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Antrim face the drop

Antrim 0-11 Meath 1-19

By John Martin

Antrim remain in relegation trouble at the foot of the Allianz Football League Division 3 table after a disappointing 11-point defeat to Meath at Casement Park yesterday.

The Royals dominated for most of the game and even the visiting forwards must have been surprised at the amount of space afforded them by their hosts who finished the game with 13 men.

The opening quarter belonged to Meath's Michael Newman. The corner forward had hit 1-3 by the ninth minute, and brought his side's tally to 1-6 by the midway point in the half as the visitors enjoyed a seven-point cushion.

Antrim had opened the scoring through Sean McVeigh after two minutes but Meath dominated thereafter, with Graham Reilly and Peter Byrne cutting through the Saffron defence with ease.

In a rare period of Antrim dominance Paddy Cunningham slotted over back-to-back points between the 21st and 24th minutes to cut the gap to five. Reilly had a great chance for Meath's second goal on 27 minutes, but John Finucane between the Antrim posts did well to push the ball over the bar over for a point.

Cunningham cut the gap again for Antrim and as the half time whistle approached the home side trailed by just five when Conall Kelly (pictured below) slotted over, however Brian Meade's effort just before the whistle saw Meath lead at the break by 1-9 to 0-6.

Antrim threatened just after the restart, and Ryan Murray watched his clever lob come back off the post, but that was as good as it got for the home side.

Reilly added four second half points, the same tally the Saffrons added between them after the break.

Antrim: J Finucane; K O'Boyle, M Johnston, S Finch; T Scullion, J Crozier, D McCann; L Carland, S McVeigh (0-1); C Murray, K Niblock (0-1), B Herron; P Cunningham (0-5, 2f), C Kelly (0-1), T McCann (0-3, 1f). Subs: J Laverty for S Finch, P Kelly for B Herron, M Herron for L Carland, R Johnston for K Niblock, P McNicholl for T Scullion

Meath: P O'Rourke; D Keogan, B Menton, C Young; C Lenihan, K Reilly, D Dalton; B Meade (0-1), C Gillespie (0-1); D Larkin (0-1), G Reilly (0-6), P Byrne; E Wallace (0-1), B Farrell (0-2), M Newman (1-6, 3f). Subs: E Harrington for D Keogan, S Tobin for E Wallace, J Queeney for P Byrne, J Sheridan for B Farrell, S Curran (0-1) for C Lenihan

Referee: S McLaughlin (Donegal)

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