Meath 0-10 Louth 1-09

Louth opened their O'Byrne Cup campaign with a two-point away to Meath at Pairc Tailteann.

Both Andy McEntee and Donal Curtis gave a raft of new players the chance to impress - Louth had 10 newcomers present - and for the opening 24 minutes it was tit-for-tat, with the sides trading scores until a Cathal Bellew point for Louth put two between the teams.

Darragh Campion caught the eye with an advanced mark point, though Sam Mulroy’s frees were keeping the Wee County ticking over and they entered the break with a two-point advantage, 0-06 to 0-04.

The Royals, now playing with the significant aid of the breeze, picked off the opening two scores upon the resumption through a Matthew Costello (free) and Thomas O’Reilly.

Louth's Dermot Campbell and Mathew Costello of Meath get to grips with each other

The crucial score in the game arrived in the 42nd minute with the sides level on seven points apiece. Midfielder Tommy Durnin's surging run towards goal was halted by foul means, with Sam Mulroy raising a green flag from the penalty spot, driving the ball beneath Meath shot-stopper Dominic Yorke.

Oisín O’Brien claimed an advanced mark for the Royals, and while another Costello point reduced the gap to two points, it would be as close as the home side would get, with Louth’s Mulroy and Meath full-forward Thomas O’Reilly claiming the final scores of the game.

Both sides finished with 14 players, following injury-time second yellow cards for Jordan Morris and Paul Matthews.

Meath: Dominic Yorke; Robin Clarke, Brían Conlon, David Toner; Gavin McCoy, Eoin Lynch, Seán Reilly; Bryan Menton (0-1), Donal Keogan; Jack O'Connor (0-1, free), Darragh Campion (0-1, mark), Jason Scully (0-1); Jordan Morris (0-1, free), Thomas O’Reilly (0-2), Matthew Costello (0-2, one mark)

Subs: Oisín O’Brien (0-1, mark) for Morris (48), Harry Hogan for Yorke (54), Ben Brennan for Reilly (56), Shane Walsh for Conlon (61), Donal Lenihan for Costello (70)

Louth: Fergal Sheekey; Niall Sharkey, Daniel Corcoran, Andrew Mooney (0-1); Liam Jackson (0-1), Cathal Bellew (0-1), Oisín Murray; Tommy Durnin (0-1), Conor Early; Matthew Corcoran, Declan Byrne, Conall McKeever; Sam Mulroy (1-4, 1-0 pen, 0-03 frees 0-01 45), Conor Grimes, John Gallagher

Subs: Paul Matthews (0-1) for Grimes (8), Gerry Garland for Gallagher (H/T), Craig Lynch for Sheekey (H/T), Dermot Campbell for Bellew (44), Jack Murphy for M Corcoran (61)

Referee: Gary Hurley (Westmeath)