Laois 0-8 Meath 5-18
Leinster Minor Football Championship Semi Final
The Laois minor footballers crashed out of the Leinster championship following a heavy 25 point defeat to Meath in O’Moore Park this afternoon.
Donncha Phelan’s charges were beaten all over the field as Meath carved them open at will with their superior physicality and pace.
Laois were particularly second best in the first half as they only scored two points, both from frees 27 minutes apart, and were completely wiped out at midfield as Cian McBride and Darragh Swaine ruled the skies for Meath.
Laois made a simply dreadful start and were five points down by the second minute.
With 45 seconds on the clock, Conor Farrelly’s crossfield ball was fumbled and Luke Kelly nipped in before keeper Oisin Keogh to score a goal.
Meath then added a free from Luke Mitchell and one from Bryan McCormack to move into a commanding position early on.
Laois were rattled but they were off the mark in the third minute as a driving run from Mark O’Connell resulted in Conor Goode being fouled and Ross Bolger converted the resulting free.
Meath then missed a couple of scoreable frees before David Bell restored their five point lead from play.
And then they had their second goal. Matthew Costello cannoned a shot off the crossbar but the ball rebounded to Luke Kelly who was there to score his second goal.
Darragh Swaine and Luke Mitchell landed further points to leave Meath 2-5 to 0-1 ahead by the midpoint of the half.
Mitchell added another two more frees before captain Matthew Costelloe got his first of the game after 22 minutes.
Laois continued to lose their own kick-out and Meath had a third goal when Darragh Swaine combined with Sean Coffey to release Bryan McCormack who smashed it to the net.
Luke Kelly added another point before, 27 minutes after their last score, Laois got another from a free via Oisin Byrne.
That left it 3-9 to 0-2 at half time. Conor Farrelly kicked Meath 17 clear on the resumption of play but Laois made a number of changes at the break and almost responded with a goal.
Damon Larkin, one of them, combined with Conor Goode but his fisted effort was blocked by Sean Brennan on the Meath goialline.
But Laois did score soon after and it was their first from play via Sean Greene after a pass from Ben Conroy.
David Bell replied for Meath but Damon Larkin equalled Laois’ first half tally with a fine score from in front of the terrace.
David Bell and Luke Mitchell edged Meath on further before Laois had another goal chance when Damon Larkin charged through but his shot was once again saved by Brennan – he was fouled in the build up though and Josh Lacey tapped over the resulting free.
Luke Mitchell kicked his sixth point but Conor Goode replied with his first to leave 17 in it as we entered the final quarter.
But there was no let up from Meath and they had a fourth goal after 48 minutes via David Bell. Laois had another goal chance when Josh Lacey set up Mark O’Connell but keeper Brennan refused to be beaten and pulled off another fine save.
Eamonn Delaney pointed the resulting 45 and Laois then had a fourth clear goal chance via Larkin which was cleared off the line by Cathal Hickey with Meath going straight down the other end where David Bell scored their fifth goal.
Matthew Costelloe added a 45 and Brian O’Hanlon got another two points as Josh Lacey got his second for Laois as the game petered out.
Colin Hawdon slotted the game’s final point as Meath claimed an easy win.
Meath now go forward to face either Kildare or Wicklow, who clash in the other semi final tomorrow, in the decider.
SCORERS – Meath: Luke Kelly 2-1, Luke Mitchell 0-6 (six frees), Bryan McCormack 1-1, David Bell 2-3, Darragh Swaine 0-1, Matthew Costelloe 0-2 (one 45), Conor Farrelly 0-1, Brian O’Hanlon 0-2, Colin Hawdon 0-1 Laois: Ross Bolger 0-1 (one free), Oisin Byrne 0-1 (one free), Seán Greene 0-1, Damon Larkin 0-1, Josh Lacey 0-2 (one free), Conor Goode 0-1, Eamonn Delaney 0-1 (one 45)
Meath: Sean Brennan; James O’Hare, Harry O’Higgins, Cathal Hickey; Conor Farrelly, Conor Harford, Sean Coffey; Adam Reilly, Cian McBride; Darragh Swaine, Matthew Costello, Bryan McCormack; David Bell, Luke Kelly, Luke Mitchell. Subs: Oisin McCloskey for Hickey (42m), Brian O’Hanlon for Kelly (47m), Colin Howdon for Swaine (49m)
Laois: Oisin Keogh (Emo); Seán Greene (Emo), Mikey Bennett (Portarlington), Cathal Bennett (Portarlington), Niall Carey (Portlaoise), Seán O’Neill (The Rock), Ciaran Byrne (Ballyroan-Abbey); Seán Michael Corcoran (Portarlington), Ben Conroy (Portlaoise); Conor Goode (Stradbally), Rioghan Murphy (Portarlington), Daragh Galvin (Portarlington); Ross Bolger (Killeshin), Oisin Byrne (Arles-Killeen), Mark O’Connell (Timahoe). Subs: Damon Larkin (Portlaoise) for Byrne, Josh Lacey (St Joseph’s) for Bolger, Cathal Doyle (Ballyroan-Abbey) for Galvin (all HT), Eamonn Delaney (Stradbally) for Carey, Ciaran Burke (Crettyard) for Corcoran (both 47m), Seth Burns Mooney (Courtwood) for M Bennett (53m), Luke Newe for McCormack, Adam Treanor for O’Higgins (both 57m)
Referee: Darragh Sheppard (Dublin)