Red-hot Con O’Callaghan turns on the power as holders Dublin see off Meath

Dublin 1-12 Meath 0-9: Rising senior star Con O’Callaghan led the scoring at Parnell Park last night with an impressive 1-7 as holders Dublin cruised through to the semi-finals of the EirGrid Leinster U21 football championship.

Red-hot Con O’Callaghan turns on the power as holders Dublin see off Meath

Cuala attacker O’Callaghan, who has featured for Dublin in the O’Byrne Cup and Allianz League this year, was a class apart as the hosts heaped further misery on Meath.

The Royal County are struggling at senior level and hoped for a win over a new look Dublin side to secure a morale boosting semi-final clash with Laois or Wicklow.

But it never looked like materialising and O’Callaghan’s goal in first-half injury-time put Dessie Farrell’s side into a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.

Dublin finished the game with just 13 players while Meath lost a man to a red card also though all were for second cautions and it was a generally good spirited game.

The outcome was depressingly familiar for Meath who lost the 2014 Leinster final to Dublin, the eventual All-Ireland winners, when the sides last met.

That game was controversially played in Portlaoise after Dublin insisted on a coin toss to decide on the venue, declining the option to play at Parnell Park.

There was difficulties with the choice of venue this time too as Meath were forced to concede home advantage due to floodlight issues at their Pairc Tailteann base.

Dubs boss Farrell shook his team up from the published lineout for this rematch with changes in every line of the field apart from midfield.

Darragh Spillane, son of Kerry legend Mick, wore number seven but played in attack and chipped in a fine point late in the first-half.

Meath’s difficulties were compounded by the loss of Joey Wallace, an AIB Leinster intermediate club medallist with Ratoath and 2015 Meath senior, who limped off after 13 minutes.

Meath led briefly early on before leaking four points in a row, a spurt of Dublin scores begun by Michael Deegan, son of former Dubs star Mick Deegan. Attacker Deegan plays his club football with Donaghmore-Ashbourne in Meath and lined out against three of his club mates.

O’Callaghan provided the star turns for Dublin and finished the first-half with 1-3. His entire tally came from open play and in an open and energetic encounter there was just one score registered from a place ball in the half.

Former minor star Ruairi O Coileain scored two points for Meath who recovered approaching the interval to drawl level at six points apiece.

James McEntee, a rising Meath senior star and Sigerson Cup medallist with UCD, kicked the leveller in first-half stoppage time.

But O’Callaghan’s goal shortly after was a blow to the visitors who had deserved to go in on level terms at the break.

Speedy O’Callaghan latched onto a long ball from the Dublin midfield before racing in from the left channel and slotting past ‘keeper Johnny Lynch.

Spillane and Aaron Byrne went close with goal chances after the break too as Dublin sought to turn the screw.

They couldn’t turn their possession into scores though and aside from those goal chances kicked three wides after the restart.

They didn’t score in the second-half until the 46th minute though, crucially, Meath couldn’t make them pay. Brian Howard broke the deadlock with a Dubs score and though Dublin lost Martin Cahilan to a second yellow card it hardly affected them.

The Dubs hit three points in a row including two from O’Callaghan to put real daylight between them.

Both sides lost further players in the run with Meath’s Ronan Jones and Dublin’s Killian Deeley picking up their second bookings at the death.

Scorers for Dublin:

C O’Callaghan (1-7, 2 frees), A Byrne (0-2), M Deegan, D Spillane and B Howard (0-1 each).

Scorers for Meath:

D Rowe (0-5, 4 frees), R O Coileain (0-2), C Halligan and McEntee (0-1 each).

DUBLIN:

L Molloy; E Smith, S McMahon, D Bolger; M Cahilan, B Howard, K O’Shea; A Foley, K Deeley; T Lahiff, C O’Callaghan, G O’Reilly; M Deegan, A Byrne, D Spillane.

Subs:

D Monaghan for Bolger (h/t), O Lynch for Deegan (40), K Doherty for Foley (43), A McGowan for O’Reilly (48), C Sallier for Spillane (51).

MEATH:

J Lynch; M Flood, D O’Neill, J Reilly; G McGowan, T McGovern, N Kane; D Ryan, R Jones; K Ryan, J McEntee, S Byrne; J Wallace, R O Coileain, D Rowe.

Subs:

C Halligan for Wallace (13), K Traynor for McGowan (39), B Duggan for Byrne (46), N O’Reilly for Ryan (48), J McCarney for O’Neill (55), S Meade for Kane (58).

Referee:

B Cawley (Kildare).

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courtsgaafootballplace: parnell parkplace: portlaoiseplace: páirc tailteannplace: kerryplace: meathperson: con o’callaghanperson: callaghanperson: o’callaghanperson: dessie farrellperson: farrellperson: darragh spillaneperson: mickperson: joey wallaceperson: michael deeganperson: mick deeganperson: deeganperson: ruairi o coileainperson: james mcenteeperson: speedy o’callaghanperson: johnny lynchperson: spillaneperson: aaron byrneperson: brian howardperson: martin cahilanperson: ronan jonesperson: killian deeleyperson: c o’callaghanperson: a byrneperson: m deeganperson: d spillaneperson: b howardperson: d roweperson: r o coileainperson: c halliganperson: mcenteeperson: dublinperson: l molloyperson: e smithperson: s mcmahonperson: d bolgerperson: m cahilanperson: k o’sheaperson: a foleyperson: k deeleyperson: t lahiffperson: g o’reillyperson: d monaghanperson: bolgerperson: o lynchperson: k dohertyperson: foleyperson: a mcgowanperson: o’reillyperson: c sallierperson: j lynchperson: m floodperson: d o’neillperson: j reillyperson: g mcgowanperson: t mcgovernperson: n kaneperson: d ryanperson: r jonesperson: k ryanperson: j mcenteeperson: s byrneperson: j wallaceperson: wallaceperson: k traynorperson: mcgowanperson: dugganperson: byrneperson: n o’reillyperson: ryanperson: j mccarneyperson: o’neillperson: s meadeperson: kaneevent: eirgrid leinster u21 football championshipevent: o’byrne cupevent: allianz leagueevent: 2014 leinsterevent: sigerson cuporganisation: dublinorganisation: meathorganisation: royal countyorganisation: laoisorganisation: wickloworganisation: aib leinsterorganisation: ratoathorganisation: donaghmore-ashbourneorganisation: ucdorganisation: dubs
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