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Dublin: 10 °C Friday 21 February, 2020
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WE WERE LIVE at Croke Park for minute-by-minute coverage of this afternoon’s Leinster SFC Final between Dublin and Meath.

Could Jim Gavin’s Dubs continue their blistering start to the Championship summer and clinch an eighth Leinster title in nine years? Or, like 2010, would Meath spoil their party?

As always, we’d love to hear your comments. Send them to niall@thescore.ie, tweet them @TheScoreGAA, find us on Facebook, or leave a comment below.

Dublin 2-15 Meath 0-14

Good afternoon and welcome to Croke Park for this afternoon’s Leinster SFC final between Dublin and Meath. The temperature hasn’t quite hit the scorching heights we’ve been experiencing in recent days but it looks like we’ll still be in for a cracking afternoon in Drumcondra.

Throw-in is at 2pm. Here are the teams. Two late change for the Dubs — Kevin O’Brien and Eoghan O’Gara start in place of Darren Daly and Paddy Andrews.

Dublin: Stephen Cluxton (c); Kevin O’Brien, Rory O’Carroll, John Cooper; James McCarthy, Ger Brennan, Jack McCaffrey; Michael Darragh MacAuley, Cian O’Sullivan; Paul Flynn, Ciaran Kilkenny, Diarmuid Connolly; Paul Mannion, Eoghan O’Gara, Bernard Brogan.

Meath: Paddy O’Rourke; Donal Keogan, Kevin Reilly (c), Bryan Menton; Padraic Harnan, Mickey Burke, Seamus Kenny; Brian Meade, Conor Gillespie; Peadar Byrne, Damien Carroll, Graham Reilly; Eamonn Wallace, Stephen Bray, Michael Newman.

There’s no denying that Dublin have been the most impressive side of the Championship so far, cruising into today’s final with 16-point wins against both Westmeath and Kildare, but you should never underestimate Meath. The Royals shocked the Dubs in the 2010 semis and in last year’s Leinster final, came within a goal of another one.

So where will today’s senior title be decided? Here are five key factors that will have an impact.

The sea of blue on Hill 16 is in fine voice as the teams parade past. They are expecting the biggest crowd of the Championship so far today and it certainly seems that way.

Meath 0-2 Dublin 0-0: 2 mins — Blistering start by Meath as full-forward Stephen Bray kicks two points in the opening two minutes.

Meath 0-2 Dublin 1-1: 4 mins — GOAL FOR DUBLIN! What a response by the Dubs. Paul Mannion points their first score of the day and then, with their very next attack, Paul Flynn slams the ball into the roof of the net.

Mickey Newman strikes the posts with his free from 40 yards out. good work from Peadar Byrne earns another free but Newman is right and wide this time.

Meath making the early running despite the blow of that goal. Bray is unmarked but his effort from an acute angle goes wide. Graham Reilly is the next man in green to miss the target. Nine minutes gone.

Ciarán Kilkenny has a shooting opportunity from 35 yards out but opts to find Bernard Brogan. He is squeezed for space and his high point attempt curls but not enough. Left and wide.

13 mins — Another bad wide for Dublin. This time it’s Michael Dara Macauley who skews one past the post.

14 mins — Wonderful goal chance for Damien Carroll who gets in behind the Dublin full-back line and tries to fire a shot off the outside of his boot and across Stephen Cluxton. Just wide.

Dublin 1-2 Meath 0-2: 15 mins — Our first score since that Flynn goal. Diarmuid Connolly points for Dublin.

Dublin 1-3 Meath 0-2: 18 mins — Paul Mannion wins a free and points it for Dublin. Bernard Brogan, briefly off as a blood sub, is back on wearing number 29.

Dublin 1-3 Meath 0-3: 21 mins — Michael Newman kicks his first free of the afternoon into the Canal End.

22 mins — Should have been a goal for Dublin as Diarmuid Connolly finds himself one-on-one with Paddy O’Rourke but hits it straight at the Meath keeper’s legs.

Dublin 1-4 Meath 0-4: 23 mins — Stephen Cluxton’s 45 comes off the left upright and drops over the bar. Eamonn Wallace responds with a fisted point for the Royals.

Dublin 1-4 Meath 0-5: 27 mins — Michael Newman’s free cuts Dublin’s lead to two.

28 mins — Another sight at goal for Dublin as Macauley’s pass finds James McCarthy running on from wing-back. He’s crowded out before he can a shot off though and, as play develops, O’Gara shoots wide. There seemed to be a little bit of afters in the goalmouth there too.

30 mins — Padraic Harnan is booked for a foul on Ciaran Kilkenny. Brogan takes the kickable free out of his hands but miscues and drops it short. Dublin still lead by two.

