Ward inspires big Meath win

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Louth 2-08 5-08 Meath, Kingspan Breffni Park, 7pm
Full time

Match tracker
Full time: Meath win the grudge rematch – scoring 5 goals in a convincing display of finishing. Cian Ward with 4 goals leading the way for the Royal County, Louth were toothless up front Darren Clarke aside, and offered little after a strong start
72min Another Meath goal – Sheridan creates
72min Shane O’Rourke gets a late point to put lead back out to 6
70min We’re into injury time
69min Free to Meath, Cian Ward is fouled there. A masterclass in finishing from him today. Ward off to applause
68min Clarke with another free, its another point. Meath careless last few minutes
65min 2 goals in it, 5 minutes to go
64min Clarke fouled for a free, a late surge perhaps?
63min Paddy Keenan shows good composure to reduce lead to 7 points
63min Its a penalty to Louth
62min Louth make a double substitution – they had another wide just there too.
61min Its been a poor second half for Louth, Meath have it in the middle of the park
60min 10 min to go here
57min Louth will need a miracle to come from 11 points down
56min All so simple for Meath, game over? Shane O’Rourke to Ward, who gets his 4th goal.
55min Louth’s response is a wide.. good move but poor finish
53min Cian Ward with a hat trick – Joe Sheridan did well in the build – 8 points up now
52min Meath on top here in this Leinster battle, they are winning everything although 2 wides in a minute is careless
48min Meath stretch their lead to 5 points
46min Cian Ward with a free in for Meath – excellent finish
43min Darren Clarke gets another free, its been scrappy so far
42min Derek MacGuire had a good chance for Louth but Joe Sheridan does well
40min Cian Ward takes his tally to 2-2
40min Free in for Meath, decent chance now for first score
39min Louth with a wide there, they will struggle with this breeze and will need to take their chances
37min 2nd half is under way now – neither side off the mark
strong>half time: Louth head in a goal down despite a solid start, cian ward has been good for Meath taking his goals well. Darren Clarke has scored all Louth’s scores
37min We’re in added time..Keenan with a poor effort thats cleared. Play ends with a free to meath who clear
36min Ward misses
35min Free to Meath – Cian Ward to take, his influence is growing
33min Shane O’Rourke finishes a find move – his 2nd point
32min Meath have taken control after a strong louth start
30min Cian Ward with his 2nd goal – good finish one on one with connor
29min Sheridan with a wide
28min Shane Lennon creates – Darren Clarke finishes with a goal
26min He responds to cheers with a point
26min Cheers from the Louth crowd as Joe Sheridan is booked
25min Sean Connor with a good block from ward
24min Keenan is down injured at the moment, he’s back on feet. Louth need him thankfully he is ok
22min Clarke with some good build up play but final effort is wide – He’s been Louth’s best player
20min Meath back in front – Shane O’Rourke gets that one, nice finish over the bar
18min Clarke gets his 4th – we’re level
17min Free in for Louth – a chance to level
15min Cian Ward shoots Meath in front with a fine goal – Meath getting on top
12min Meath finally off the mark and then follow up with a wide from Brian Meade
8min Off the crossbar… meath threaten there
7min Darren Clarke get one from open play this time, a surprise exclusion in the midweek team
5min Clarke gets his second
4min Louth mean business and have started well – another Louth free
2min Clarke with another free – gets it
1min We are under way and already a Free in for Louth – Darren Clarke misses
0min The Longford and Cavan match has just ended so we are just under 30 min to kick off – Longford won by the way
0min Louth boss Peter Fitzpatrick has played down the notion that this Saturday’s All-Ireland SFC qualifier against Meath will be a ‘grudge match’.

Louth (SF v Meath): Sean Connor; Declan Byrne, Aaron Hoey, Dessie Finnegan; Ray Finnegan, Liam Shevlin, Stephen Fitzpatrick; Paddy Keenan (captain), Brian Donnelly; Derek Crilly, David Reid, Adrian Reid; Derek Maguire, Shane Lennon, JP Rooney.

1- Murphy,2- C.O’Connor,3- Reilly, 4- G.O’Brien, 5- Kenny, 6- Burke, 7- M O’Sullivan, 8- Crawford
9- Meade, 10- E.Reilly, 11- Queeny, 12- Biggy ,13- P.Byrne, 14- Joe Sheridan, 15- P.O’Rourke

Much hype has surrounded the game since last Sunday week’s draw, after last year’s controversial Leinster SFC final which saw Louth denied the title by an illegal Joe Sheridan goal in injury-time, but this week Fitzpatrick cited Kingspan Breffni Park clash (Saturday with a 7pm throw in) against the Royals as nothing more than a ‘must win’ game for his side.

“It’s a game of football we want to win and it’s a game of football we need to win – nothing else,” Fitzpatrick told the Drogheda Independent newspaper.

“We were very poor against Carlow – I know that and the lads know that – and it’s about putting that performance right. To be fair to the lads, training has been good since and I know if we play the way we are capable of playing it will take a very good team to beat us.
“I’m not saying we have a magic wand to fix what went wrong (against Carlow), but we’ll pick the best team we possibly can and give it our all. I trust this team.”

However, much emphasis will be centered on this game following the outrageous pitch invasion and assault on the referee last year with Louth aggrieved following Martin Sludden’s allowing of a disputed goal. Louth may have felt and indeed feel upset but nothing could condone the behaviour of the fans who ran onto the pitch and it remains an example of the worst type of gombeenism in the GAA with images of overweight middle aged supports throwing punches and bottles.

Meath manager Seamus McEnaney is relishing the prospect of locking horns with Louth on Saturday. Considering how much is at stake, Banty would be forgiven for feeling apprehensive ahead of the qualifier derby in Breffni Park. However, the Monaghan man is rubbing his hands in anticipation,
“There is no life in Gaelic football for me, this management team or these players beyond Saturday. I don’t think I’ve ever looked forward to a championship game more than this one. “For me, this is knockout and everything is at stake. I love those kinds of championship matches. “There will be nowhere better to be than Breffni Park on Saturday night with about 20,000 people there. There’ll be no back door, no second chance for anybody.
“It’s the real old style of championship match that you love to be involved in. I am really buzzing about it’’.
With Louth still seemingly obsessed with Croker twelve months ago, it looks like Meath’s game to lose this weekend.


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