Dublin crush any hint of a Meath upset in second-half

Dublin 0-21 Meath 0-11

Dean Rock maintained his strong form with 10 points as Dublin secured a sixth consecutive Leinster senior final berth with the minimum of fuss at Croke Park, writes Paul Keane.

Just three points separated the teams at half-time as Meath hinted at an upset on the 25th anniversary of the four-in-a-row of games in 1991.

But the second-half was all about Dublin as the All-Ireland holders and title favourites opened up with some quality football and blew Meath away in that period, outscoring their neighbours by 0-10 to 0-3.

Dublin's Johnny Cooper with Michael Newman of Meath. Pic: INPHO/Morgan Treacy
Dublin's Johnny Cooper with Michael Newman of Meath. Pic: INPHO/Morgan Treacy

Aside from Rock, Diarmuid Connolly was excellent with four points while Bernard Brogan hit three before making way for Paul Mannion who made the score sheet late on too.

Dublin's reward is a July 17 Leinster final clash with Westmeath, a repeat of the 2015 decider, while Meath must head to Derry in under a fortnight for a testing qualifier tie.

Mick O'Dowd's young Meath side at least gave Dublin a little to think about in the first-half.

Dalton McDonagh of Meath has a goal bound shot saved by Stephen Cluxton at Croke Park. Photo by Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile
Dalton McDonagh of Meath has a goal bound shot saved by Stephen Cluxton at Croke Park. Photo by Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile

They opened brightly and moved 0-3 to 0-1 ahead after nine minutes thanks to points from Graham Reilly and Cillian O'Sullivan.

Dublin responded with three points in a row though the teams were level at 0-4 to 0-4 in the 18th minute.

The scores came a little easier to Dublin and Connolly converted back to back beauties from long range.

Paul Flynn weighed in with a brace of scores also and Dublin deservedly led 0-11 to 0-8 at half-time.

Meath took heart from Mickey Newman's strong kicking from placed balls and he curled over three frees in the first-half to keep them in it.

But Meath were wasteful early in the second-half with Newman kicking two frees wide when they needed to putting pressure on the Dubs.

Bernard Brogan in action against Meath’s Padraic Harnan, left, and Mickey Burke. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
Bernard Brogan in action against Meath’s Padraic Harnan, left, and Mickey Burke. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

Dublin punished them with four more Rock scores and Brogan's third point of the afternoon to take an ominous 0-16 to 0-9 lead.

It was all Dublin for the last 20 minutes or so as they added five more points for a familiar 10-point win.

Scorers for Dublin: D Rock 0-10 (0-9f), D Connolly 0-4, B Brogan 0-3, P Flynn 0-2, B Fenton 0-1, P Mannion 0-1.

Scorers for Meath: M Newman 0-4 (0-3f), G Reilly 0-3, C O'Sullivan 0-2 (0-1f), E Wallace 0-1, R Jones 0-1.

Dublin: S Cluxton; David Byrne, J Cooper, P McMahon; J Small, C O'Sullivan, J McCarthy; B Fenton, D Bastick; P Flynn, C Kilkenny, D Connolly; K McManamon, D Rock, B Brogan.

Subs: MD Macauley for Bastick (h/t), P Mannion for Brogan (53), P Andrews for MacManamon (58), E Lowndes for Small (60), M Fitzsimons for O'Sullivan (63), C O'Callaghan for Flynn (67).

Meath: P O'Rourke; D Keogan, M Burke, D Smyth; A Douglas, D Tobin, C O'Brien; H Rooney, A Tormey; E Wallace, G Reilly, P Harnan; M Newman, C O'Sullivan, D McDonagh.

Subs: R Jones for Tormey (53), S Lavin for Wallace (55), S Tobin for McDonagh (60), J Wallace for Reilly (63), C Finn for Douglas (67), B McMahon for O'Sullivan (68). J Wallace (BC 76).

Referee: R Hickey (Clare).

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