Dubs fans have future stars in their eyes

THE Blue army may not have been on hand in their droves to witness it but a new era of Dublin dominance may just have been ushered in at Croke Park.

The Sky Blues secured a comfortable 30th Leinster minor football title and, in doing so, emboldened their status as genuine All-Ireland contenders.

Dublin chairman Andy Kettle complained ahead of the encounter that a midday start would result in a paltry turnout and he wasn’t proven wrong, though Dublin fans will surely have a couple more opportunities to watch this impressive new team come together.

Gavin Ivory top scored with half a dozen points and gave a tour de force from wing-forward but, ominously, it was the power of the collective that elevated Dublin to their first title since 2009. In the end, the only surprise was that a powerful young Dublin side had to answer some early questions posed by a Meath team intent on not being cannon fodder.

But, by half-time, Dublin had assumed a three-point lead and were able to comfortably reduce the second-half to a one sided affair.

In fact, it became a case of how much each individual player could score by full-time for Dublin with Ivory just about pipping Scott Fulham and Cormac Costello, 1-2 apiece, to the leading scoring mantle.

Meath belied their raging underdogs tag to stick with Dublin for the first 20 minutes before surprisingly swooping for a goal to open up a three-point lead.

Brian McMahon, easily Meath’s most lively performer against Louth, shot that 21st minute goal for Meath after strong running forward from corner-back Anthony Forde.

The strike only served to wake Dublin up, however, as they responded just two minutes later with their own goal to move into a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.

Fulham finished off a good move for the goal after excellent work by Ivory in drawing out Meath’s full-back line to make space for the corner-forward who was left one on one with the goalkeeper. Cormac Costello and Emmet Ó Conghaile then converted points to leave Dublin 1-9 to 1-6 up at half-time.

Dublin then restarted with another Fulham point to move four clear. Credit to Davy Dalton’s Royals who tried to take the game to Dublin but, ultimately, they were no match for both the power and the clever forward play of the Dubs.

Dublin’s second goal arrived through Costello in the 39th minute when he provided a wonderful overlapping run to claim possession, race clear and squeeze a shot away to the Meath net from close range.

McMahon remained Meath’s key performer and kicked three second-half points. But Dublin were in a strong position now and could easily have doubled their goals tally by the final whistle.

Ivory fired one good chance over but they were never likely to be punished and picked off eye catching scores through Paul Mannion, Costello and Ivory again before the final whistle.

Scorers for Dublin: G Ivory 0-6 (1 45), S Fulham, C Costello 1-2 each, E Ó Conghaile, C Kilkenny, P Mannion, J McCaffrey 0-2 each.

Scorers for Meath: B McMahon 1-3 (2f), W McGrath, C Smith, D Smith, C Finn, A Forde, N Shorthall (1f), C O’Sullivan, S Mattimoe 0-1 each.

DUBLIN: R O’Hanlon; R McDaid, G Hannigan, R Real; W Lowndes, J Small, J McCaffrey; P O’Higgins, E O Conghaile; G Ivory, C Costello, D Campbell; S Fulham, P Mannion, C Kilkenny.

Subs: S Carthy for Campbell (48), E Archibald for Fulham, E Boyne for Lowndes (both 60), R Noonan for O Conghaile (62).

MEATH: R Burlingham; C Finn, B McConnon, O Fitzpatrick; A Forde, S Melia, D Smith; P Harnan, S McEntee; B O’Brien, N Shorthall, C O’Sullivan; W McGrath, C Smith, B McMahon.

Subs: R Farrelly for Smith (ht), S Mattimoe for Shorthall (39), N Cannon for Forde (39), O Sheridan for Smith (48), S Sheridan for McGrath (56).

Referee: F Kelly (Longford).

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