Andy McEntee’s men pushed Dublin to their limits, but they hung on to keep hold of their Leinster hopes

Brian Fenton - Leinster Senior Football Championship

Dublin 2-16
Meath 1-13

Alarm bells may not be ringing just yet, but it will be Meath who may come away from Croke Park with a more positive feeling after today’s Leinster Football Semi Final. And it was in second half additional time before Dublin finally put the tie out of their opponents reach to advance to another Leinster Final.

What appeared to be the norm quickly went off script in the second of today’s provincial semi finals. Dublin expectedly were in the box seat at half time with a comfortable 11 point lead. But Meath ignited a revival after the break, scoring 1-04 to put themselves back in contention. And the men from the Royal County got within a goal of Dublin late on only to lose that hold on the game in stoppage time.

Cormac Costello and Con O’Callaghan escalated the first half scoreline with goals. But it was ultimately the scores from Brian Fenton, Costello and Ciaran Kilkenny who made Dublin supporters a sigh of relief in a strong finale.

More than a game of two halves in an old rivalry

Similar to last November provincial final, Meath created and wasted early chances and paid the price in the opening half. Trailing by a point Jordan Morris found himself one on one with Dublin keeper Evan Comerford, but he was thwarted resulting in a Cormac Costello score.

Morris was played on again, after a diagonal ball from Cathal Hickey but could only muster a point.

Already in trouble they found themselves on the end of Dublin’s first goal. Brian Fenton capitalised on a huge hole in the Meath defence and forced a foul from Matthew Costello. And his namesake Cormac converted from the spot.

Dublin were 1-04 to 0-04 to the good at the water break. And it looked like they’d put the game to rest scoring another 1-06 unanswered with O’Callaghan meandering through to hit the net for Dublin’s second.

Dessie Farrell’s men returned for the second half on a 2-11 to 0-06 scoreline. But everything went against them in the third quarter. Meath got their fans punching the air in the 37th minute when Matthew Costello found the net. Jordan Morris and Joey Wallace added scores giving hope to the competition. With two minutes to go the score stood at 2-13 to 1-13. But it was a trademark, albeit late emphatic finish from Dublin that ended the contest.

Dublin Scorers:

Cormac Costello 1-04 (1-00 pen)
Con O’Callaghan 1-03
Ciaran Kilkenny 0-05
Dean Rock 0-02 (1f)
Paddy Small 0-01
Brian Fenton 0-01

Meath Scorers:

Matthew Costello 1-02 (1f)
Jordan Morris 0-03 (1f)
Joey Wallace 0-02
Eamon Wallace 0-02
Bryan McMahon 0-01
Thomas O’Reilly 0-01
Cillian O’Sullivan 0-01
James McEntee 0-01 (1 ’45)

Dublin

1. Evan Comerford
2. Michael Fitzsimons
3. David Byrne
7. Seán McMahon
9. James McCarthy
19. Jonny Cooper
6. Brian Howard
8. Brian Fenton
23. Peadar Ó Cofaigh-Byrne
13. Paddy Small
11. Ciarán Kilkenny
12. Niall Scully
26. Dean Rock
14. Con O’Callaghan
15. Cormac Costello

Dublin Substitutes:

5. Tom Lahiff for Ó Cofaigh Byrne (HT)
18. Sean Bugler for Small (50)
10. Colm Basquel for Rock (61)
22. Cian Murphy for McMahon (73)

Meath:

16. Harry Hogan
2. Seamus Lavin
3. Conor McGill
4. Donal Keogan
5. Cathal Hickey
6. Shane McEntee
7. Fionn Reilly
8. Bryan Menton
9. Padraic Harnan
22. Eamonn Wallace
11. Bryan McMahon
12. Matthew Costello
13. Jordan Morris
14. Cillian O’Sullivan
15. Joey Wallace

Meath Substitutes:

21. Ronan Jones for Reilly (29)
24. Thomas Reilly for McMahon (HT)
19. James McEntee for Hickey (55)
10. Ethan Devine for Costello (59)
25. James Conlon for Wallace (63)