Gilroy relieved to hold off Royal comeback

With 17 minutes remaining in yesterday's Leinster SFC final at Croke Park, defending champions Dublin looked firmly on target for another provincial title whilst holding a comfortable 10-point lead.

Gilroy relieved to hold off Royal comeback

With 17 minutes remaining in yesterday's Leinster SFC final at Croke Park, defending champions Dublin looked firmly on target for another provincial title whilst holding a comfortable 10-point lead.

But Meath produced a strong finish to ensure a nervy final new minutes for the Dubs and manager Pat Gilroy was relieved his side pulled through on a 2-13 to 1-13 scoreline.

Goals in first half injury-time from Denis Bastick and man-of-the-match Bernard Brogan proved to be the vital scores for the reigning All-Ireland champions.

"They were big scores to get at that stage," admitted Gilroy afterwards as he reflected on the win over the Royals.

“If you are going to get goals, that’s a good time to get them. I thought we pushed on fairly well at the start of the second half.

"We probably made a lot of changes close together and it probably disrupted our rhythm a little bit.

"Lads were out on their feet and the physio was coming back saying that the guys needed to be changed. We made them close together and that disrupted the team and we nearly suffered for it.”

Meath threw everything at the Dublin defence, but for the most part the Metropolitans stood firm at the back, only beginning to show signs of weakness in the dying minutes.

“I think from the start Meath were trying to run at us. We had worked really hard to stop that and repel it early on and right up until the 50th minute we hadn’t let them through.

“Whether it was the changes we made or whatever it was, we started to let them get that run on us.

“It was just straightforward running straight at us and we didn’t cope with it well, particularly in the last five minutes."

There was much debate over Eoghan O'Gara's point in the 53rd minute which was awarded after it had initially been ruled as a wide.

Referee Martin Duffy overruled the umpire at the near post, but linesman Maurice Deegan alerted Duffy to the error - but only after both of Croke Park's big screens showed a replay of O'Gara's effort going inside the right hand post.

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