Royals retain edge to repel Dubs' rally
Meath 1-13 Dublin 2-8
It's advantage Meath in Group 1 following a hard-earned victory over their fierce rivals at Páirc Tailteann.
Meath enjoyed a dominant spell at the end of the opening half and then built on their lead in the third quarter, opening up a six-point advantage at one stage. It left Ger Gleeson's charges chasing the game and they never looked capable of reeling in their opponents. Dublin did close the gap to two points late on but a defence in which James O'Hare, Conor Harford and Cathal Hickey were outstanding, held steady.
The hosts were 0-1 to 1-2 in arrears after full-forward Luke Swan netted for Dublin on 10 minutes. However, by the end of the first quarter Meath trailed by just a point. Points from Sean Foran and Mark Lavin (free) left Dublin leading 1-4 to 0-5 approaching half-time. Meath ended the half in style with a goal from Bryan McCormack putting them 1-7 to 1-4 up at the break. The on-song Luke Kelly increased the lead on the restart and David Bell and Luke Mitchell added scores before Conor Murray replied for the Dubs.
A scrambled goal by Swan gave Dublin hope. Malachy Codd had the deficit down to two with two minutes left. But a free from Mark Lavin, in answer to a Matthew Costello effort, was all the Dubs could manage.
Scorers - Meath: L Mitchell 0-6 (4f), B McCormack 1-1, M Costello (1f), D Bell (1f), L Kelly 0-2 each. Dublin: L Swan 2-0, M Lavin 0-2f, L Dunne, C Murray, E Cashman, C Hennessy, S Foran, M Codd 0-1 each.
Meath - S Brennan; J O'Hare, H O'Higgins, C Hickey; C Farrelly, C Harford, S Coffey; A Reilly, C McBride; M Costello, L Kelly, C Hawdon; D Bell, L Mitchell, B McCormack. Subs: D Swaine for Hawdon (22), B O'Hanlon for Bell (47), D Morgan for McCormack (52), J Moore for Kelly (58), O McCloskey for O'Hare (59).
Dublin - S Murphy; J Bannon, A Fearon, A Rafter; R O'Dwyer, L Dunne, M Lavin; E Adamson, M O'Leary; C Murray, E Cashman, C Hennessy; M Dunne, L Swan, S Foran. Subs: C McManus for L Dunne (37), M Grogan for M Dunne (39), S Guiden for Murray (46), C O'Brien for Fearon (48), M Codd for Adamson (51),
Ref - B Cawley (Kildare)