THIS game will always be remembered for a number of reasons, not least the fact that Down brought the Sam Maguire Cup back to Ulster for the first time since they themselves won it in 1968.
And, the next three championships all went north, highlighted by first-ever wins for Donegal and Derry, before Down won the last of the county’s five titles.
It was noteworthy that current manager James McCartan was inspirational for Down and that Meath talisman Colm O’Rourke was unable to start on medical advice – although he did come on late in the game.
The young Down side lived up to the reputation of the previous winning sides, playing what was described at the time as ‘pure football’, with McCartan to the forefront.
In winning, they defied all the predictions by demonstrating in a very forceful manner from the start that they had the conviction to succeed.
It was the year of the memorable Meath/Dublin saga in Leinster and the Royals almost stole another famous victory after having been behind by 11 points at one stage.
Scorers for Down: R Carr (0-5, four frees); G Mason (0-4, three frees); B Breen (1-0); J McCartan (0-3); E Burns (0-2); M Linden and G Blaney (0-1 each).
Scorers for Meath: B Flynn (0-6); B Stafford (0-5, three frees); L Hayes (1-1); C O’Rourke and D Beggy (0-1 each).
DOWN: N Collins; B McKernan, C Deegan, P Higgins; P O’Rourke (c), J Kelly, DJ Kane; B Breen, E Burns; R Carr, G Blaney, G Mason; M Linden, P Withnell, J McCartan.
Subs: L Austin for Breen (54); A Rogers for Withnell (65).
MEATH: M McQuillan; B Reilly, M Lyons, T Ferguson; K Foley, L Harnan, M O’Connell; L Hayes (c), G McEntee; D Beggy, T Dowd, C Coyle; P.J Gillic, B Stafford, B Flynn
Subs: C O’Rourke for Coyne (42); A Browne for Lyons (inj 52); M McCabe for Gillic (57).
Referee: Seamus Prior (Leitrim).
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