Champions Kildare will play Dublin in the Bord na Móna O’Byrne Cup final in Newbridge next Sunday.
The two teams took two completely different routes to the decider though with Dublin having to withstand a fierce second half fightback by Meath at Páirc Táilteann, while Kildare waltzed through against an overpowered DIT at St Conleth’s Park.
Dublin seemed to be heading to a comfortable enough win themselves at one stage of their semi-final, as they led by nine points when Eoghan O’Gara made up for some less-than-clinical finishing in the first half to bag a 43rd minute goal.
Meath rallied well though, with a couple of points from goalkeeper Paddy O’Rourke seemed to galvanise them.
Substitute Michael Newman goaled on the hour to give them real hope and they clawed themselves back to be level at the end of normal time.
While Jim Gavin is unlikely to have been pleased by the manner in which his men allowed such a commanding position to slip, the Dublin manager will be delighted with the way they responded in adversity.
Although Meath had all the momentum, it was Dublin that found the necessary scores to snatch the honours, with another sub, Philly Ryan pushing them ahead before O’Gara added another point to make it a 1-15 to 1-13 win.
Dean Rock continued his high-scoring in the pre-season tournament with eight points for the Dubs.
There was never any doubt about the result of the other semi-final, in which Kildare prevailed against DIT by 2-15 to 0-9.
The home team flew out of the traps and had six points on the board inside nine minutes.
Eoghan O’Flaherty finished with a goal and four points and he got the scoring under way with an early free. Gary White, Eamon Murphy, O’Flaherty, Padraig Fogarty and Hugh Lynch added to tally with the scores from White, O’Flaherty and Lynch right out of the top drawer.
Conor Madden was DIT’s prime contributor with six points and he got the students off the mark from a free after 10 minutes. That launched a mini-revival and when Shane Dowling finished well for their fourth point in the 25th minute, the deficit was still only five.
Seamus Hanifin scored a brilliant goal in the 29th minute, showing tremendous bravery to gather an inch-perfect 30m kick-pass from O’Flaherty and then having the composure to find the DIT net with a low shot.
That helped make it 1-11 to 0-5 at half time and though Madden had two points not long after the resumption, it was all over when O’Flaherty found the net in the 43rd minute with a deflected shot.