Not much left to win for Meath after Division One crown secured

Meath 2-8 Donegal 1-9

It’s price reminding ourselves that solely 16 months in the past Meath had by no means even gained an All-Ireland intermediate championship.

Records, and opposition, have all tumbled like dominoes within the meantime in entrance of this outstanding Royal County workforce who now possess the 2 most important cups within the sport as All-Ireland senior title holders and Lidl Division One champions.

“There isn’t much left to win now – husband of the year maybe, I didn’t get that yet,” smiled Meath supervisor Eamonn Murray.

Given how he has impressed, inspired and cajoled this group, we don’t doubt that he might but win that award too.

Just like final September’s landmark Championship triumph towards Dublin, Meath required all their character to see off Donegal and so as to add the Division One title to the Division Two crown they picked up in 2021.

Meath led by seven factors with simply 4 minutes left within the first half. Five minutes into the second half, they trailed by one. It was some turnaround and it required a very gutsy remaining 25 minutes or so from Meath to get the job achieved.

Niamh O’Sullivan’s fortieth minute objective was essential, placing the favourites right into a lead they wouldn’t relinquish with Vikki Wall’s 54th minute level proving to be the insurance coverage rating.

You may argue that there isn’t a lot left for Meath to win now, that their urge for food might have been sated by the previous couple of months, although Murray rejected that out of hand.

“Not at all, if you knew this bunch of girls you could give them 50 sprints to do and they’d ask for 50 more,” mentioned the Cavan native who declared himself “a very proud Meath man today.”

“And they’re still young, so they won’t burn out or anything. Look, there’s no problem with this bunch, they’d train seven nights a week if you asked them. They are a very close bunch, they’ll enjoy tonight and probably tomorrow but after that it will be back to training. All is good, we’re looking forward to the summer; warmer days, drier days.”

A Leinster championship of kinds will probably be performed this yr – Dublin and Westmeath are the opposite groups concerned – and with Dublin first up in that competitors for Meath, that needs to be sufficient to command their full focus.

They will try for very important consistency and a extra rounded efficiency. The chic – Meath led 1-6 to 0-2 after 26 minutes – was combined with the ridiculous – they then conceded 1-5 with out response – on this Jekyll and Hyde efficiency.

Donegal, who conjured two objectives within the house of 23 seconds late within the semi-final win over Dublin, led 1-7 to 1-6 with 20 minutes to go.

It appeared they’d gotten to grips with Meath’s counter attacking technique and whereas they racked up 11 wides general, their effectivity throughout that blitzkrieg interval was excessive.

Of that 1-5 that Donegal reeled off, 1-4 of it got here when Meath had been right down to 14 gamers following the sin-binning of Mary Kate Lynch for the foul that led to Donegal’s twenty seventh minute penalty which Niamh McLaughlin dispatched.

“I think it was a bit harsh, the penalty,” argued Murray. “Mary Kate was falling that way, she just fell across her.”

Referee Garryowen McMahon pissed off Meath with numerous calls although they rose above all their difficulties to ship when it actually counted.

Orlagh Lally tied the sport up at 1-7 apiece earlier than All-Star Emma Duggan picked out O’Sullivan with a chic go for a luxurious second Meath objective.

They solely scored as soon as once more after that, a tidy Wall level, however it was sufficient to maintain them simply in entrance.

“Better to win by two rather than by 12,” claimed Murray afterwards.

Meath: M McGuirk; Okay Newe, MK Lynch, S Ennis; A Cleary, E Troy, A Leahy; M O’Shaughnessy, V Wall (0-1); Okay Nesbitt (1-1), O Lally (0-2), M Thynne; N O’Sullivan (1-1), E Duggan (0-2, 1 free), S Grimes (0-1).

Subs: B Lynch for Nesbitt (38 minutes), N Gallogly for Leahy (52 minutes), W White for Thynne (52 minutes), O Byrne for Lally (56 minutes), O Duff for O’Sullivan (60 minutes).

Donegal: R McCafferty; N Carr, E McGinley, N Boyle; T Hegarty, N McLaughlin, A Boyle Carr; Okay Herron, R Rodgers; B McLaughlin, N McLaughlin (1-0, pen), S Twohig; Y Bonner (0-2), Okay Guthrie (0-3, 2 frees), G McLaughlin (0-4, 1 free).

Subs: N Hegarty for T Hegarty (40 minutes), T Kennedy for Boyle (49 minutes), E McCrory for Twohig (56 minutes).

Referee: G McMahon (Mayo).

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