Cormac Costello was in superb form for the Dublin minor footballers today. INPHO/Donall Farmer

As It Happened: Dublin v Meath, Leinster MFC final

It was the Dublin and Meath minor teams who got the ball rolling today in Croke Park with the Leinster minor crown on offer. See how the game developed here.

Before today’s Leinster senior showdown in Croke Park, there was the matter of the minor final between Dublin and Meath at 2pm.

We were live from Croke Park to record all the action.

Send us your thoughts and comments on today’s action. E-mail, tweet us@thescore_iefind us on Facebook, or leave a comment below.

Here’s the Dublin team for today’s game.

DUBLIN: Lorcan Molloy (St Anne’s); Emile Mullan (Na Fianna), David Byrne (Naomh Olaf), Ross McGowan (Kilmacud Crokes); Maitias MacDonncha (Clontarf), Conor Mulally (Cuala), Gavin Burke (St Vincent’s); Stephen Cunningham (St Sylvester’s), Shane Carthy (Naomh Mearnog); Robert Gaughan (Ballinteer St John’s), Shane Cunningham (Kilmacud Crokes), Niall Walsh (St Oliver Plunkett’s-Eoghan Ruadh); Conor McHugh (Na Fianna), Cormac Costello (Whitehall Colmcille), Niall Scully (Templeogue Synge Street).

Here’s the Meath team for today’s game.

MEATH: Jack Hannigan (Donaghmore/Ashbourne); Declan Smyth (Dunsany), Brian Power (Ratoath), Shane Gallagher (Simonstown Gaels); Patrick Kennelly (Dunderry), Shane McEntee (St Peter’s Dunboyne), Ruairi O Coilean (Navan O’Mahony’s); Adam Flanagan (Clonard), Padraig Harnan (Jenkinstown Gaels); Cillian O’Sullivan (Jenkinstown Gaels), Jason Daley (St Peter’s Dunboyne), James McEntee (St Vincent’s Curraha); Barry Dardis (Summerhill), Stephen Coogan (Dunderry), Fiachra Ward (Wolfe Tones).

We’re approaching throw-in for today’s minor clash in Croke Park with Dublin bidding to retain their Leinster crown that they won last year while Meath last grasped silverware in this grade in 2008.

Na Fianna attacker Conor McHugh and Whitehall Colmcille’s Cormac Costello will be the main men to watch in the Dublin forward line while Fiachra Ward, the younger brother of senior forward Cian, is a key figure up front at left corner-forward for Meath.

Dublin 0-2 Meath 0-0: 4 mins – First blood to Dublin with wing-back Gavin Burke charging through and blasting a shot over the bar before Cormac Costello then raises a white flag quickly after. One change on the Dublin side before throw-in sees Eric Lowndes in to replace Shane Cunningham.

Dublin 0-2 Meath 0-1: 6 mins – Lovely point by Meath wing-back Patrick Kennelly off his left after he was fed by Fiachra Ward. gets the Royals off the mark.

Missed chances on both sides with Conor McHugh hitting the post for Dublin before Fiachra Ward (Meath) and Cormac Costello (Dublin) both see their point attempts drop shot into the respective goalkeepers hands.

Dublin 0-4 Meath 0-1: 11 mins – No mistake on this occasion from Costello after he skips past a couple of Meath defenders and confidently slots between the posts after McHugh had earlier seen another point effort hit the upright. Then Niall Walsh fists over another point after Niall Scully’s goal bound drive was blocked. Dublin making the early headway and full value for their three-point lead.

Dublin 0-6 Meath 0-1: 15 mins – Penalty for Dublin as corner-forward Niall Scully is upended when racing through. The responsibility falls to Scully himself but his low shot is poorly struck and Meath goalkeeper Jack Hannigan does excellently to block the ball with his legs. That’s a let off for Meath but Dublin do tack on two points soon after through Robert Gaughan and Conor McHugh to remain firmly in control.

Dublin 0-6 Meath 0-2: 16 mins – A point for Meath and one that they badly needed. Full-forward Stephen Coogan supplies with a shot off his right and that should help them settle down.

Dublin 0-8 Meath 0-2: 17 mins – Dublin are starting to impose their authority as they cut through the Meath rearguard in waves. Firstly Gavin Burke scythes through and lashes a shot over the bar that could have ended up as a goal before Conor McHugh pops over another point.

Dublin 1-8 Meath 0-2: 21 mins – The signs are already looking ominous for Meath. They have conceded a goal and it’s a poor one from their viewpoint. Cormac Costello hooks in a left-foot shot that is an attempt for a point but it deceives goalkeeper Jack Hannigan and ends up in the top corner of the net. Big setback for the Royals but in contrast Dessie Farrell’s Dublin side are in flying form. There’s been a Meath change as well with Conor Carton on for Patrick Kennelly in defence.

A great goal chance for Meath there but Jason Daley’s shot under pressure is saved by Lorcan Molloy. They could really have done with the boost of raising a green flag there.

Dublin 1-8 Meath 0-3: 26 mins – Meath do manage to pull a score back courtesy of a free by Fiachra Ward after Jason Daly is fouled.

Dublin 1-9 Meath 0-3: 27 mins – A great kick from the right wing by half-forward Niall Walsh stretches Dublin’s lead further to nine points.

Dublin 1-9 Meath 0-4: 28 mins – Ward converts another free for Meath, this time from about 35 yards out and to the centre of the goal as we approach half-time. They nearly concede a goal at the other end as Niall Scully and Gavin Burke broke clear for Dublin but some last-ditch Meath defending saves the day.

Dublin 1-10 Meath 0-4: 30 mins – Midfielder Shane Carthy effortlessly knocks over a ’45 for Dublin and they look like they will go in at the break holding a commanding advantage.

