Meath 0-11 Laois 0-08
Meath will meet their old rivals Dublin in the O’Byrne Shield Final on Saturday evening in Parnell Park after they defeated Laois in the semi-final at Pairc Tailteann tonight (Tuesday).
The home side were slow to settle in the early stages and lacked cohesion. The prospect of free flowing football wasn’t helped by over-fussy referee Niall Ward who blew for three fouls in the opening 45 seconds and continued with that policy throughout the match.
Laois benefited from one of the official’s early calls when Daithi Carroll scored a free after James Macken had fouled him. Ross Munnelly doubled the visitor’s advantage in the sixth minute.
Meath took over soon after and dominated the remainder of the half, although Laois kicked eight wides despite having the wind advantage. Paddy O’Rourke proved his worth with a fine score to open Meath’s account and two minutes later Niall Mooney scored the best point of the game with a superb effort from tight to the right-hand sideline.
Right from the subsequent kick-out Meath won possession and fed O’Rourke who gave Meath the lead for the first time, 0-3 to 0-2.
A Farrell free, after a foul on Ian Davis, was then followed by 12 minutes were little happened. Davis then scored another before Munnelly’s second from a free ended Laois’ 20-minute scoreless period. Davis made it 0-6 to 0-3 in the 30th minute and it remained like that until half-time.
Seamus McEnaney made changes at half-time with Paddy O’Rourke moving to goals as Brendan Murphy was replaced by Shane O’Rourke. Gary O’Brien and Kevin Reilly came on for Cormac McGill and the stretched Macken. Laois started the second-half in well with Munnelly, Carroll and Donie Brennan all scoring to draw the sides level within four minutes.
Shane O’Rourke hit a fine point for the home side and seconds later he restored their two-point cushion with a free after Paddy Gilsenan was fouled. Farrell converted his second free, but Laois hit back with points from Jason Enright and Munnelly (free) reducing the lead to 0-8 to 0-9.
Laois failed to score in the final 12 minutes as Shane O’Rourke added two further points to see Meath through to a meeting with Dublin on Saturday night.
Meath – B Murphy; C McGill, J Macken, C McGuinness; D Keoghan, B Menton, C King; T Walsh, C Gillespie; N Mooney (0-1), B Farrell (0-2 frees), S McAnarney; P Gilsenan, P O’Rourke (0-2), I Davis (0-2). Subs – S O’Rourke (0-4, two frees) for Murphy, G O’Brien for McGill, K Reilly for Macken all half-time; A Moyles for Mooney 41mins, B Meade for Walsh 58m.
Laois – M Nolan; P Begley, C Boyle, R Kehoe; D Strong, S Julian, N Dooher; C Og Greene, C Coss; R Munnelly (0-4, two frees), G Kavanagh, C Maher; J Enright (0-1), D Carroll (0-2 frees), D Brennan (0-1. Subs – B Sheehan for Maher 43 mins, K Lillis for Carroll46m, P McMahon for Begley 54m, K Meaney for Coss 54m, M J Tierney for Brennan 66m.
Referee – Niall Ward (Westmeath).