Dublin produced a stunning second-half display to capture their 52nd Leinster SFC title and their eighth in the last nine years when they saw off the spirited challenge of old rivals Meath, 2-15 to 0-14.

The Royals looked set for a shock win when they led by 0-09 to 1-04 but, with Ciaran Kilkenny superb, the Dubs took control with the breeze in the second-half and ran out deserving winners.

They outscored Meath by 1-11 to 0-05 with another accomplished display that suggested that Jim Gavin’s will be difficult to stop in their bid for All-Ireland glory. 

Meath’s challenge faded when Paul Mannion struck for Dublin’s second goal after 69 minutes which put them ahead by two goals.

But it was a different story in the opening half. Meath were buoyed by an encouraging start with Stephen Bray picking off two excellent points in just over a minute of the start.

However with Kilkenny in superb form at centre-forward, Dublin hit back and after Mannion landed their first point after three minutes, they carved open the Royals’ defence for the opening goal a minute later.

Kilkenny found Mannion with a good pass and he set up Paul Flynn who rifled the ball to the roof of the net.

Diarmuid Connolly and Mannion added points for the holders to lead by 1-3 to 0-2 after 18 minutes but once Mickey Newman got his radar sorted, Meath fought back.

Newman struck five points before the break and Eamon Wallace also added a brace as Meath put it up to the champions.

Goalkeeper Stephen Cluxton pointed a ’45 after 23 minutes for what turned out to be Dublin’s final score of the opening half as they went in trailing two points at the break.

But Dublin took control after the restart with Kilkenny leading the way. It took them just two and a half minutes to hit the front with Kilkenny, Bernard Brogan and Paul Flynn pointing to make it 1-7 to 0-9.

Newman levelled with a free and Kilkenny kicked two more frees, Meath again hauled them back with points from Brian Meade and Newman to leave it 1-9 to 0-12 after 43 minutes.

Two minutes later Cluxton edged the Dubs in front with a free from distance and the reigning champions never lost that lead. Mannion tacked on a couple of points and after Newman and Cluxton had exchanged frees, Mannion struck the decisive score when he finished first-time with a rebound after Meath goalkeeper Paddy O’Rourke had done well to save from Kevin O’Brien.

That put Dublin 2-13 to 0-13 in front and Dean Rock added a couple of points as the holders eased their way to victory.

Dublin: S Cluxton (0-03, 0-02f, 0-01f); P O’Brien, R O'Carroll, J Cooper; J McCarthy, G Brennan, J McCaffrey; MD Macauley, C O'Sullivan; P Flynn (1-01), C Kilkenny (0-03), D Connolly (0-01); P Mannion (1-04, 0-02f), E O’Gara, B Brogan (0-01f).

Subs: K McMenamin for O’Gara (45 mins), D Bastick for O’Sullivan (45 mins), D Daly for Brennan (58 mins), D Rock (0-02, 0-01f) for Brogan (60 mins), B Cullen for Connolly (65 mins).

Meath: P O'Rourke; D Keoghan, K Reilly, B Menton; P. Harnan, M Burke; S. Kenny, B. Meade (0-01), C Gillespie; P Byrne, D Carroll, G Reilly; E Wallace (0-02), S Bray (0-02), M Newman (0-08, 0-05f).

Subs: P Gilsenan for Byrne (42 mins), C Lenihan for Kenny (50 mins), J Sheridan (0-01) for Carroll (52 mins), A Tormey for Meade (60 mins), D McDonagh for Wallace (65 mins).

Referee: Eddie Kinsella (Laois).