Where will Dublin and Meath Leinster LGFA Final be won


The developing rivalry between Dublin and Meath has caught everyone’s attention, another titanic battle awaits on Saturday

Dublin and Meath players Niamh Collins(L) and Monica McGuirk(R) pictured at a photoshoot for the Leinster LGFA Senior Championship final.
Niamh Collins of Dublin, left, and Meath goalkeeper Monica McGuirk during the TG4 Leinster LGFA Senior Championship Captain’s Evening 2022 at Johnstown Estate Hotel in Meath. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Dublin and Meath will lock horns for the third time this season in Saturday’s highly anticipated Leinster LGFA Senior Championship final in Croke Park.

Games between the two counties in what is becoming the big rivalry in the game at present, have been tense, physical and entertaining encounters with no quarter given by either side.

Calling a winner ahead of this Saturday’s final would be the folly of a fool considering their two meetings this year and last seasons All Ireland final, where there was nothing bar the bounce of a ball between the teams in all of those games, but we will look into where it might be won or lost.

Meath secured wins in last years All Ireland final and the Leinster Championship meeting in early May. Dublin claimed spoils in April in the league fixture between the teams in Páirc Tailteann with a last gasp converted free from Hannah Tyrrell.

A dive into two of the earlier games stats for indicators to which team will emerge victors and claim the Leinster title on Saturday, reveals very little as concrete evidence to point to either team having the upper hand.

The All Ireland final meeting between Dublin and Meath ended with a two point win to the Royal County. Dublin had more possession and created six more scoring opportunities in the game with 22 compared to Meath’s 16.

Dublin were also more adapt from open play with 19 shot attempts compared to 12 from Meath. But Meath’s conversion rate from their shots was higher, scoring 10 from 12 attempts (83%), compared to Dublin’s nine from 19 attempts (47%).

Meath lost just one of their own nineteen kick-outs with Dublin losing three of their sixteen restarts, but that stat is misleading as the majority of Meath’s restarts were very short and unchallenged.

As far as turnovers won are concerned Dublin had the upper hand in that department with 53% compared to Meath’s 46% and that could be a vital area on Saturday that decides the outcome.

A look at the stats from the two teams next meeting in this years league which Dublin won by a point reveals how close these two teams are, both sides had 18 shots each during the game, turnovers won were even with 21 each, Meath lost two of their own kick-outs with Dublin losing just one.

The last meeting at the start of May in round one of the Leinster championship, which Meath won by a single point is difficult to draw any conclusions from, after a tense battle in the first half both sides went into the break tied at four points apiece.

The momentum of the game shifted in Meath’s favour in the third quarter when they scored a controversial goal that involved two blatant fouls in the build-up, one a certain yellow card and ten minutes in the sin-bin and then a liberal interpretation of the steps rule for the goal scorer.

Meath went on to build an eight point lead, but Dublin wrestled back the momentum and dominated the final quarter, kept Meath scoreless and reduced the deficit to a single point, but ultimately Meath just about held on for the win.

So then where exactly is the winning or losing of Saturday’s final, well one thing is for sure based on the previous meetings, it won’t be a score fest due to how Meath set-up their team so it will come down to the fine margins.

Dublin have produced in two of the three previous meetings more scoring opportunities and even a small rise in their previous conversion rate percentage could be the deciding factor for Mick Bohan’s side.

The Dubs also have the greater scoring threat from more sectors of their team than Meath do and if they can garner a greater share of the possession and transition the ball quickly into scoring zone before Meath can crowd out the central channel, they have the forwards to take advantage.

Goals have been vital for Meath in their two wins over Dublin and they will need to find the back of the net again on Saturday to make it three wins from four.

It’s also noticeable that in both their wins they have prevented Dublin from raising any green flags, a repeat of that statistic in Croke Park tomorrow afternoon will go a long way to helping Meath add the Leinster title to their trophy collection.

If Meath get their noses in front coming down the home straight they are very adapt at running down the clock and Dublin will find it difficult to wrestle back control in the latter stages.

But if Dublin can keep it tight at the back and not concede any goals, produce a turnover rate similar to last years All Ireland final, transition the ball at pace to the attacking zone, their greater scoring threat both on the starting team and from the bench, could see them over the line by a couple of points.

It’s sure to be another titanic battle between Dublin and Meath and the margins are so fine between the teams it’s a hard one to call, the only hope is that regardless of the result of the game, that the post match conversation is centred on the passages of play and not the officiating.