Dublin claimed back to back Leinster titles at Croke Park on Sunday beating Meath by three points.
They were pushed all the way by a gallant Meath side. Pat Gilroy’s team always looked the better side and ran out 2-13 to 1-13 winners, but late fight-back from the Royals ensured a nervy finish for the All-Ireland champions.
Pat Gilroy’s team went into the game as hot favourites against a team that will be playing Division Three football next season. Meath were surprise victors over Kildare in the semi-final, and even allowing for the rivalry and tradition between the two sides, were in most observers’ eyes huge under dogs. Dublin were quick to lay the marker down and raced into a 0-6 to 0-1 lead with the Brogan brothers in particular causing consternation in the Meath defence with their swift movement and score taking. Brian Farrell frees and a Stephen Bray point brought Meath back into it, before a groin injury meant an early exit for Alan Brogan, just after extending the Dubs lead. The game was decided on the stroke of half-time. Trailing by two points, Cian Gillespie coughed up possession and Eoghan O’Gara drove at the defence before feeding Bernard Brogan. He finished expertly to the back of the net, and 60 seconds later Denis Bastick found himself in acres of space to drill home the second, leaving the half-time score 2-7 to 0-5.
Brian Farrell got the opening score of the second-half, and Cluxton made a brilliant save to deny the forward a goal soon after. Michael Darragh Macauley hit the post after a good team move when he should have put the game beyond doubt. The Dubs scored three quality points in succession as they moved up the gears. Graham Reilly and Farrell tacked on close range points, and substitute Jamie Queeney reduced the gap to three points with a late goal. It was too late as Brogan and and Reilly exchanged points to ensure a 51st Leinster title.