/ GAA

Dublin 3-20 Meath 1-10

Updated: Sunday, 20 Jul 2014 17:05 | Comments

Bernard Brogan scored the first goal in an easy win
Bernard Brogan scored the first goal in an easy win

All-Ireland champions Dublin powered their way to a 53rd Leinster SFC title with an emphatic 3-20 to 1-10 win over a disappointing Meath side at Croke Park.

Dublin looked good for their fourth consecutive Leinster title when they led by 1-12 to 0-06 at the interval and could have been much further ahead.

Bernard Brogan and Shane O’Rourke traded points in the opening six minutes but it was Dublin who took charge from there.

Brogan pointed another free and Diarmuid Connolly also found the range before goalkeeper Stephen Cluxton stepped forward and slotted a ’45.

Cian O’Sullivan found the target from the right wing for Dublin to lead by 0-05 to 0-01 after 16 minutes.

Meath did not help their cause with six first-half wides, Dublin had three, but they were often shooting under pressure from a strong Dublin defence.

Stephen Bray pulled back a point for Meath and then, after Kevin McManamon and Andrew Tormey exchanged points, the champions pulled away.

A shot from McManamon came back off the top of the upright and Bernard Brogan reacted quickest and while his initial effort was smothered, he finished the rebound to the net.

Mickey Newman responded with a point for Meath but Dublin were moving fluently and Bernard Brogan added another point.

Stephen Bray found the net for Meath after 25 minutes but referee Padraig Hughes called play back for a foul on Dalton McDonagh, with Newman converting that effort.

Alan Brogan and Damien Carroll exchanged points but the Meath defence was struggling to hold the Dublin attack and the lead was stretched when Brogan and McManamon found the target.

McManamon finished the half strongly and after rattling the crossbar with a cracking shot, he tacked on two points to leave Dublin in a commanding 1-12 to 0-06 interval lead.

Bernard Brogan and Shane O’Rourke, having swapped points at the start of the opening half, did likewise at the outset of the second period.

But Dublin once more assumed control and just kept the scoreboard ticking over.

McManamon crowned a great afternoon when he blasted home Dublin’s second goal just five minutes after the restart.

It really became a damage limitation exercise for Meath after that and they were fortunate Dublin did not strike for a few more goals.

Dublin did not relent out the field and Meath could only manager two points in the opening 27 minutes of the second-half.

Both sides emptied their benches but it was Dublin who kept increasing their lead.

It was no surprise when Dublin struck for a third goal in the closing minutes when Eoghan O’Gara slotted home a neat score into the bottom left corner of the net.

Meath never gave up and were rewarded with a goal from Mickey Newman while brothers Stephen and David Bray also kicked points but it did little to prevent Dublin from running out decisive winners on a day when they made it clear to all challengers that they are determined to hold on to their All-Ireland crown.

The occasion, though, may be marred by an investigation after Meath manager Mick O’Dowd claimed afterwards that one of his players, Mickey Burke, was the victim of a biting incident in the second-half.

Dublin manager Jim Gavin, asked about the incident at the post-match press conference, said it was the first he heard about the matter.

Dublin: S Cluxton (0-01, 45); P McMahon, R O’Carroll, M Fitzsimons; J McCarthy, M Devereux, J McCaffrey (0-01); MD Macauley, C O’Sullivan (0-01); P Flynn (0-01), A Brogan (0-01), D Connolly (0-01); K McManamon (1-05), P Mannion, B Brogan (1-06, 0-03f).

Subs used: C Costello (0-01) for Mannion (35), D Rock (0-01) for Connolly (42), E O’Gara (1-01) for A Brogan (49), D Daly for Devereux (59), D Bastick for Macauley (59), T Brady for O’Sullivan (67).

Meath: P O’Rourke; E Harrington, K O’Reilly, B Menton; P Hernan, D Keogan, D Tobin; G Reilly, S O’Rourke (0-02f); D Carroll (0-1), B McMahon, A Tormey (0-02); D McDonagh, S Bray (0-02), M Newman (1-02, 0-01f).

Subs used: J Wallace for Reilly (32), M Burke for Carroll (35), D Bray (0-01) for McDonagh (46mins), B Meade for S O’Rourke (46mins), J McEntee for McMahon (53), P Gilsenan for Tobin (68).

Referee: P Hughes (Armagh).

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