Monday 18 December 2017

Brogan leads Dublin to another Leinster triumph

Dublin 2-13 Meath 1-13

Bernard Brogan celebrates after scoring Dublin's first goal in yesterday's Leinster SFC final against Meath
Bernard Brogan celebrates after scoring Dublin's first goal in yesterday's Leinster SFC final against Meath

Dublin's dominance in Leinster continued as they held off a late Meath fight back to claim their seventh provincial title in eight years.

With just over 15 minutes left, Dublin looked home and hosed after James McCarthy kicked them into a 2-11 to 0-7 lead but the Royals rallied to ensure a breathless finale.

Meath kept in touch and when Jamie Queeney goaled in the 69th minute, Seamus McEnaney's men found themselves just three points adrift as Dublin seemed to switch off.

Bernard Brogan, who would finish the day with 1-7, replied with a fine point but Graham Reilly cut the gap to three again in injury time.

Meath came looking for an equalising goal again but Barry Cahill hauled down Cian Ward and Brian Farrell was left with no choice but to go for a goal from a 21 metre free.

His effort flew past some Dublin defenders but Stephen Cluxton showed a safe pair of hands and his clearance was the last act of the day as Dublin secured the Delaney cup for the 51st time.

There was similar drama at the end of the first half when, with the game finely poised at 0-7 to 0-5 in Dublin's favour, Pat Gilroy's men struck for two goals in the space of a minute.

Brogan found the net after a Conor Gillespie mistake but Dublin weren't finished there. From the resultant kick-out, Dublin gathered possession again and worked Denis Bastick clear for the midfielder to finish coolly to the net and give the All-Ireland champions a 2-7 to 0-5 lead at the break.

Meath struggled on the restart as Dublin looked comfortable defending their lead but Cluxton had to at his very best to save Farrell's goal bound shot early in the second half.

The Dubs stayed in cruise control Meath's late revival but at that stage they had left themselves with too much to do as Dublin marched into the last eight of the All Ireland series.

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