Meath Too Strong for Wexford Minors

Action from Meath Minor v Wexford 2

Full Time: Meath 6-16, Wexford 2-07

With style, panache, determination and above all teamwork, Meath Minors booked their place in the Leinster ‘C’ Final with a convincing victory over Wexford on Saturday afternoon in Kilbride GAA. Meath led from beginning to end and had a commanding lead at half-time, allowing Meath Minor manager, Eamon Murray survey his options with two weeks until the Royals will renew acquaintances with the Garden County, Wicklow the opposition for the Final. Meath travelled to Wicklow in the opening round of the Minor Championship and came away with a resounding victory on Valentine’s Day – 8-10 to 1-07. However, Meath will not be complacent over the next fortnight, knowing that only their very best will ensure they are crowned Leinster Champions on May 4th.

From the throw in, Meath’s commanding presence was felt. The partnership of Ellie O’Neill and Shelly Melia dominated the middle of the field while the Meath forwards had no trouble laying siege to the Wexford posts. Dunboyne’s Vikki Wall got the game’s first goal when Melia overturned possession in the Meath half back line and found Wall wide on the wing. A fine individual run from the Dunboyne player ended with the ball finished emphatically to the back of the net. Three mins later Meath had goal number two through Dunsany’s Megan Thynne which she slipped past the Wexford keeper into the bottom right hand corner. While Wexford grabbed a brace of points, the ball was soon back in the Meath forward line. Superb fielding by Melia allowed Meath to win possession in the middle of the field. An initial attempt on goal was deflected away by the keeper, however Wall was on hand to flick the loose ball to the empty net for her second goal of the game on ten mins. On the resumption, Simonstown’s Kelsey Nesbitt won the kickout and patient Meath build up finished with a Marion Farrelly point. Regina Hand pointed a fine score for Meath on 11 mins before Farrelly added a long range point, her second of the contest on 14 mins. The action was end to end – fast paced and Kilbride GAA was simply basking in the April sunshine! Despite being knocked back, Shelly Melia popped over Meath’s fourth point on 17 mins while Wall continued to heap the pressure on the county from the sunny south east with two fine points in a minute – Meath leading by 3-06 to 0-03.

Despite a terrific save by the Wexford keeper on 21 mins, the spilled ball was taken by Nesbitt and last year’s Meath Ladies Rising Star recipient found Megan Thynne in space and the dual player needed no second asking to fire the ball over the black spot for point number seven! Wexford converted a free on 22 mins when Gemma Donoghue was over eager with her challenge. The ball was soon back in the Meath forward line, with Meath Captain Hannah Heskin, Niamh Gallogly and Emma White keeping the Meath defence tight. Meath’s fourth goal came on 23 mins, Nesbitt blocked down the ball, overturning possession and found Thynne in space. Thynne returned the ball to Nesbitt and the Simonstown player finished vigorously to the net. Fierce defending by Katie Dowling, Katie Bellew and Aoibhín Cleary overturned possession time and time again. Such was the defender’s influence that Cleary added to her tally from recent games with a fine score on 27 mins! The last two scores of the half highlighted Meath’s scoring threat, with Marian Farrelly getting her third point of the contest while just on the stroke of half time Nesbitt was set up by Thynne once more and got golden goal number five for the Royals. The goal capped a fine first half performance for the Royals who went in at half time by far the happier side, knowing that Wexford had it all to do in the second half.

Half Time: Meath 5-09, Wexford 0-04.

Meath grabbed the opening two scores of the second half with Nesbitt pointing and Wall grabbing her hat trick on 31 mins. Nesbitt converted a free a minute later to lead 6-11 to 0-04. The teams traded scores in the 34th minute with Farrelly grabbing her fourth point of the game. Thynne added her second point on 39 mins after good work from Vikki Wall.

Wall added her third point of the game on 40 mins, while a great solo run by Marion Farrelly was well rewarded with a white flag for the St. Michaels player on 44 mins. The second half of the game highlighted the pride with which Wexford play. Despite being well adrift, the Slaneysiders fought back valiantly grabbing two quick fire goals. It got worse for Meath when full back Gemma Donoghue was sin binned for repeatedly fouling. Wexford pointed the resulting free to bring their tally to 2-07. However the final ten minutes belonged to Meath as they maintained possession and ran once again at the Wexford defence. Regina Hand pointed Meath’s final score on 56 mins as Meath celebrated at the final whistle, a place in the Leinster Final now a reality.

Full Time; Meath 6-16, Wexford 2-07

Meath looked comfortable throughout this semi-final encounter. Nicole Byrne was as dependable as ever between the posts, allowing Meath set up attack after attack, while Meath defenders were resolute in their efforts to minimise Wexford’s attack as they have all season thus far just conceding 7-20 in 2015. Meath’s midfield and forwards demonstrated their danger registering a total tally of 6-16 this afternoon and an incredible 31-61 in the Championship thus far! Eamon Murray’s charges will relish the opportunity in playing Wicklow in the Leinster Final in two weeks and judging on today’s performance, the Leinster Final is not one to miss! Meath will take on Wicklow in the Leinster Final on 4th May at a time and venue to be decided. A special thank you to Kilbride for hosting the fixture and alongside Dunboyne ladies for having a guard of honour for the girls onto the pitch and playing so well at half time. Well done ladies!

Meath Ladies would like to offer their condolences to the Mulvany family and Meath Minor player Hannah Mulvaney on their recent loss. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a h-anam dilís.

MEATH TEAM & SCORERS: Nicole Byrne, Emma White, Gemma Donoghue, Hannah Heskin (C), Aoibhín Cleary (0-01), Katie Dowling, Niamh Gallogly, Shelly Melia (0-01), Ellie O’Neill, Katie Bellew, Vikki Wall (3-03), Regina Hand (0-03), Kelsey Nesbitt (2-02), Marion Farrelly (0-04), Megan Thynne (1-03).

Subs: Karley Leavy for Cleary, Roisín Commons for Nesbitt, Katie Brannigan for Byrne, Hazel Callaghan for Thynne , Caoimhe Clynch for Heskin, Amy Mulvaney, Odharnaith McKenna, Hannah Tobin Jones, Hannah Mulvaney.

Referee: Antoin Keating (Dublin)

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