Thursday 22 March 2018

Memories of a derby most fierce

Dublin and Meath went seven years without meeting in a Leinster final before renewing big-day rivalry in the GAA's Centenary year (1984). They then met in five in a row from 1986-90.

They have met 25 times in the Leinster championship since 1983 (Meath 11, Dublin 9, draws 5), while it's 7-4 to Meath in Leinster final meetings.

Remarkably, the aggregate scores for all 11 finals show only one a one-point differential, 144-143 (Meath 11-111 Dublin 6-125) in the Royals' favours. Martin Breheny ranks the 11 finals.

1989: Dublin 2-12 Meath 1-10

One of the great Dublin-Meath jousts. Meath, who were without the injured Mick Lyons and who had Colm Coyle sent off, were hit by an early goal from Kieran Duff. Dublin led by four points in the second half, but a Meath revival saw them move ahead. However, a goal from Vinny Murphy, followed by a few points, saw Dublin record their first championship win over Meath for five years.

1987: Meath 1-13 Dublin 0-12

On the day that Stephen Roche won the Tour de France, his Dublin colleagues failed to put a spoke in Meath's wheel. Mattie McCabe scored an early goal for Meath, who led by 1-5 to 0-2, before Dublin rallied to lead 0-9 to 1-5 at half-time, by which stage Kevin Foley and Charlie Redmond had been sent off. Meath won a tense second half, 0-8 to 0-3.

1990: Meath 1-14 Dublin 0-14

Did Colm O'Rourke foul John O'Leary under a high ball which led to a Meath goal in the first minute? That was the difference between the teams, even if there were wild fluctuations over the 70 minutes. Meath led by eight points after 41 minutes, but Dublin pared it back to one point in the 64th minute. Late points by David Beggy and Brian Stafford ensured a Meath win.

1994: Dublin 1-9 Meath 1-8

Meath beat Dublin by a point at the end of the 1991 saga, but felt the pain of similar defeats in the 1993 Leinster semi-final and the 1994 final. Dublin led by five points in the second half of the '94 final, but, as happened so often in the battles between these rivals, the margin was pared back. A Graham Geraghty goal (he was a wing-back in those days) restored Meath hopes, but Dublin held on.

1988: Meath 2-5 Dublin 0-9

Meath had two goals on the board after 15 minutes, but Dublin, who had defender Dave Synnott sent off early in the second half, battled back and had a chance to level it up when they were awarded a penalty in the last minute. However, Charlie Redmond drove it over the bar in what was the start of a nightmare sequence of misses for Dublin penalty takers.

1984: Dublin 2-10 Meath 1-9

Remarkably, three of the first four scores were goals, and Meath had a chance of a second one, but Padraig Lyons missed a penalty. Dublin had John Caffrey sent off minutes before half-time but, as they had done in the previous year's All-Ireland final against Galway, they improvised comfortably. Barney Rock and Kieran Duff were Dublin's top scorers, each returning 1-4.

1986: Meath 0-9 Dublin 0-7

It was memorable because it ended Meath's 16-year wait for a Leinster title, but the game itself was a grim, if fascinating, war of attrition on a wet, windy day. Dublin lost Barney Rock with a shoulder injury just before half-time, a setback which possibly cost them the game. They led by two points at half-time (0-6 to 0-4), but scored just one point in the second half.

1996: Meath 0-10 Dublin 0-8

Dublin's attempt to defend their All-Ireland title crashed at the Leinster final fence. They led by two points at the three-quarter stage, but failed to score again, while a young Meath team kicked on, scoring four points. Ciaran Whelan made his Dublin debut.

2001: Meath 2-11 Dublin 0-14

Dublin conceded an early goal, when goalkeeper Davy Byrne failed to collect a cross and Graham Geraghty pounced. It set the trend on a day when Meath took their chances and Dublin didn't. Richie Kealy's goal secured what was to be Meath's last Leinster title for nine years.

1999: Meath 1-14 Dublin 0-12

Ollie Murphy (below) scored 1-5 from open play as Meath inflicted more misery on a Dublin side for whom all except two points came from placed balls. Remarkably, Dublin only trailed by a point at the three-quarter-stage, but Meath finished much stronger, with a Murphy goal ensuring that they closed the decade as Leinster champions. They went on to win the All-Ireland title.

1995: Dublin 1-18 Meath 1-8

Last, because unlike all the others it wasn't competitive to the end. Meath led by a point early in the second half (1-7 to 0-9), but fell apart in a matter of minutes. So complete was Dublin's dominance that their subs amused themselves with a water fight in the closing minutes as their on-field colleagues piled on the agony.

Irish Independent

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