Unruffled Dubs too strong for old foes
DUBLIN completed their second win over the Royal County at underage level this year with this three-point win at Parnell Park on Saturday.
The Metropolitans, having beaten Meath in the Under-21 Final, recorded the double over their opponents who - although battling back to within a point of Dublin on three separate occasions in the second half - never managed to overhaul the home side.
Dublin, although losing full back Shane Clayton to a black card early in the second half, were never caught once Conor Kavanagh landed his fifth free of the game of the game to put Dublin a point up on 38 minutes.
Cyril Kevlihan's men showed great purpose in those final 20 or so minutes, with corner back Declan Monahan driving Dublin on.
It was a day when Dublin certainly stood up and were counted in more ways than one, with Meath getting in some big hits through the course of the hour.
Unruffled, Dublin remained focused and with Con O'Callaghan acting as an effective target man, they were able to grind out the win in the end.
Meath, however can take many positives from Saturday's defeat, and certainly Dublin had to work hard for their scores.
Indeed, they can thank Jack Burke for keeping in the game in the first half as the St Maur's man sent over three terrific points into a difficult breeze.
Burke had landed a good score on the run to level proceedings at two points each, with O'Callaghan then putting Dublin ahead for the first time on the quarter-hour.
Meath, however, were to land three successive scores after that, the pick of the bunch coming from Dylan Brady who from all of 40 yards clipped over a lovely score with his left boot to double his team's advantage on 20 minutes.
The Royals at stage were putting plenty of men behind the ball, but Burke, having already lined out for his club at senior level this season, was to draw on this experience as the game approached half-time. An instinctive point from the half forward, while cancelled out at the other end by a Darren Rowe point, was to galvanise Dublin in the last 10 minutes as they sent over three unanswered points.
Andrew Foley, who replaced Skerries Harps man Donal McIlgorm in midfield, was to put a point behind the sides, before Burke cut in from the left and sent over Dublin's equalising point on the half-hour.
Kavanagh then landed a late free to leave Dublin ahead by 0-7 to 0-6 at the break, but Meath began the second half in positive style, with Brady pointing within 10 seconds of the restart.
However, O'Callaghan was to put Dublin back in front off a Burke assist, with Kavanagh then doubling Dublin's advantage off placed ball. Meath will feel slightly aggrieved to have had the free awarded against them, but they showed their character to get back into the game, with a big field from Ronan Jones signalling a fine comeback.
As they started to run at the Dublin defenders, the home side had their backs to the wall, with Rowe converting frees each side of Clayton's dismissal and drawing Meath level.
Tellingly, though, Dublin were to respond with two Kavanagh frees, and while a terrific free from inside the right-hand touchline from Darren Heaney was to offer Meath hope, Dublin pulled away once more.
An excellent score from Chris Sallier proved to be the final nail in the coffin.
Dublin: Eiven Whelan, Cian Murphy, Shane Clayton, Declan Monahan, Conor Kavanagh 0-6 (fs), Jack Mullins, Glenn O'Reilly, Andrew Foley 0-2, Eoghan McHugh 0-1, Jack Burke 0-3, Andrew McGowan, Colm Basquel, Rian McBride, Con O'Callaghan 0-2, Brian Howard. Subs: Aodhan Fee (Naomh Mearnóg) for Mullins (31min), Aaron Byrne for Basquel (31min), Eoin Murchan for Clayton (37min, BC) Warren Egan for Howard (37min), Chris Sallier 0-1 for McBride (48min), Andrew Elliott for Burke (57min).
Meath: Johnny Lynch, Ronan McDonagh, Charlie Bird, Dan Ormsby, Jordan McLoughlin 0-1, Brian Harnan, Ross Ryan, Kyle Dixon, Ronan Jones 0-1 (f), Shane Comiskey, Darren Heaney 0-1 (f), Dylan Brady 0-3, James Cullen, Darren Rowe 0-5 (0-4f), David McLoughlin. Subs: Gavan McGowan for Bird (31min), Padraig McGowan 0-1 for McLaughlin (43min), Jack O'Connor for McDonagh (51min), Thomas McGuinness for McLoughlin (53min).
Referee: P Maguire (Longford)