GAA: Impressive Armagh defeat Meath to reach their first SFC quarter final since 2008
Last Updated: 03/08/14 5:27pm
A strong second-half surge in a rain-soaked Croke Park proved the difference as Armagh defeated Meath 0-18 to 0-13 to advance to the All-Ireland football quarter finals.
Aside from a rocky period at the end of the first half, Paul Grimley’s side were the superior side for much of this game and can now look forward to their first quarter final since 2008.
The Orchard County led six points midway through the first half but their concentration seemed to lapse and Meath managed to claw the deficit back to a point at the break.
Grimley’s half-time team talk seemed to do the trick however as, despite the teams briefly drawing level at the start of the second period, Armagh pulled away in the second half for a comfortable win.
Both teams were without their captains for the match, with Kevin Reilly and Ciarán McKeever both ruled out late on, with Shane O’Rourke and Aaron Kernan respectively coming to fill the void.
Half forward Stefan Campbell was named man of the match by the Sky Sports panel after contributing an impressive 0-3 from play.
Grimley’s self-imposed media ban continued after the match as he neglected to offer his thoughts to the press but he will have been quietly pleased with a display which saw all six of his forwards and both half backs get on the score sheet in difficult conditions.
Meath manager Mick O’Dowd asked for patience from disillusioned Royals fans in his post-match comments, saying he is only two years into the five-year plan needed to the team back to the top.
“People need to remember that probably half the team is playing either their first or second championship season with Meath,” said O’Dowd.
“We had a solid league and blooded a lot of players and used a lot of players during the championship as well. That’s something we would be encouraged by but it is disappointing.
“We just need to stand tall, stand by one another and work hard for the county. At the end of the day that’s what we are all doing.
“You could focus on the people who are negative towards amateur players. I’d more focus on the people within county Meath that stood by these players.”
Armagh: P McEvoy; J Morgan, C Vernon, A Mallon; M Shields (0-01), B Donaghy, A Kernan (0-02); S Harold, A Findon; S Campbell (0-03), T Kernan (0-03, 2f), A Forker (0-03); K Dyas (0-01), J Clarke (0-01), K Carragher (0-01).
Subs: M Murray for Morgan, R Grugan for Carragher, B Mallon (0-02) for A Forker, S Forker (0-01) for T Kernan, F Moriarty for Donaghy.
Meath: P O'Rourke (0-02, 2f); M Burke, D Keogan, B Menton; D Caroll (0-01), P Harnan, D Tobin; A Flanagan, S O'Rourke; B Meade, B McMahon, A Tormey (0-01); S Bray, M Newman (0-04, 3f, 1 45), D Bray (0-02, 1f).
Subs: G Reilly (0-03) for Meade, E Harrington for Carroll, D McDonagh for S Bray, J Wallace for D Bray, P Gilsenan for McDonagh, B Meade for S O'Rourke.
Referee: R Hickey (Clare