Dublin 1-4 Meath 0-7: 33 mins — Meath are giving Dublin all sorts of problems at the back and every time the Dubs concede a free, Newman is pointing it. He gets one and then adds another from play to draw the Royals level.

Meath 0-8 Dublin 1-4: 33 mins — A gem of a point by Eamonn Wallace. Meath lead by a point and the Dubs are rattled.

Meath 0-9 Dublin 1-4: 35 mins –Newman booms over a long free from about 50 metres and now it’s Meath who lead by two as we approach half-time. Ciaran Kilkenny kicks a wide for Dublin from out on the right.

Half time: Meath 0-9 Dublin 1-4

Well, that certainly didn’t go according to Dublin’s script — or the bookmakers’.

The first half has been scrappy enough and Meath are denying the Dubs clear-cut chances while taking every chance that has come their own way. Four Michael Newman frees have helped their cause as well — his kicking has been superb.

Dublin have it all to do after the break.

Scorers for Meath: M Newman 0-5 (4f), S Bray, E Wallace all 0-2.

Scorers for Dublin: P Flynn 1-0, P Mannion 0-2 (1f), D Connolly, S Cluxton (1 45’) all 0-1

Meath 0-9 Dublin 1-6: 36 mins — What a start by Dublin. They race out of the traps to level it up with two quick points: a Kilkenny score from play followed by a Brogan free.

Dublin 1-7 Meath 0-9: 37 mins — And now it’s Dublin who lead again, a beaut of a point from Paul Flynn. What did Jim Gavin say at the break?

Dublin 1-7 Meath 0-10: 39 mins — Newman faces his first free into Hill 16 but it’s little more than a chip shot and no problem for him, despite the best efforts of the Dublin fans behind Cluxton’s goal.

Dublin 1-9 Meath 0-10: 41 mins — More like it from Dublin as Ciaran Kilkenny kicks two points in the space of a minute. Mannion and Brogan considered a route to goal for the second one but they were crowded out and Kilkenny took his point.

Dublin 1-9 Meath 0-12: 43 mins — End to end stuff here, you can’t take your eyes off it. Brian Meade kicks a point and then Newman follows up with another, selling Macauley a lovely dummy before scoring. All square again.

Dublin 1-10 Meath 0-12: 45 mins — A bit of a schemozzle after Dublin win a free around the Meath 45 line. Graham Reilly and Paul Flynn are both booked and when the dust settles, Cluxton puts Dublin back in front.

48 mins — Great goal chance for Meath but Eamonn Wallace tries to outwit Stephen Cluxton with a lob. The Dublin keeper shows his experience and stays tall to save.

Dublin 1-11 Meath 0-12: 49 mins — Paul Mannion points a free. Dublin lead by two.

Dublin 1-12 Meath 0-12: 53 mins — Mannion points again. Dublin three up.

Dublin 1-13 Meath 0-13: 57 mins — Michael Newman points from play but it’s immediately cancelled out by a Cluxton free from the 45. Three points in it with just over 10 minutes to play.

Dublin 2-13 Meath 0-13: 60 mins — GOAL FOR DUBLIN! That could be that. O’Rourke saves Kevin O’Brien’s shot by Mannion is on hand to follow up and fire into an empty net.

Dublin 2-14 Meath 0-13: 62 mins — Substitute Dean Rock points. Dublin’s lead is now seven.

66 min — Cluxton sends a free wide as a tiny bit of the fizzle goes out of this one. Barring a Meath miracle, Dublin will be lifting their eighth provincial title of the last nine years in a few short minutes.

Dublin 2-15 Meath 0-13: 67 mins — Dean Rock points a free.

The attendance here in Croke Park is 54,485 if you were curious.

Dublin 2-15 Meath 0-14: 69 mins — A Joe Sheridan point for Meath but it’s too little too late.

71 mins — Dublin keep possession as the clock ticks into added time and a chorus of Olé rings out from Hill 16 with every touch.

Full time: Dublin 2-15 Meath 0-14

So once again it’s Stephen Cluxton who lifts the Delaney Cup as Dublin continue their remarkable run of provincial dominance. Trailing by two at the break, they outscored Meath by 1-11 to 0-5 in a ferocious second half. Paul Mannion gets the man of the match nod from here, finishing on a total of 1-4 for the Dubs.

Scorers for Dublin: P Mannion 1-4 (2f), P Flynn 1-1, C Kilkenny, S Cluxton (2f, 1 45’) all 0-3, D Rock 0-2 (1f), D Connolly, B Brogan all 0-1.

Scorers for Meath: M Newman 0-8 (6f), E Wallace, S Bray all 0-2, B Meade, J Sheridan all 0-1.

About the author:

Niall Kelly

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