GAA Editor @BrianGBarry
Mayo 2-17 Meath 0-14: Mayo class sees off brave Royal challenge
Last Updated: 21/07/19 7:19pm
Mayo kept their championship hopes alive, beating Meath 2-17 to 0-14 at Croke Park.
James Horan's side were in a battle for long stages, but their class eventually told as they pulled away to a nine-point victory.
The opening stages of the game were loose, with both sides picking points from play. Darren Coen and Fionn McDonagh were lively up front for the Connacht side, but Meath were finding success in their forays forward. Cillian O'Sullivan, Ethan Devine and James McEntee all sent the umpires scurrying for white flags, as Andy McEntee's charges grew into the game.
Mayo were much improved from their Killarney showing, but nonetheless found themselves in a real dog-fight with it finely poised at the break, 0-7 apiece.
The beaten Leinster finalists suffered a cruel blow on the stroke of half-time, as Mickey Newman was forced ashore through injury.
Meath started the second-half brightly, establishing a two-point lead with substitute Shane Walsh firing over frees. However, just like last weekend in Ballybofey, things started to unravel in the fourth quarter for the Royals.
Perhaps the turning point came in the 54th minute. Séamus Lavin made a storming run forward, and space opened up in front of him. However, instead of running in on goal, he fired over the bar. Andy Moran quickly cancelled it out.
Mayo were getting on top all over the field, and a run of points from Colm Boyle, Lee Keegan and James Carr gave Horan's outfit a three-point lead as the finish line came into sight.
Seconds later, the killer blow was landed. Lee Keegan spotted Kevin McLoughlin on his own in the Meath area and picked him out with a hand-pass. The Knockmore man made no mistake, dummy-ing the ball and burying it past Andrew Colgan.
As the clock ticked on, Mayo were awarded a penalty, after Meath keeper Colgan was given a black card. Substitute net-minder Marcus Brennan was equal to Cillian O'Connor's initial effort, but the Ballintubber man followed up on the rebound to seal the victory.
It wasn't an entirely comprehensive performance from Mayo, but most importantly they're back to winning ways, and have the chance to reach an All-Ireland semi-final ahead of the Castlebar meeting with Donegal.
Super 8s: Group 1 table
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Referee: Ciarán Branagan (Down)
Scorers for Mayo: Cillian O'Connor 1-5 (0-4 frees), Kevin McLoughlin 1-1, Fergal Boland 0-2, Fionn McDonagh 0-2, Jason Doherty 0-2, James Carr 0-1, Andy Moran 0-1, Lee Keegan 0-1, Colm Boyle 0-1, Darren Coen 0-1.
Scorers for Meath: Shane Walsh 0-5 (0-5 frees), Séamus Lavin 0-2, Mickey Newman 0-2 (0-2 frees), Bryan Menton 0-1, Ethan Devine 0-1, James McEntee 0-1, Cillian O'Sullivan 0-1, James Conlon 0-1.
1. David Clarke
2. Stephen Coen
3. Brendan Harrison
19. Chris Barrett
5. Lee Keegan
6. Colm Boyle
22. Kevin McLoughlin
8. Donal Vaughan
9. Séamus O'Shea
10. Fionn McDonagh
11. Aidan O'Shea
26. Fergal Boland
13. Cillian O'Connor
14. Darren Coen
15. Jason Doherty
Andy Moran for Darren Coen (half-time)
James Carr for Fergal Boland (48th minute)
Eoin O'Donoghue for Stephen Coen (56th minute)
James McCormack for Seamus O'Shea (64th minute)
Michael Plunkett for Lee Keegan (75th minute)
Ciarán Treacy for Kevin McLoughlin (75th minute)
1. Andrew Colgan
2. Seamus Lavin
3. Conor McGill
4. Shane Gallagher
5. Donal Keogan
6. Padraic Harnan
7. Gavin McCoy
8. Bryan Menton
9. Shane McEntee
10. Ethan Devine
11. Bryan McMahon
12. James McEntee
13. Cillian O'Sullivan
14. Mickey Newman
15. James Conlon
Shane Walsh for Mickey Newman (37th minute)
Barry Dardis for Gavin McCoy (50th minute)
Seán Tobin for Ethan Devine (53rd minute)
Thomas McGovern for Séamus Lavin (65th minute)
Thomas O'Reilly for Bryan McMahon (66th minute)
Marcus Brennan for Andrew Colgan (75th minute - black card)