (Wolfe Tones)
12. Mathew Costello (Senechalstown)
18. Jordan Morris (Nobber)
22. Sarán Ó Cuinneagáin (Wolfe Tones)
15. Joey Wallace (Ratoath)
23. Eamon Wallace (Ratoath) for Ó Cuinneagáin (29)
19. Niall Kane (Simonstown Gaels) for Scully (49)
13. James Conlon (Colmcille) for J Wallace (51)
21. James McEntee (Simonstown Gaels) for McGowan (59)
10. Cillian O’Sullivan (Moynalvey) for Devine (60)
Referee: Jerome Henry (Mayo)