HomeFootballJamie Murphy stars as Meath see off Louth to claim Leinster U-20...

Jamie Murphy stars as Meath see off Louth to claim Leinster U-20 crown


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A goal in either half – by star performers Eamonn Armstrong and Murphy – decided the derby battle against Louth, who failed to replicate the display which defeated Dublin in last week’s semi-final, in their favour before substitute Tadhg Martyn capped a 10-point win with a third major in added-time.

Meath were deservedly ahead at half-time having taken a hold of proceedings during the second quarter especially. Powerful wing-back Armstrong burst through on 23 minutes to score the game’s opening goal and it was that score which separated the sides at the interval, 1-6 to 0-6.

The Royals, who started nine of the team who won the All-Ireland minor title in 2021, were sharper from the off and showed two points in front after six minutes –Murphy (free) and Liam Kelly directing efforts over the crossbar.

But Louth swiftly settled and moved in front through successive points by Kieran McArdle (2), James Maguire and Pearse Grimes-Murphy.

Cathal O Bric’s side responded emphatically, however, and reeled off 1-4 without reply, Armstrong converting at the end of a sweeping move after earlier points by Hughie Corcoran, Jack Kinlough, Rían Stafford and Murphy, who proved to be a handful for the Louth defence throughout.

Ahead by five, and with Kinlough extremely prominent, the Royals had the look of a team capable of pulling clear but the Wee county recovered their composure and a pair of converted frees by Maguire reduced the deficit to three by the break.

Grimes-Murphy, who was best for the losers, pulled another point back for the Wee county when the match resumed but Meath struck a serious blow from the resultant kickout. John O’Regan picked up a loose ball and fed Armstrong steaming through. The Duleek-Bellewstown clubman burst through and laid off to Murphy who swivelled and shot confidently to the roof of the net, stretching the lead to five.

Louth responded encouragingly with three of the next five points – Grimes-Murphy (2) and McArdle raising white flags for the Reds – but Murphy (2), Corcoran and Kelly combined to leave the Royals in front by 2-10 to 0-10 with less than 10 minutes to go.

Armstrong brought his tally to 1-2 from play with a pair of points, widening the gap to eight and though McArdle enhanced his personal haul to 0-5 from a free, Martyn neatly slid the ball past Cian O’Donoghue for a third maximum in the closing stages.

The Royals will face the winners of the Munster final between Kerry and Cork in the All-Ireland semi-final on the weekend after next.

SCORERS – Meath: J Murphy 1-5 (0-2f); E Armstrong 1-2; T Martyn 1-0; H Corcoran (1f), L Kelly 0-2 each; J Kinlough, R Stafford 0-1 each. Louth: K McArdle 0-5 (3f); P Grimes-Murphy 0-4; J Maguire 0-3 (2f).

MEATH: O McDermott; C Ennis, S O’Hare, J O’Regan; E Armstrong, L Kelly, K Smyth; J Kinlough, C O’Connor; R McConnell, R Stafford, S Leonard; H Corcoran, C Duke, J Murphy. Subs: C McWeeney for Stafford (34), T Martin for Leonard (47), J Harkin for Corcoran (57), S Byrne for O’Hare (60), J Mannion for Smyth (60).

LOUTH: C O’Donoghue; C Maher, J Maguire, F Tipping; T McDonnell, K Martin, C McKeown; D McDonnell, S Callaghan; P Grimes-Murphy, S Reynolds, L Flynn; A McGlew, K McArdle, D Dorian. Subs: R Deery for Tipping (18), J Rogers for Dorian (46), C McGinty for Flynn (50), F Cumiskey for Callaghan (53), S Halpenny for Maguire (59), T Kellett for Martin (60).

REF: D Stynes (Dublin).

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