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Full-time Meath 0-16 Wicklow 0-11
15.38 – 4 minutes, Meath 0-0 Wicklow 0-4: Tony Hannon puts Wicklow further in front after Seamus Kenny overcarries. Oddly Meath have started okay in midfield but they are turning over a lot of ball in open play. Not the start they wanted, as Wicklow have their tails up, win another free and from a more difficult angle Hannon points his second dead ball.
15.51 – 21 minutes, Meath 0-2 Wicklow 0-7: Tony Hannon isn’t put off by the blast of an air horn as he drills a 45 just inside the post. Kevin Reilly is slowly getting the better of Seanie Furlong though as Wicklow persist with the very long ball in on top of the full-forward. But others in that Meath defence are coming to Wicklow’s help. A ball is picked up off the ground 21 yards out. Hannon won’t miss that.
15.57 – 26 minutes, Meath 0-4 Wicklow 0-7: Mark Collins gets on the board but it took a lot of passing. It’s obviously a ploy to take their half-forward line way out the field but there’s no great movement with Sheridan and Farrell inside making this easier on the Wicklow defence than it should be. For the most part that is. This time Sheridan does get free and finds Farrell for a great score.
16.01 – 30 minutes, Meath 0-5 Wicklow 0-7: Meath slowly finding a way back and it’s no surprise it’s happening since Joe Sheridan has started to find space. Again he gets free and gets a third assist. Farrell is the finisher and Wicklow now need to switch their match-ups at the back and get Ciaran Hyland into it. They do just that as Hyland heads for Farrell’s footsteps. Anthony McLoughlin remains on Sheridan.
16.12 – Half-time, Meath 0-7 Wicklow 0-8: Graham Reilly finishes the scoring for the half and it’s a little ominous for Wicklow as Meath are finding different ways to score, are becoming less sloppy at the back (granted they’ve still a way to improve), are surprising everyone with their midfield performance and will have the breeze for the second half. As for the leaders, they need to tick a few boxes if they are to get over the line. They need to vary the long-ball tactic into Seanie Furlong as Kevin Reilly is getting on top and in changing their ways, they need to involve Leighton Glynn and he needs to involve himself. James Stafford needs to take to the skies, Rory Finn needs to get into the game while Ciaran Hyland and Brian Farrell is going to be as good a watch as it is vital to the outcome. If we had to call it though, we’d take Meath every time provided they get the Joe Sheridan of the second quarter and not the first.
16.19 – For the record, the press box have scientifically settled on an attendance of 7,000 people. We shall be back with all the second-half action shortly.
16.28 – 37 minutes, Meath 0-8 Wicklow 0-8: Teams back out for second half, one change on Wicklow team with Peader Burke on for Darragh O’Sullivan. He’s gone to midfield with Rory Finn gone to centre-forward. But it’s Meath back level straight away as Graham Reilly uses the breeze to kick a big score.
16.34 – 41 minutes, Meath 0-9 Wicklow 0-8: Leighton Glynn tumbles after a foot block on Cian Ward who has been largely anonymous up to that point. But whatever about the free being in front of the posts, there’s a far bigger blow to Wicklow as their captain doesn’t get up. The stretcher is on the field and there’s a lengthy delay as Glynn leaves in pain. Paul Earls comes on, Ward points the free and it’s hard to see a way back for Wicklow even with the minimum in it.
16.38 – 47 minutes, Meath 0-11 Wicklow 0-8: Graham Reilly has been immense and gets his third point from play, this time a long fisted effort. Without Glynn, and with Kevin Reilly and the wind going against the Seanie Furlong option, it’s hard to see where Wicklow will get the scores. Not Meath though, Reilly sends one over from way out. Dare we say it. Game over?
16.43 – 52 minutes, Meath 0-12 Wicklow 0-9: Rory Finn returns to midfield – that experiment didn’t work – with Darren Hayden now at centre-forward. But the action is at the other end where Graham Reilly is looking an All Star, granted in May.
16.48 – 57 minutes, Meath 0-12 Wicklow 0-10: Tony Hannon sticks over a free and John McGrath is replaced by Conor McGraynor but there are more and more cracks for Wicklow to paper over as this game goes on. Granted Meath haven’t gone long this half as Hyland gets to grips with Farrell but when they run from deep, Meath are causing problems and they are having amble opportunity as they have surprisingly been the better at centrefield, particularly Brian Meade. Meanwhile Jamie Queeey is on for Mark Collins, adding extra pace.
16.55 – 65 minutes, Meath 0-13 Wicklow 0-10: Jason Bolger on for Stephen Byrne for Wicklow, moments before substitute Conor McGraynor gets on a bouncing ball, beats his man, shoots low but has his effort saved well by David Gallagher. The one upside for Wicklow in all this is there should be about eight minutes of injury-time.
17.03 – 70 minutes, Meath 0-13 Wicklow 0-10: Brian Sheridan on for Cian Ward who has been poor, but it shouldn’t matter even if we’ll be having at least eight minutes of injury time.