This afternoon’s TG4 Leinster SFC opener in Páirc Tailteann was played at proper championship pace
By Aisling Clery
Reigning TG4 Leinster SFC Champions, Dublin, opened their 2023 championship with a narrow win against a fiery Meath side in front of big support in Páirc Tailteann.
A lobbed Hannah Tyrrell goal in the first half proved decisive as Dublin led by 1-3 to 0-2 at half time. Meath upped the ante in the second half, but Dublin held on to secure victory.
Championship pace was evident from the off and it took just two minutes for Jennifer Dunne to open the scoring after receiving a timely pass from Caoimhe O’Connor.
While Meath struggled to get the ball into the inside line early on, Hannah Tyrell added Dublin’s second point on seven minutes after a series of linked passes involving Carla Rowe and Ellen Gribben.
Leah Caffrey found herself in attacking mode as she stretched Dublin to a three-point lead after fifteen minutes of play.
The game’s only goal came on twenty minutes when Hannah Tyrrell somewhat fortuitously found the net, lobbing Meath netminder Monica McGuirk, and the Sky Blues could have gone even further ahead but Tyrrell’s next effort dropped short and McGuirk made no mistake parrying it away to safety.
Meath finished the half with a flurry, Stacey Grimes converting a 26 minute free with Emma Duggan adding a point from play after excellent work from Niamh Gallogly in winning possession. Dublin were 1-3 to 0-2 to the good at the break.
Captain Carla Rowe hit Dublin’s first three scores of the second half, with Niamh O’Sullivan pulling one back for the Royals.
Rowe’s final score, a free on 42 minutes, turned out to be their last as Meath increased their pressure.
Vikki Wall landed a score from distance on 44 minutes and Emma Duggan’s point two minutes later reduced the deficit to five points.
However, Meath were still not done and further points from Aoibhín Cleary and Mary Kate Lynch reduced the gap to two and ensuring the game finished on a knife edge.
Dublin held on to possession in the final few moments to ensure victory over the reigning All Ireland Champions.
SCORERS: DUBLIN: H. Tyrrell 1-1, C. Rowe 0-3 (2f), J. Dunne 0-1, L. Caffrey 0-1.
MEATH: E. Duggan 0-2 (1f), S. Grimes 0-1 (1f), N. O’Sullivan 0-1, A. Cleary 0-1, A. Minogue 0-1, V. Wall 0-1.
MEATH: M. McGuirk, Á. Sheridan, M.K. Lynch, K. Newe, N. Gallogly, S. Ennis (C), A. Cleary, M. O’Shaughnessy, A. Minogue, M. Thynne, V. Wall, E. Duggan, C. Smyth, S. Grimes, N. O’Sullivan.
Subs: C. Smyth for Byrne (45), S. Melia for Thynne (47), O. Mallon for Grimes (54).
DUBLIN: A. Shiels, A. Kane, L. Caffrey, N. Crowley, C. Coffey, M. Byrne, L. Magee, E. O’Dowd, J. Dunne, K. Sullivan, C. Rowe (C), E. Gribben, C. O’Connor, H. Tyrrell, O. Nolan.
Subs: N. Hetherton for Gribben (30), D. Lawless for Coffey (39), J. Egan for Sullivan (51), S. Wylde for Rowe (54).
Ref: Paul McCaughey (Westmeath).