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Thursday 14 December 2017

Royals grind out narrow victory over Laois

While their form away from Navan may leave a lot to be desired, Meath continue to grind out results at Páirc Tailteann and recorded another narrow 0-13 to 1-9 success at the expense of Laois on Saturday.

Although Laois led for most of the contest, some fine second-half points from Cian Ward as well as a sublime sideline kick from Joe Sheridan hauled the Royal County back on level terms with five minutes remaining. And late points from Michael Burke and substitute Peadar Byrne swayed the verdict in their favour. The first half was a dull affair. The visitors' goal arrived in the 25th minute when Billy Sheehan rose above Meath 'keeper Paddy O'Rourke to fist a Cathal Óg Greene centre to the net. That gave Laois a 1-4 to 0-5 lead and they were still in front at the change of ends thanks to a pointed Donie Kingston free.

Meath did manage to reduce the first-half damage to a point with Sheridan and Ollie Lewis raising white flags after the break. Shane O'Rourke made his first competitive start in over two years and he freshened up Meath's attack scoring two fine points.

Table-toppers Down preserved their unbeaten league record with an impressive 1-13 to 1-6 win over Armagh in Newry on Saturday night.

A goal from Benny Coulter inside the opening minute had Armagh on the back foot from the off and Down pulverised the Armagh defence to lead 1-5 to 0-0 after just eight minutes.

Armagh's fightback began with Steven McDonnell shooting to the net from the penalty spot but their march was halted two minutes from half-time when Finian Moriarty received a red card as Down led by 1-7 to 1-4 at the break.

Although McDonnell had an Armagh point within a minute of the restart, they were on the receiving end after that. Mark Poland, Ambrose Rogers, John Clarke, Mark Poland and sub Conor Maginn all pointed for Down who ran out convincing winners.

Donegal moved back into the hunt for promotion on Saturday night with a 1-9 to 2-5 victory over Tipperary.

Michael Murphy was inspirational with seven points for Donegal, who led by 0-6 to 1-1 at half-time in Thurles.

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