A waterlogged pitch in Elverys MacHale Park saw this second round game in division 2b in the National Hurling League switched to the Connacht GAA Centre of Excellence in Bekan on Sunday morning. Mayo decked out in their new black change jersey were slow to get to the pitch of the game and found themselves trailing by 2-2 to 0-0 with less than ten minutes gone, a gap they were never able to bridge over the remaining hours play.
The game was played in terrible conditions, with a wind whipping the rain right across the field throughout, but it was Meath's lighting start that cost Mayo in this game. Jack Regan flicked the sliothar over the bar inside the first minute and a few seconds later Meath were able to win back possession from the puck out and feed corner forward Willie McGrath who drove the sliothar low past Donal O'Brien in the Mayo goal for the Royal counties first major of the game.
Six minutes later it was double trouble for Mayo when McGrath and Karl Ennis combined to set up Alan Douglas on the run. The Trim wing-forward made no mistake and crashed the sliothar to the back of O'Brien's net and put his side seven points to the good. Douglas added on another point a minute later , which was quickly followed by a McGrath point and it was already looking like an exercise in keeping the score down for Mayo.
JP Coen's side did get a foothold in the game shortly afterwards and reeled off four points on the bounce with Brian Hunt landing two frees with points from play coming from Eoghan Collins and Austin Lyons Anthony Healy ended Mayo's scoring run with a point from a free ten minute before the break and that scored kick-started another Meath scoring burst with McGrath and James Toher both raising the white flag, before Meath plundered their third goal on the stroke of half time, when Jack Regan's free somehow snuck its way through the Mayo defensive line and trickled into the back of the net. That score sent Meath in leading by 3-6 to 0-4 at the turn around.
The second half was a slow and grinding affair with neither side managing a score until the 12th minute of the half when Brian Hunt pointed a free for Mayo. The home side would go on to add four more points before the end with Kenny Feeney chipping in with three points (two from frees ) and Brian Hunt adding one more. Meath only raised the white flag three more times in second half, but by that stage they had the damage done and went home with two points in the bag. For Mayo they must regroup and have two weeks to get things right before Down come calling on Sunday, March 8.
Mayo: B Hunt 0-4 (4fs ), K Feeney 0-3 (2fs ), A Lyons, A Healy (f ) 0-1 each.
Meath: W McGrath 1-3 (0-1f ), A Douglas 1-2, J Regan 1-1, J Toher, P Conneely 0-1 each.
Mayo: D O'Brien, S Morley, F Lyons, A Brennan, K Kiely, A Connolly, P O'Flynn, A Lyons, G Nolan, E Collins, S Hoban, K Feeney, B Hunt, D Gallagher, F Boland. Subs: J Ganley for Collins, K McDermott for K Lyons, S Boland for D Gallagher, L Cribbin for A Lyons, N O'Malley for K Kiely
Meath: C Bird, C Reilly, S Brennan, M Whitty, D Healy, K Keoghan, P Keogh, G Kelly, K Ennis, P Conneely, J Toher, A Douglas, J Regan, A Healy, W McGrath. Subs: S Doyle for Healy, M Dunne for Brennan, S Quigley for Conneely, C Joyce for Quigley. L Martin for K Ennis, C Joyce for S Quigley
Ref: J Keane (Galway ).