It was 1954 when the capital side last lifted Leinster minor football and hurling crowns in the same season but after last Sunday’s small ball success over Kilkenny, they are on the brink of replicating that feat. Eric Lowndes, Emmett Ó Conghaile, Cormac Costello, son of county board secretary John, and Ciaran Kilkenny are on the hunt for a second medal in the space of a week.
Kilkenny is the star turn of Dessie Farrell’s minor side with 0-11 to his credit in their recent 1-24 to 0-11 semi-final destruction of Kildare, while Gavin Ivory is another attacker that will require close policing by the Meath rearguard.
Dublin have looked impressive in this campaign routing Westmeath by 19 points in their opening round before surviving a tough battle against Longford at the quarter-final stage, when they won 0-10 to 0-5.
Opponents Meath have overcome the disappointment of an early defeat to Louth to reach the decider. They lost out by 1-13 to 1-11 in that clash but have turned things around by defeating Carlow 1-17 to 1-3 and then Wexford by 1-16 to 0-3. In their recent semi-final they gained revenge against Louth by claiming a 0-13 to 0-10 victory.
Wing-forwards Neil Shorthall and Cillian O’Sullivan, along with corner-forward Brian McMahon carry the bulk of their scoring hopes after contributing 0-10 between them in the semi-final against Louth. Substitute Cathal Smith sparkled during his second half cameo by posting 0-3 on the board.
Meath are bidding for their third title in six years in this grade after claiming honours in 2006 and 2008, but Dublin’s form to date suggests they will be difficult to stop.
MEATH: R Burlingham; A Forde, C McGill, O Fitzpatrick; C Finn, S Melia, D Smith; P Harnan, S McEntee; N Shorthall, B O’Brien, C O Sullivan; B McMahon, R Farrelly, W McGrath.
DUBLIN: R O’Hanlon; G Hannigan, R McDaid, R Real; E Lowndes, J Small, J McCaffrey; P O’Higgins, E Ó Conghaile; G Ivory, D Campbell, C Costello; S Fulham, C Kilkenny, P Mannion.