HALF-TIME: Dublin 1-10 Meath 0-5: The half ends with Meath nearly grabbing a goal but after a loose ball falls into the arms Barry Dardis, he unleashes a fierce drive that flies just over the bar. It’s Dublin in control at the break and they have been in excellent form in the first-half as they possess an eight-point lead.

Here are the scores from the first-half of the minor showdown in Croke Park.

DUBLIN: Cormac Costello 1-2, Gavin Burke, Conor McHugh, Niall Walsh 0-2 each, Robert Gaughan, Shane Carthy (0-1 ’45) 0-1 each.
MEATH: Fiachra Ward 0-2 (0-2f), Patrick Kennelly, Stephen Coogan, Barry Dardis 0-1 each.

We’ll be back shortly for the second-half action.

Changes at half-time on the Meath team with James O’Malley in for Declan Smyth while Patrick Kennelly replaces Stephen Coogan. Unusually we’ve also had a change of referee as Offaly whistler Damien Brazil has had to retire with an injury and stand-in referee Anthony Nolan from Wicklow will officiate for the second-half.

Dublin 1-10 Meath 0-6: 32 mins – A beautiful long-range kick from a free by Fiachra Ward gives Meath a bright start to the second-half. Perhaps that can give them some hope to launch a revival.

Dublin 2-10 Meath 0-6: 35 mins – But Dublin quickly ensure that Meath hope dissipates. Cormac Costello collects possession on the left wing, rushes inside where he slips past the Meath defence and keeps his cool as goalkeeper Jack Hannigan advances to roll the ball to the net for his second goal of the game. With 25 minutes to go and facing a ten-point deficit, Meath now have a mountain to climb.

And Dublin are nearly in for a third goal but Conor McHugh’s shot is blocked and Cormac Costello’s follow up effort is also thwarted by the Meath defence. At the other end Meath get a sniff of a goal chance but Fiachra Ward misplaces a hand pass and the ball rolls harmlessly out over the end line.

Dublin 3-11 Meath 0-6: 39 mins – And Dublin now have raised a green flag for the third time and again it is Costello who finishes to the net to complete his hat-trick. Conor McHugh plays the ball across where Costello collects, sidesteps Hannigan and finishes simply to the net. He then adds a point for good measure to bring his personal tally for the day to 3-3. The son of Dublin county board secretary John is having an outstanding game here and with twenty minutes left, this match looks over.

Dublin 3-11 Meath 0-7: 43 mins – Fiachra Ward taps over another for Meath who have brought on Harry Rooney for captain Padraig Harnan.

Dublin 3-11 Meath 1-8: 45 mins – Meath supporters finally have something to cheer about when they find the net with wing-forward Cillian O’Sullivan scooping up loose possession and firing a brilliant drive to the net. Jason Daley follows it up with a neat point and they are now nine points adrift. Dublin have brought on Cathal Flynn for Niall Walsh.

Dublin 3-11 Meath 1-9: 47 mins – And Meath nearly creep in for a second goal with Fiachra Ward breaking clear, shrugging off the defensive challenges before firing in a shot that goes just over the bar.

Dublin 3-12 Meath 1-9: 50 mins – Conor McHugh relieves the pressure for Dublin when swinging over a free that goes over the bar via the upright. That’s the Na Fianna clubman’s third point of the game.

Dublin 3-13 Meath 1-10: 52 mins – Ward with another free for Dublin, this time popping it over from close range before at the other end Dublin cancel it out through Shane Cunningham, who had moments before been introduced for Robert Gaughan.

Dublin 3-15 Meath 1-10: 54 mins – That should be that. Dublin tack on another two points with Gavin Walsh scoring from play and Cormac Costello registering from a free. They are 11 points clear and playing controlled football which should ensure they claim another provincial crown.

If Dublin triumph, as looks extremely likely now, they will face the Ulster runners-up Monaghan in the All-Ireland MFC quarter-final stage on the August Bank Holiday weekend while Meath will play Ulster champions Tyrone.

Dublin 3-17 Meath 1-10: 59 mins – It’s routine stuff for Dublin now with Niall Scully and Conor McHugh both popping over points. McHugh is subsequently replaced by David Campbell while Dublin have also brought on Michael Deegan for the goalscoring hero Cormac Costello. A Meath substitution sees Ciaran Gillespie replace Ruairi O Coileán. Dublin almost grab a fourth goal as well but Scully’s drive comes crashing back off the crossbar.

FULL-TIME: Dublin 3-17 Meath 1-11: All over in Croke Park and it was a very comfortable outing for Dublin as they retained their Leinster minor crown. Meath grabbed a consolation point through midfielder Adam Flanagan while a late Dublin substitution saw midfielder Shane Carthy come off and Brendan Bentley come on.

Here are the scorers from today’s minor clash in Croke Park.

DUBLIN: Cormac Costello 3-4 (0-1f), Conor McHugh 0-4 (0-2f), Gavin Burke 0-3, Niall Walsh 0-2, Robert Gaughan, Shane Carthy (0-1 ’45), Niall Scully, Shane Cunningham 0-1 each.
MEATH: Fiachra Ward 0-6 (0-5f), Cillian O’Sullivan 1-0, Jason Daley, Patrick Kennelly, Stephen Coogan, Barry Dardis, Adam Flanagan 0-1 each.

Dublin will move forward to the All-Ireland stages full of confidence as they prepare for a quarter-final tilt with Monaghan and will be hoping that they can enjoy a successful run in the All-Ireland series following the disappointment of last year’s final loss to Tipperary. Meath must try to pick themselves up now for a quarter-final battle with Tyrone. That’s all from us as regards minor action in Croke Park but we’ll be starting our live blog for the senior battle very shortly. Thanks for joining us.

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