A spirited second-half performance saw Meath claim the spoils in a hotly contested NFL Division 2 game at O’Moore Park last night.
Laois should have done more to capitalise on a rather laboured Meath start, but failed to register a single score before the visitors began to find their stride with a Shane O’Rourke point in the sixth minute.
Andrew Tormey extended their lead to two points shortly after following a great run from Brian McMahon. Laois soon found their way back into the game courtesy of a Ross Munnelly free, before Dónal Kingston gave the home side the lead after some clever footwork with the ball at his feet.
Shane O’Rourke was seeing plenty of the ball in midfield for Meath, kicking two points in the first half. His side were unlucky not to get the game’s first goal when Dalton McDonagh found himself clear following a string of quick passes, but Laois goalkeeper Graham Brody saved well low to his left.
Michael Newman slotted the ’45’ over, before adding a second ’45’ minutes later. Newman then gave the ball away in his own half-back line and the resulting Laois attack produced a penalty, which Munnelly placed low into the left of the goal, giving his side a 1-7 to 0-5 lead at half-time.
Meath started the second half with much more intent, as O’Rourke found the posts for the third time. Mick O’Dowd’s side kept the intensity up with Newman kicking two frees in quick succession.
Dónal Kingston managed to break the Meath run with a point, but the visitors responded with an excellent point from Brian McMahon, whose quick change of pace left the Laois defence lagging behind, bringing the game to within a point with just over 20 minutes left.
The Meath comeback continued from a Newman placed ball. When Meath edged in front, it was no surprise to see that the point again came from the Kilmainham man. Laois substitute Evan O’Carroll levelled it with a neat point, but David Bray restored Meath’s one-point lead. Paddy O’Rourke made a vital save late on, before points from Brian Menton and Graham Reilly wrapped up a well deserved win for Meath.
Meath: P O'Rourke; D Keogan, K Reilly, M Burke; S Curran, E Harrington, D Carroll; B Menton, S O'Rourke; D Tobin, D McDonagh, A Tormey; B McMahon, S Bray, M Newman. Subs: P Harnan for S Curran (46), G Reilly for D Tobin (57).
Laois: G Brody; P O'Leary, M Timmons, P McMahon; D Strong, P Begley, C Begley; J O'Loughlin, K Meaney; D Conway, C Meredith, B Sheehan; R Munnelly, D Kingston, G Walsh. Subs: D Booth for M Timmons (50), J Finn for D Conway (54), MJ Tierney for R Munnelly (59). E O'Carroll for G Walsh (62), A Ryan for B Sheehan (69).
Referee: M Collins (Cork)