independent

Monday 10 December 2018

Dominant Dubs blow Meath away

GAA Leinster U20: Dublin 4-16 Meath 2-10

Action from the Under-20 Leinster semi-final between Dublin and Meath
Action from the Under-20 Leinster semi-final between Dublin and Meath

Sean Wall

Just when we though that Meath had turned some sort of corner at underage level this happens.

After defeating Dublin in the last three championship meeting hopes were high that the U-20s could continue the change of fortune in this provincial semi-final.

However those expectations were blown out of the water with the shoreline still in sight at Pairc Tailteann last Saturday evening.

There was less than 20 seconds on the clock when the Meath defence opened up in front of James Madden who took full advantage before parting to James Doran who rifled to the net.

The worst possible start for Brian Farrell's side and if that wasn't bad enough Doran repeated the feat in a similar time frame at the start of the second half.

What was really worrying from a Meath viewpoint was the gulf in class between the two teams over the hour.

Dublin were faster mentally and physically, and much stronger on the ball than the hosts who never looked like winning despite a few scoring spurts that brought them within range of their opponents.

When the counties clashed at minor level two years ago Meath won handsomely but what a turn around since then.

It suggests that Dublin may be developing their players much later than other counties.

The writing was on the wall for Meath by the end of the opening quarter as Dublin had raced into a 1-7 to 0-2 lead.

By that stage the Meath defence was in disarray, unable to cope with the movement of the Dublin attack.

Donal Ryan and Sean Bugler were dominant at midfield and despite their best efforts Jordan Morris and James Conlon were forced to live on scraps against a resolute and well organised Dublin rearguard.

Ethan Devine and Morris accounted for Meath's opening two scores and the hosts fared marginally better as the half progressed with Frank O'Reilly, Conlon and Morris all on target.

The opening half was in added time when Meath were thrown a lifeline, Nathan Nolan adjudged to have foot blocked a Jason Scully shot resulting in a penalty.

Frank O'Reilly made no mistake from the spot kick bringing Meath within three points at half-time, 1-5 to 1-8.

It seemed an eternity before Meath emerged for the second half as they kept the visitors waiting in the sweltering heat.

However once proceedings got underway it was Dublin who hit the ground running with a goal and two points within 90 seconds of the restart, Ross McGarry and Cormac Howley accounting for the points after Doran again netted.

By the 38th minute Dublin were ahead by double scores, 2-12 to 1-6.

Morris from a free and O'Reilly from play added Meath points before Ethan Devine had the ball in the net on 46 minutes but the referee ruled the goal out for a square infringement.

Then in the space of a minute Dublin were out of sight following a brace of quick-fire goals.

Ross McGarry who finished with 1-4 drilled the first one through a crowded goalmouth after Dan O'Brien's effort came off the cross bar.

Substitute Karl Lynch Bissett hit goal number four to leave it 4-12 to 1-8 and end the game as a contest.

There was two minutes of normal time remaining when Jordan Morris struck a brilliant effort to the net but it was academic at that stage and Dublin finished on a high with the last two scores, both in added time from Ross McGarry and Sean Bugler.

Dublin: David O'Hanlon; Nathan Nolan, Nathan Doran, Ciaran Smith; Kieran Kennedy, Neil Matthews, Eoin O'Dea; Donal Ryan, Sean Bugler 0-2; James Madden, James Doran 2-1, Cormac Howley 0-1; Ross McGarry 1-4 (1f); Dan O'Brien 0-1, Tom Keane 0-7 (2f)

Subs: Simon King for Kennedy (BC 20), Glenn McNamara for Nolan (44), Karl Lynch Bissett 1-0 for Howley (48), James Holland for J Doran (52), Eoghan Fitzpatrick for Ryan, Conor Hynes for Keane (both 56).

Meath: Andrew Beakey; Robbie Clarke, Conor Harnan, Kieran Slavin; Eoin Smyth, Eanna O'Kelly Lynch, James Cassidy; Darragh Campion, Adam Murphy; Jason Scully, Ethan Devine 0-1, Frank O'Reilly 1-2 (1-0 pen, 1f); James Conlon 0-1, Sean Reilly, Jordan Morris 1-4 (4f)

Subs: Shane Walsh 0-1 for Reilly (h-t), Sean Ryan for Cassidy (37), Adam Kealy 0-1 for O'Reilly (54), Shane McDonnell for Slavin, Ben McGowan for Devine (both 56), Brian O'Reilly for Smyth (59).

REF: B Cawley (Kildare)

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