There was an electric atmosphere in Navan. A big day for the Royals. Welcoming distinguished guests.
The Saturday sun was out. The crowds arrived early. The old ground was humming. And so were the Dubs, who recorded a comfortable 2-19 to 1-11 win in Division 2 of the National Football League.
Dublin were composed. Playing into the town-end, they had three points in the pocket in the blink of an eye. They were quickly leading by 0-7 to 0-1. The big home choir didn’t get the chance to find their voice.
“Dublin’s early start took the wind out of our sails,” reflected Colm O’Rourke. “We were disappointed with our performance, but things will get better. It’s not going to be in weeks or months. It will be a slow process. We’ll keep our heads down and keep working.”
Meath chased every ball and were awarded with the first goal from Matthew Costello on 20 minutes when his arched delivery from the left nudged in off the far post.
It brought one of the biggest cheers of the day. But Brian Fenton clipped over a point for the Dubs in reply.
Fenton was at the heart of this Dublin display. He seems to invent space on the ball and spread the play like an electric blanket.
Dublin led 1-11 to 1-2 at the break. “The pleasing thing is that we kept things going in the second half,” remarked Dublin boss, Dessie Farrell.
“We finished out the game well. We showed that bit of consistency over the full 70 minutes that we have been looking for. We were happy with the performance, but we have plenty to work on too.”
Killian O’Gara scored Dublin’s opening goal just before the interval. It was his full senior league debut, and he went home to Templeogue Synge Street with a goal, three points and the Player of the Match award to his name.
The goal was a break-away. Eoin Murchan sped down the pitch, he slipped the pass to O’Gara, whose shot sank deep in the green and yellow net.
Cormac Costello palmed in Dublin’s second goal deep in injury time. It was created by another 100 metre sprint. This time from Colm Basquel.
By then, many had left the stadium. Rushing to see the rugby.