Goals win games, goalkeeping errors don’t help in the pursuit of vital league points.
Derry deserved this facile success in the Allianz League division 2 game, but two goals, both of which Harry Hogan should have saved, made their task a lot easier.
For the first time in this league Meath were faced with a blanket defence and try as they did they only managed to unravel the blanket on one occasion when Thomas O’ Reilly found the net in the 50th minute after good work by Cillian O’Sullivan and Diarmuid Moriarty.
But if Meath supporters expected that to launch a comeback they were to be disappointed as Derry rattled off the next three scores.
Meath needed a good start to wobble the hosts confidence but couldn’t have got off to a worse one as Hogan allowed a tame enough shot go through his body for the games opening goal after just 48 seconds.
The winners second goal arrived in the latter stages of the half when Hogan didn’t get a strong enough hand on a Niall Toner shot to keep it out.
That ensured the home team, who looked a class above the visitors in the opening 35 minutes could go in at the interval ahead by 2-7 to 0-3 in front
It could have been worse for the Royals as a brave block by full back Michael Flood ten minutes before the break denied Shane McGuigan a third Derry goal.
To be fair Meath were not lacking in effort but Derry had their homework done, Meath have played direct quick ball to their inside forwards and in games against Cork and Clare it worked. But Derry presented them with a blizzard of red and white shirts between ball carrier and intended targets which meant the long ball wasn’t an option.
The second half saw Meath improve, although that has to be qualified by the fact that Derry perhaps took their foot off the pedal, but it is to the Royals credit that heads didn’t drop in the face of what was at times an unequal struggle.
O’Reilly’s goal was the least their efforts deserved but their inability to penetrate the Derry defence was best illustrated by the facts that a pass to a player two metres away went straight over the sideline and that Meath went 32 minutes without scoring.
The opening two league games saw Meath wins this one reminded all involved that while the new broom that is Colm O’Rourkes .management has improved matters there is much work to be done to get to the next level.
Next up are the noisy neighbours from the other side of the Boyne as Louth travel to Pairc Tailteann next Sunday, a game that was always a want to win has almost become a need to win,after todays disappointment.
Sometimes a reality check is well worth getting, Meath are better than the performance and scoreline suggests but they need to bounce back fast from this reversal.
Derry:Odhran Lynch, Chrissy McKaigue, Eoin McEvoy (0-01), Conor McCluskey, Conor Doherty, Padraig McGrogan (0-02, 1 ’45), Padraig Cassidy, Conor Glass, Brendan Rogers, Niall Toner (1-00), Paul Cassidy (0-03), Ethan Doherty (1-01), Benny Heron (0-02, 1m), Shane McGuigan (0-03), Niall Loughlin.
Subs:Oisin McWilliams (0-01) for McKaigue (blood sub) (49-54), Oisin McWilliams for McKaigue (57), Shea Downey for E Doherty (61), Mathew Downey for B Heron (65), Lachlan Murray for Loughlin (68), Paul McNeil for Glass (68).
Meath:Harry Hogan, Adam O’Neill, Michael Flood, Harry O’Higgins, Jack O’Connor, Donal Keogan, Cathal Hickey, Ronan Jones (0-01), Brian Conlan (0-01), Cillian O’Sullivan, Jason Scully, Darragh Campion, Jordan Morris, Donal Lenihan (0-02, 1f), Thomas O’Reilly (1-01).
Subs:Shane Crosby for O’Sullivan (blood sub) (14-17), Daithi McGowan for Conlan (35), Shane Crosby for Campion (35),; Diarmuid Moriarty (0-01) for Lenihan (47), Eoin Harkin for O’Higgins (53), Aaron Lynch (0-01, 1f) for O’Reilly (57).
Referee:Liam Devenney (Mayo)