Menton and Newman in the goals for Meath as Laois pay for wastefulness
MEATH 3-13 LAOIS 0-11
Meath were ahead from minute one to minute 71 as they dispatched of a wasteful Laois to reach the Leinster Senior Football Championship final.
Two goals from midfielder Bryan Menton and a Michael Newman penalty were the highlights for the Royal County but the meek surrender of Laois will bring a mix of puzzlement and frustration for their supporters. Their cause was not helped by Evan O'Carroll lasting only 30 minutes.
Seamus Lavin got the Meath end of the Croke Park scoreboard moving after just a minute but Laois kept pace for the opening 30 minutes. At that stage Menton got the first of his two goals and there was daylight between the sides.
Laois answered back with a couple of points but they conceded a penalty before the break and Newman confidently blasted his spot-kick home.
Meath led 2-6 to 0-7 but Laois chipped back another couple of points with the first scores of the second half before Andy McEntee's side went through the gears.
Still, after 53 minutes Meath led by just four points. Laois had chances to get closer but their finishing was poor. By the end of the game, Laois' tally of misses made for ghastly reading:
- Total shots 27, scores 11 (all points) - 40% success rate
- Shots from play 20, scores 6 (all points) - 30% success rate
Meath then hit a purple patch that completely settled the semi final encounter. From minute 53 to 61, they scored 1-3 without an answer from Laois. Menton's second goal made it 3-11 to 0-10 and there was no way back.
The final 10 minutes were played out at a much slower pace, with Meath happy to string passes together and the last wheezes of air well and truly gone with the wind for Laois.
McEntee will be pleased that his side were able to punish Laois for their profligacy and that his team's scores were spread out across eight players. Still, he and his side will know, much tougher challenges await.
Elsewhere, in Round 1 of the SFC Qualifiers, Monaghan beat Fermanagh 1-10 to 1-6 while Down came from behind against Tipperary to win out 1-13 to 1-10.