Dubs prove to be extra special
Dublin 1-15 Meath 1-13
Dublin produced a comeback of epic proportions when eventually getting the better of traditional rivals Meath by two points after extra-time in their thrilling Electric Ireland Leinster Minor Football Championship first round clash at Parnell Park on Saturday afternoon.
Even the most optimistic of Dublin supporter would have had their work cut out making a case for their side as the Dubs trailed by ten points at half-time (1-10 to 0-3), a scoreline that accurately reflected the disparity between the respective forward lines in the first-half.
However, a bright start to the second-half offered a degree of hope and when the highly influential James Doran netted in the 56th minute, Dublin had trimmed their deficit to just two points.
They crucially maintained that momentum for the tense final minutes with points from Doran and Mark Tracey forcing extra-time.
From that position, it was really just a case of keeping their nerve as the attacking vibrancy and interplay of the visitors had all but eroded at that stage and Dublin duly obliged with the influential Ciarán Archer kicking three points in extra-time to edge Dublin home.
The Dubs will naturally benefit from this victory in terms of confidence but it would take a brave man to bet against Meath dusting themselves off and making a positive impression at the business end of the championship later in the year, such was the encouraging impression that they made in the first-half.
While Dublin were gaining scant reward for some generous amounts of possession around centrefield in the first-half, the visitors were far more threatening and clinical with their execution and understanding in attack was far superior to that of their opponents.
Countless times, Dublin picked up possession in promising situations only for the final pass or shot to be miscalculated with Doran the only real exception to this as he kicked two fine scores from play in the first-half.
Meath were especially fluid from their midfield up and they built up an early two point lead following scores by Paddy Conway and Seán Martin with Dublin's Ross McGarry unfortunate to see his fourth minute shot cannon to safety off Andrew Beakey's left hand upright.
Doran kicked two points in reply but they proved isolated moments of encouragement for the home forward line as Meath edged three points clear by the end of the first quarter thanks to scores by Jordan Morris and Shane Walsh. That lead was doubled in the 17th minute as some sloppy defending and wonderful enterprise by Conor Freyne culminated in a glorious goal by the Summerhill player.
Dublin captain Donal Ryan offered a brief riposte with a 21st minute score but the procession towards the home goal continued with Morris kicking two late points to push Meath 1-10 to 0-3 clear at the break.
For all of Meath's supremacy in the opening half, they looked less than assured upon the restart as Dublin finally began to play with an element of controlled urgency in their play.
With the visitors retreating, the redeployment of dangerous full-forward Walsh being a case in point, Dublin began to monopolise possession with Ryan and Eoin O'Dea especially prominent and Archer and Doran reflected that dominance with classy points as the half progressed.
Meath managed just one point in the second-half, a 54th minute point from Walsh but Doran's goal from a Peadar Ó Cofaigh Byrne pass handed the Dubs sufficient belief to eventually complete a memorable win.