Farrell’s men end minor famine!
DUBLIN 0-14 MEATH 1-5
The famine is over! Dublin claimed the Tom Markham Cup as All-Ireland minor football champions in Croke Park on Sunday for the first time since 1984.
Dessie Farrells young Dubs put in a very mature closing quarter to defeat the Royals after Meath had cut the deficit to the minimum following Fiachra Wards penalty in the 43rd minute.
The Dubs showed winning mettle to respond by kicking the next six points with Shane Carthy (two excellent long-range frees), Niall Walsh, Niall Scully and influential sub Dave Campbell.
However, the drama was not over yet as Meath went very close to securing a second goal but thankfully Stephen Cunningham was in the right place at the right time to sweep the ball forward off the line.
The Dublin defence though had been heroic all afternoon with Davy Byrne and Eric Lowndes particularly immense in a strong defensive unit.
The sides have clashed in the Leinster decider and in many ways that duel provided the tactical backdrop to Sundays All-Ireland final as Meath, beaten by 12 points in the previous meeting, deployed James McEntee as a very effective sweeper in front of his full-back line.
McEntee read the Dublin play very astutely in the opening half and Dublinshard-earned interval lead of 0-7 to 0-2 had more to do with perspiration than inspiration.
Crucially the Dubs hit the last four points of the opening half with Cormac Costello on target on three occasions (two frees) and Carthy slotting the other. The Dubs dominated possession for the opening ten minutes of the second half but shot five wides scores that could have effectively put the game to bed.
As it was Meath drew confidence and rallied with points from Ward and Patrick Kennelly before they were awarded a penalty that Ward clinically put away.
But when leaders were needed they emerged in the Dublin ranks to kick six golden points and end the long wait for minor glory.
SCORERS – Dublin: C Costello 0-5 (0-4f), S Carthy 0-3 (0-2f), N Walsh, N Scully 0-2, E Lowndes, D Campbell 0-1 each. Meath: F Ward 1-2 (1-0 pen, 0-2f), C OSullivan, P Kennelly, J McEntee 0-1 each.
DUBLIN: L Molloy; E Mullan, D Byrne, R McGowan; M Mac Donncha, C Mulally, E Lowndes; Stephen Cunningham, S Carthy; G Burke, C McHugh, N Walsh; N Scully, R Gaughan, C Costello. Subs: Shane Cunningham for Gaughan (39), D Gormley for Burke (43), D Campbell for Walsh (54), M Deegan for Scully (62).
MEATH: R Burlingham; B Power, S Gallagher, R Ó Coileáin; D Smyth, P Harnan, S Lavin; S McEntee, A Flanagan; C OSullivan, J Daly, J McEntee; B Dardis, F Ward, S Coogan. Subs: P Kennelly for Dardis (24), H Rooney for Coogan (37), C Carton for Smyth (49), C Ó Gríofa for Ward (54), C OBrien for Daly (62).
REF: B Cassidy (Derry).