Monday 16 September 2019

Newman seals Royal spoils in duel with new-look Dubs

Meath 0-16 Dublin 1-11

Michael Newman of Meath tries to find a way past Seán McMahon during the Sean Cox SF fundraiser in Navan yesterday. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
Michael Newman of Meath tries to find a way past Seán McMahon during the Sean Cox SF fundraiser in Navan yesterday. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

On the face of it, this was a throwback of a game.

Meath and Dublin duked it out in Páirc Tailteann in an evenly-contested affair with the Royals finally deciding it with a come-from-behind win.

Graham Geraghty tries to do a ‘Mick Lyons’ on Charlie Redmond as he prepares to take a penalty at half-time. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
Graham Geraghty tries to do a ‘Mick Lyons’ on Charlie Redmond as he prepares to take a penalty at half-time. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

And while this fixture has lost any relevance as far as the national stage is concerned, Leinster's traditional heavyweights still managed to coax around 4,000 to Navan on a bitterly cold day in aid of the Seán Cox fund.

Jim Gavin was present on the sideline (he hadn't been when an experimental Dublin side beat TG4's Underdog side) as the All-Ireland champions' starting team saw them mix the established with the hopefuls.

Four of the side that started September's All-Ireland final - Eoin Murchan, Brian Howard, Brian Fenton and Niall Scully - took to the field in Navan along with veteran Eoghan O'Gara.

Eric Lowndes has featured regularly in recent seasons while Paddy Small's early Dublin career has been injury-hit but that pair also started.

Dublin’s Eoin Murchan finds the going tough in a battle for possession. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
Dublin’s Eoin Murchan finds the going tough in a battle for possession. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

Most of the rest were hoping to impress enough to be part of the panel when the league rolls around.

The Royals had rolled out many of their new faces in the one-point defeat to Longford the previous evening in Ashbourne but they also mixed the experienced with the newer faces.

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Graham Reilly, Donal Keogan and Mickey Newman all started and while Dublin led 0-2 to 0-1 after seven minutes, Meath settled better.

The home side should have bagged a goal midway through the first half but Bryan McMahon saw his effort pushed wide by Andy Bunyan in the Dublin goal when he had options inside.

Cormac Howley of Dublin in action against Ethan Devine of Meath. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
Cormac Howley of Dublin in action against Ethan Devine of Meath. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

Still, Meath were finding things a little bit easier and Newman hit four first-half points (three frees) to help his side into a 0-8 to 0-5 lead at the halfway point.

Shoot-out

The crowd were treated to a half-time penalty shoot-out that involved some of the stars of this fixture down through the years including Graham Geraghty, Alan Brogan and Charlie Redmond, along with ex-jockey Johnny Murtagh as well as former Ireland international Niall Quinn.

However, they couldn't find a winner before the sides returned to the pitch.

Both Gavin and McEntee ran their bench shortly after half-time but Dublin looked much improved. However, while they seemed to dominate territory and possession they struggled to make it count on the scoreboard.

Brian Fenton of Dublin in action against Graham Reilly of Meath. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
Brian Fenton of Dublin in action against Graham Reilly of Meath. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

They still trailed by two points when defender Robbie McDaid raided forward to get on the end of a move to grab the game's only goal.

That goal pushed Dublin into a one-point lead. It was the first time they had led since the seventh minute and with Meath struggling for traction in attack, Dublin looked well placed to push on.

However, Meath settled again through a Newman free. Fenton would push the Dubs back into the lead with his last act of the day before being substituted. Conor McHugh then extended the lead to two points with less than ten minutes to go. However, Meath would take charge from there.

Bryan McMahon landed two from play (one off each foot) before wing-back Niall Kane, who had an impressive outing, pushed them back into the lead.

And with the crowd more engaged in the game than they had been at any point in afternoon, Newman landed his sixth of the day to secure a rare win over their neighbours.

And despite the hectic weekend schedule for Meath, who lost to Longford the previous night, McEntee was pleased the counties could come together to raise money for Seán Cox who hails from the Round Towers Clondalkin club (just like Dublin manager Jim Gavin), before he moved to McEntee's Dunboyne.

"Everybody was aware of the situation with Seán and like anything these things come from an innocent enough start.

"And we said it would be a good opportunity to raise a few quid," McEntee said of the fundraiser that saw 3,900 tickets sold in advance. "And the position I'm in and Jim is in it seemed like a reasonable idea.

"It turns out Jim is quite friendly with Seán's brother Martin so as soon as it was mentioned it grew legs from there."

And while McEntee insisted they "wouldn't be getting carried away," he hopes his side can take something from the win.

"We were two points down with less than ten minutes to go and we kept doing what we thought was the right thing so why wouldn't they take something from it?

"They still keep the scoreline, it's a game of football at the end of the day and the lads put in a good shift and I'd like to think they can take something."

SCORERS - Meath: M Newman 0-6 (4f), G Reilly 0-3, B McMahon 0-2, N Kane, D Quinn, E Devine, J McEntee, B Menton 0-1 each. Dublin: R McDaid 1-0, C McHugh, S Smith (1f) 0-2 each; C Mullally, S Bulger, E Lowndes, R Basquel, B Fenton, D Gavin, P Small (1f) 0-1 each.

Dublin - A Bunyan; R McDaid, S McMahon, E Murchan; E Lowndes, B Howard, C Mullally, B Fenton, D Gavin; N Scully, R Basquel, S Bulger; P Small, E O'Gara, S Smith. Subs: CJ Smith for Murchan, C Howley for Scully, A Byrne for O'Gara (all h-t); R Gaughan for Howard (41), C McHugh for Smith (45), D Monaghan for Lowndes (50), S Boland for Bugler (53), O Lynch for Small (54), J Hazley for Howard (60), C Murphy for Mullally (63), I Reilly for Bunyan (65).

Meath - A Colgan; S Lavin, C McGill, R Ryan; J McEntee, D Keogan, N Kane; A Flanagan, S McEntee; B Menton, G Reilly, E Devine; B McMahon, M Newman, T O'Reilly. Subs: M Burke for Ryan, Danny Quinn for Menton (both 41), S Tobin for Reilly (44), Thomas McGovern for Devine (54), 25 Shane Glynn for McGill (59), M Brennan for Colgan (65), G McCoy for S McEntee (65)

Ref - N Mooney (Cavan)

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