AN All-Ireland Qualifier clash that could have been a straightforward one for Tyrone instead turned into a potential nightmare after they came within seconds of being dumped from this year’s championship.
Cathal McShane popped up with the all-important equalising point seconds from the end of this clash before an attendance of 9000 at Navan. Extra time result, but even then the Red Hans just about struggled to a vital victory.
It was a game that all knew was going to be a tough one, but nobody was really aware of what was to follow, especially after a confident and exuberant start.
Connor McAliskey led the way for Tyrone, whose vibrant attacking style was soon paying dividends. A goal from him after only eight minutes edged them into a 1-3 to 0-2 lead and they looked poised to consolidate.
Other goal chances were to follow as Tyrone threatened to run riot during that first half. But they were pegged back as Meath instead grew in confidence and began getting the scores required to consolidate their challenge.
While Michael McKernan, Frank Burns and Padraig McNulty all impressed, Tyrone were full value for a 1-6 to 0-7 interval advantage.
However, Meath emerged on the resumption with renewed vigour and were soon reaping the dividends. Donal Lenihan, Ben Brennan and Cillian O’Sullivan spearheaded their challenge and they went ahead close to the end of normal time.
But then Cathal McShane equalised to save Tyrone and they seemed to have weathered the storm when a second goal in extra time from substitute, Harry Loughran, and points from Cathal McShane, Connor McAliskey and Niall Sludden saw them go five points, 2-14 to 0-15 ahead.
The second half of added time was all Meath, as Tyrone failed to score again. The home team gradually reduced the deficit, before the final whistle saw the former Ulster champions survive with their championship credentials intact.