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McEntee hails Royal desire as late penalty sinks Lilies

Meath 1-9 Kildare 1-8

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HERO: Meath’s Barry Dardis, who scored the winning goal from an injury-time penalty, celebrates. Photo: SPORTSFILE

HERO: Meath’s Barry Dardis, who scored the winning goal from an injury-time penalty, celebrates. Photo: SPORTSFILE

SPORTSFILE

HERO: Meath’s Barry Dardis, who scored the winning goal from an injury-time penalty, celebrates. Photo: SPORTSFILE

Meath boss Andy McEntee hailed his players' desire as they ground out a come-from-behind win to keep their promotion hopes very much on track in front of 4,800 fans in Navan's Pairc Tailteann.

The Royals trailed by five points at half time (1-7 to 0-5) but timed their run perfectly and took the lead in the 71st minute when sub Barry Dardis slammed home a penalty to hand the Royals a fourth win of the campaign and keep them at the summit of the table.

"It was great - great heart shown, great resilience, determination, whatever you want to call it," said the Meath boss.

"It was such a b*tch of a day it would have been easy for fellas to say, 'look let's come back another day' but I thought they showed everything you'd like to see in a team."

Kildare hit 1-3 without reply in the early exchanges, with Ben McCormack grabbing the goal. And with Kevin Feely in good form at midfield, Kildare deserved their half-time advantage.

Meath played with the aid of the wind in the second half but looked like they would pay the price for some wasteful shooting. In all they shot 12 wides, hit the post with two more attempts, dropped three short and got nothing from a couple of goal chances.

But they came good when Dardis converted the penalty to take the lead for the first time since Mickey Newman opened the scoring after 50 seconds.

Cian O'Neill lost McCormack, Eoin Doyle and goalkeeper Mark Donnellan to injury and rued his side's lack of composure as they managed just a point in the second half.

"It's very disappointing. The conditions didn't help but one point in 35 minutes is not good enough" he said. "I think it came down to composure. We had a couple of really good chances and we didn't take them and every point against the breeze when you are trying to hold on is like two points.

"And that let us down - our handling of the ball, composure under pressure. To be fair Meath put a lot of pressure on us, you have to give them huge credit, they were full value there today but we are disappointed with ourselves."

For Meath and McEntee, promotion remains in their own hands as they prepare to face Cla re away next week and Fermanagh at home.

"You win two games and you're in Division 1, that's been our stated goal. How do you win two games? You start by winning one. That's where our focus will have to switch to fairly quickly."

Scorers- Meath: B Brennan 0-4 (2f), B Dardis 1-1 (1-0 pen, 1f), M Newman 0-2 (1f), D Campion, C O'Sullivan 0-1 each. Kildare: B McCormack 1-1, N Flynn 0-3 (1f), J Hyland (1m), K Cribbin P Brophy, T Moolick 0-1 each.

Meath: A Colgan; S Lavin, C McGill, R Ryan; G McCoy, D Keogan, S Gallagher; B Menton, S McEntee; C O'Sullivan, B Brennan, D Campion; B McMahon, M Newman, T O'Reilly. SUBS: G Reilly for McMahon, N Kane for McCoy (both HT), B Dardis for Newman (50), P Harnan for Campion, M Burke for Brennan (both 60).

Kildare: M Donnellan; M Dempsey, M O'Grady, D Hyland; C O'Donoghue, E Doyle, P Kelly; K Feely, T Moolick; P Brophy, F Conway, K Cribbin; N Flynn, B McCormack, J Hyland. SUBS: A Tyrrell for McCormack (23), P Cribbin for Brophy (50), J Murray for Doyle (53), A O'Neill for Donnellan, K O'Callaghan for Conway (both 57).

Referee: D O'Mahoney (Tipperary).


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