Eirgrid Leinster U-20 Football Championship Semi-Final
LAOIS 1-13 MEATH 0-7
By Rory Delaney at O’Moore Park
Laois will take on Dublin in the final of the EirGrid Leinster U-20 Football Championship after their comfortable victory over Meath.
In another massive boost to GAA in the O’Moore County, they were in cruise control for most of the his game. With their attacking producing scores when they needed them and their defence in a particularly mean-spirited mood, there would be no denying them the win.
Laois got off to a good start as Ronan Coffey got through one-on-one with the goalkeeper, but his shot flew over the bar. Diarmuid Whelan doubled the lead soon after with a fine score from the right wing, before Meath finally opened their account with a free from Luke Mitchell.
Frees would turn out to be the only avenue for scores for the Royals in the first half, as they failed to register a score from play in the opening half. Alan Kinsella sent Laois two clear once more before another Mitchell free for Meath, but Laois struck for a brilliant goal after that.
Colin Slevin floated a lovely ball over the Meath defence to an unmarked Dan McCormack, and he squared to Kinsella who palmed to an empty net.
Laois were well on top now, with their defence repeatedly repelling Meath attacks and their attack causing problems when they broke forward. They registered the next four points without reply, from four different scores, to lead by eight points after 22 minutes, 1-7 to 0-2.
Meath needed to formulate a response, but the best they could do was a brilliant free from Daithí McGowan, but Ronan Coffey hit back for Laois to leave them will in control at the break, leading 1-8 to 0-3.
Meath made three changes at the break in a bid to kickstart their challenge, but they made no immediate impact as both sides managed just one point apiece in the opening 10 minutes of the second half. Michael Doran hit the target for Laois, with Jordan Morris getting Meath’s first point from play in the 33rd minute.
Laois hit two quick-fire points in the 45th minute, and that more or less ended the game as a contest, as Meath never looked like developing the clinical edge in attack they needed, and the home team cruised into the final.
Scorers for Laois: Alan Kinsella 1-1, Mark Barry 0-4 (3fs), Ronan Coffey, Diarmuid Whelan 0-2 each, Colin Slevin, Jack Owens, Dan McCormack, Michael Doran 0-1 each.
Scorers for Meath: Luke Mitchell 0-2 (2fs), Aaron Lynch 0-2 (0-1 free), Daithí McGowan (f), Mathew Costello (f), Jordan Morris 0-1 each.
LAOIS: Matthew Byron; Michael Dowling, Seamus Lacey, Alex Mohan; Colin Slevin, Sean O’Flynn, Dean Brophy; Robert Tyrell, Eoin Dunne; Mark Barry, Michael Doran, Ronan Coffey; Alan Kinsella, Dan McCormack, Diarmuid Whelan.
Subs: Niall Dunne for E Dunne (29 to HT, Blood sub), Jack Owens for Doran (42), Niall Dunne for Tyrell (47), Jason Maher for McCormack (51), Michael Dempsey for Coffey (55, inj), Kevin Byrne for Brophy (62), Bernard Wheatley for Barry (64)
MEATH: Andrew Beakey; Seán Ryan, Robbie Clarke, Cathal Hickey; Oisín Martin, Eoin Harkin, John Keane; Liam Byrne, Cian Swaine; Cian McBride, Mathew Costello, Connell Ahearne; Jordan Morris, Daithí McGowan, Luke Mitchell.
Subs: Séan Bannon for Clarke (22, BC), Cathal Finnegan for Mitchell (HT), Aaron Lynch for McBride (HT), Danny Dixon for Swaine (HT), Luke Kelly for Martin (42).
Referee: Patrick Maguire (Longford).