After last year's blip, today's Dublin-Meath Leinster championship encounter was a continuation of what we've been used to.

Played out in front of a low murmur, this contest, in so far as it could be called one, was over long before half-time.

Somehow, both these sides will be playing Division 2 football in 2023, though the similarities between them don't stretch much further than that.

Following their off-colour season in 2021 and their relegation in the spring, the Dubs appear determined to put to bed any notion that the sun has set on their dynasty.

Here, they displayed all the slick efficiency of the peak Jim Gavin years, easily swatting aside a Meath outfit who were again painfully out of their depth. That the gap was only 13 points in the finish largely owed itself to the Dubs easing off the throttle well before the fourth quarter.

Kildare now await them in the Leinster final, a reprise of last year's provincial decider. Meath, having avoided relegation in the spring, have a shot at the back-door.

Flowing nicely from the start, the Dubs had clipped over five points from play without reply in the opening 10 minutes, Tom Lahiff, Ciarán Kilkenny, Lorcan O'Dell and Cormac Costello (a brace) notching scores.

Meath were floundering from early on. They might have been emboldened had Jordan Morris converted an early goal chance. At 0-02 to 0-00 down, the inside forward was found with a diagonal ball, rounded his marker, slid a low shot goalwards. It beat Evan Comerford but unfortunately for the underdogs, just slid the wrong side of the goalpost.

We were a long time waiting for the first Dublin wide and almost as long waiting for the first Meath point.

The underdogs did mount a bit of a gallop after Bryan Menton curled over their first point, Thomas O'Reilly subsequently stroking over a well-worked point to reduce the gap to 0-06 to 0-03 after 15 minutes.

Rock slots away Dublin's first half penalty

That was Dublin's cue to move through the gears, with James McCarthy and Con O'Callaghan joining the scoring party. It wasn't until the 21st minute that a Dublin shot tailed wide, Brian Fenton, one of the few not to score, skying an attempt the wrong side of the near post.

By the 24th minute, the lead was out to 11-4, all of Dublin's scores from play. Dean Rock finally got off the mark from a 45 on the 25th minute, quickly adding a 13m free a minute later.

On the 31st minute, the match was put fully out of reach when O'Callaghan was found with a diagonal ball, rounding his man Eoin Harkin. He was blatantly impeded as he went to pull the trigger and referee Derek O'Mahoney awarded the penalty to few complaints.

Harry Hogan got his hand on Rock's effort but couldn't prevent it nestling in the corner. Lahiff and Brian Howard tagged on further points before the interval, the scoreline a hideously one-sided 1-17 to 0-05 as the sides trooped down the tunnel.

The second half was largely a non-event, though Meath did at least prevent the scoreboard from getting any worse.

Rock, curiously uninvolved in the scoring splurge early on, made up for it somewhat as Dublin faced into the Hill, scoring their first four points of the second half.

Meath, at least, were going tit-for-tat with them by now, perhaps aided by the Dubs having mentally declared their innings at this point.

Menton added to his haul - the midfielder ending with 0-03 overall - Morris clipping over a couple, Joey Wallace flashing a shot goalwards which just cleared the crossbar, while Donal Keogan sallied forward from half-back to lob a point.

Meath's subs did inject a little vigour into proceedings, Shane McEntee and Jack Flynn landing points - although Flynn would perhaps add a little too much vigour in the dying minutes.

Sean Bugler, Kilkenny and the replacement Paddy Small clipped over points at the other end, the Dubs seemingly content to leave the margin where it was rather than increasing the hurt.

The game having long petered out, Meath did finish with a goal of their own, Matthew Costello manufacturing a penalty in injury-time, which Jordan Morris side-footed into the corner past a stranded Comerford.

This left the margin at 13 by the end. Were they minded to quote the late Irish rugby coach Mick Doyle, Meath might point out that they "won the second half". One senses their downbeat supporters won't make a great deal of this achievement.

Jordan Morris was shown red

The game had grown a touch ragged even before the late goal. Two Meath players were shown straight red cards, Flynn for a wild stray elbow aimed at Jonny Cooper and then Morris, after slotting a penalty, dunted Lee Gannon to the ground off the ball right under the nose of the linesman.

In between, Fitzsimons had seen red in less spectacular fashion for his role in Meath's penalty, a black card being added to the yellow he'd incurred earlier in the game.

A sour end to another sorry and forgettable Leinster championship clash between the two traditional aristocrats of the province.

Dublin: Evan Comerford; Eoin Murchan, Michael Fitzsimons, Lee Gannon; John Small, Lorcan O'Dell (0-02), James McCarthy (0-02); Brian Fenton, Tom Lahiff (0-02); Seán Bugler (0-01), Brian Howard (0-01), Ciarán Kilkenny (0-05); Cormac Costello (0-03), Con O'Callaghan (0-02), Dean Rock (1-08, 1-06f).

Subs: Jonny Cooper for Murchan (48), Niall Scully for O'Dell (56), Paddy Small (0-01, 1m) for O'Callaghan (56), Shane Clayton for Fenton (61), Brian O'Leary for Costello (67)

Meath: Harry Hogan; Robin Clarke, Conor McGill, Eoin Harkin; James McEntee, Donal Keogan (0-01), Ronan Ryan; Bryan Menton (0-03), Ronan Jones; Matthew Costello, Cillian O'Sullivan, Jack O'Connor (0-03, 2f); Jordan Morris (1-03, 1-02f), Thomas O'Reilly (0-01), Joey Wallace (0-01).

Subs: Cathal Hickey for McEntee (35), Shane Walsh for O'Reilly (35), Shane McEntee (0-01) for Ryan (35), Jack Flynn (0-01) for Jones (42), Bryan McMahon for O'Sullivan (57)

Referee: Derek O'Mahoney