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Croke Park Beckons for Royals!   26/08/2018

Meath 3-18

Roscommon 2-5 


Stacey Grimes fired 1-7 as Meath worked their way past Roscommon to reach the county's first TG4 All-Ireland intermediate final, where Tyrone await in the September 16th decider.This victory was as comprehensive as the scoreline suggests with captain Niamh O’Sullivan on song up front and goalkeeper Monica McGuirk between the sticks. Roscommon hit a goal in each half, but Meath were totally dominant.

After winning the toss and electing to play with the wind advantage in the first half, Meath got off to a flying start and after a point from captain O’Sullivan before late call up Fiona O’Neill ended a fluid move in the seventh minute with a second score. A Stacey Grimes free made it 0-3 to 0-0 after eight minutes.Meath were rampant at that stage, with the fluid movement of their forward causing havoc for the Roscommon defence. At the back Orlaith Duff lead a tight defensive set-up for Meath, and they managed to stifle several Roscommon attacks before they gained momentum.So it came as some surprise when the home side drew level after 13 minutes. It took a storming run from Jenny Higgins to break the Meath cover, and her pass was palmed to the net by Laura Fleming.

Meath could have been rocked by that leveller, but instead they reeled off three quick points, with Grimes, O’Sullivan and Niamh Gallogly all on target. When they backed it up with Marion Farrelly’s goal after 18 minutes, following O’Neill’s block, Meath were well on the road to victory.Three minutes later O’Neill bagged a goal of her own on the back of a brilliant flowing move launched when Máire O’Shaughnessy intercepted a Roscommon ball out of defence, which meant Meath were good value for their 2-9 to 1-1 half-time lead.

Considering Meath kicked ten wides in that opening period their lead could have been much further ahead but a Grimes free and another Wall score had Meath in control after the restart.Alice Kelly struck Roscommon’s second goal in the 42ndminute, but that only cut the gap to ten points and when Grimes converted a penalty after a foul on O’Sullivan, Meath ran out easy victors. 

Scorers – Meath: S Grimes 1-7 (4f, 1-0pen), F O’Neill 1-3, M Farrelly 1-1, V Wall 0-2, N O’Sullivan 0-3 (1f), N Gallogly 0-1, E White 0-1. 

Roscommon: R Finan 0-4 (3f), L Fleming 1-0, A Kelly 1-0, J Downey 0-1. 

Meath: M McGuirk; K Newe, O Lally, O Duff; S Ennis, M Thynne, N Gallogly; M O’Shaughnessy, K Byrne; F O’Neill, M Farrelly, A Cleary; S Grimes, V Wall, N O’Sullivan (c)

Subs: A Leahy for Byrne (43), E White for O’Neill (47), B Keogh for Ennis (51), S Cleary for Gallogly (54), O Byrne for Farrelly (54). 

Roscommon: H Cummins; H Ennis, A McLoone, M Kelly; S Bruen, A MacAuliffe, S Kenny (c); J Cregg, J Higgins; A Kelly, R Wynne, L Fleming; S Brady, R Finan, N Feeney.

Subs: J Downey for Brady (26), R Mullaney for Bruen (38), L Brady for Finan (50), F Beirne for Ennis (50), R Brady for Kelly (51). Referee: Gus Chapman (Sligo).