Leinster SFC preview: Dublin v Meath

Updated: Sunday, 14 Jul 2013 13:50 | Comments

Dublin are favourites to add to their haul of Leinster titles
Dublin are favourites to add to their haul of Leinster titles

By James McMahon

Dublin v Meath, Croke Park, 2pm

An eighth Leinster title in nine years is the prize on offer for Dublin at GAA HQ, with their age-old rivals Meath once again standing in their way. 

Last July saw the same pairing fight it out for the Delaney Cup. A spirited late surge from the Royals was not enough to deny the Dubs, who eventually prevailed by three points.

An examination of the 2012 campaign would clearly indicate that Dublin did not operate at the pitch that saw them regain Sam the previous year.

A new management team headed by Jim Gavin, allied with the introduction of players who have tasted success at underage level, have seen the Dubs blitz many of their rivals in this calendar year. Kildare were the latest victim to feel the force of their wrath a fortnight ago.

Meath will strive to be more competitive. Yet if you contrast the nature of their semi-final win over Wexford with what followed as the Lilywhites floundered after a promising start then the task facing Mick O’Dowd’s charges is huge.

However, Rome was not built in a day and O’Dowd is attempting to put a template in place to ensure that Meath will once again dine at the top table.

His first year in charge has already seen them escape from the backwater of Division 3 football, while getting to a successive provincial final represents more progress.

The side show one change from the last day with Mickey Burke coming in for Caoimhin King at No 6.

"Awesome" was a phrase that found prominence as Dublin demolished Kildare. Any team that can bring on the likes of Kevin McManamon, Kevin Nolan, Kevin O’Brien, Dean Rock and Nicky Devereaux is undoubtedly spoilt for choice.

The judgement is out as to whether McGeeney's men have slipped back in the pecking order - and so Dublin's performance a fortnight ago may need to be reassessed. In saying that they can only jump the hurdles that are put in front of them and they've done it impressively so far. Jim Gavin has opted for the same XV that romped home in the semi-final

Meath's midfield duo of Brian Meade and Conor Gillespie will look to gain some dominance in that sector, while up front the impressive Graham Reilly, Stephen Bray and Mickey Newman are capable of making an impression that may trouble the Dubs defence.

That said, Dublin's depth of talent is more than capable of quelling a challenge from their opponents that will not lack for spirit.

Verdict: Dublin

Dublin: Stephen Cluxton, Darren Daly, Rory O’Carroll, Jonny Cooper, James McCarthy, Ger Brennan, Jack McCaffrey, Michael Darragh Macauley, Cian O’Sullivan, Paul Flynn, Ciarán Kilkenny, Diarmuid Connolly, Paul Mannion, Paddy Andrews, Bernard Brogan.

Meath: Paddy O'Rourke, Donal Keogan, Kevin Reilly, Bryan Menton, Padraic Harnan, Mickey Burke, Seamus Kenny, Brian Meade, Conor Gillespie, Peadar Byrne, Damien Carroll, Graham Reilly St. Colmcille's, Eamonn Wallace, Stephen Bray, Michael Newman

Highlights and analysis of all the weekend’s action on The Sunday Game from 21:30 on Sunday 14 July on RTÉ Two and RTÉ.ie (Ireland only). Expert and fan reaction on Take Your Point from 18:00 on RTÉ Radio 1 and RTÉ.ie (Worldwide).

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