By Tomás McCarthy 

Meath 1-13 Waterford 1-8 

Jenny Rispin made a winning start to her reign as Meath ladies football manager on a day of sunshine and showers in Dungarvan, as the reigning TG4 All-Ireland champions did enough to carve out victory.

Prior to the match, both squads lined up together and then sat down on the field to protest the need for minimum standards to be enshrined in a ladies player charter for the 2024 season.

All Star forward Emma Duggan fired 1-4, including a late goal, as the Royals advanced to the TG4 All-Ireland SFC quarter-finals. Orlagh Lally landed four points from play for the visitors while Niamh Gallogly got two.

Waterford sharpshooter Lauren McGregor grabbed 1-4 as Pat Sullivan's side now enter a relegation battle. McGregor has shot nine goals this year across league and championship.


Bríd McMaugh opened the scoring after five minutes for the hosts. Wind assisted Meath took control as Niamh Gallogly, Orlagh Lally and Stacey Grimes opened up a 4-1 lead. The visitors were also guilty of seven first half wides.

The pre-match sunshine quickly turned to thunder and lightning. Despite the inclement weather, McMaugh fisted over on 24 minutes for Waterford after a driving run from Annie Fitzgerald. All Star attacker Emma Duggan was tightly marked but she eventually popped over her first point of the afternoon. Lally landed her third to make it 7-2 approaching the break. Just before the half-time hooter, Waterford were awarded a close range free and Lauren McGregor converted.  


Kate McGrath narrowed the gap to three, 70 seconds into the second period. Niamh O'Sullivan and Duggan split the posts at the other end. McGregor nailed a free for the hosts before Kellyann Hogan fired over a point from 40 metres (0-9 to 0-6).

That was as close as Waterford got. Duggan dispatched two frees before Meadhbh Byrne raised a white flag. McGregor got two frees to bring her total to four.

A late Orlagh Lally point wrapped up victory for Rispin's Royals. With two minutes left, Meath sub Ali Sherlock set up Duggan who slotted the ball into the corner of the Waterford net. Just before the full time hooter, McGregor rifled the ball to the top corner. Her ninth goal of the season, she has scored 9-18 in 2023 for the Déise.

And while they now face a relegation play-off, Waterford manager Pat O’Sullivan is confident they can produce the goods.

“They know, in their heart and soul, how close they were today. We didn't perform last week. Unfortunately, with the structure that's there, you get your two games and that's it. We know we're facing a relegation play-off. We don't want to be there, but we're there, we just have to suck it up and get on with it now. We will and I have faith in them that they'll prove how good they are.”

Waterford: E O'Brien; C Murray, L Mulcahy, A Murray; A Waring, Karen McGrath, E Murray; B McMaugh 0-2, E Power; A O'Neill, A Fitzgerald, K Hogan 0-1; K Murray, L McGregor 1-4 (4fs), Kate McGrath 0-1. Subs: H Power for Waring (39), C Hynes for C Murray (56), C McCarthy for McMaugh (57).

Referee: K Phelan (Laois).