Royals unable to take Dublin's crown
GAA round-up:Dublin and Donegal both secured successive provincial titles after seeing off Meath and Down respectively in the Leinster and Ulster championships. Dublin had to hold off a late Meath rally to win by a goal but in the end Pat Gilroy’s charges were fully deserving of their victory.
Dublin held a commanding lead for the majority of the game and two quick-fire goals just before half-time helped the reigning All-Ireland champions into a 2-7 to 0-5 lead.
Bernard Brogan was in inspirational form as he amassed a personal tally of 1-7 to help Dublin to their seventh Leinster title in eight years. His brother, Alan had pointed twice before he had to be replaced due to a leg injury sustained in the first half.
Dublin began brightly and moved into a five point lead thanks to points from the Brogan brothers and Kevin McManamon. Meath eventually stirred and points from Brian Farrell and Stephen Bray reduced the arrears to just two points.
Just as Meath appeared to be battling their way back into the game Dublin struck with two goals in two minutes.
First, substitute Eoghan O’Gara threaded a ball through to Bernard Brogan who intuitively tucked the ball under David Gallagher in the Meath goal.
When the match re-started Dublin reclaimed possession and a long ball forward found Michael Bastick in space. The midfielder could have opted for a safe point but instead drilled an accurate shot into the Meath net.
For large periods of the second half Dublin played within themselves and Meath were guilty of squandering chances to close the gap. Joe Sheridan and Brian Farrell kept Meath in contention but O’Gara and James McCarthy helped to extend Dublin’s lead once again.
A 10 minute barren spell followed for Dublin and when substitute Jamie Queeney netted on 68 minutes for Meath only a goal separated the sides. Bernard Brogan responded immediately with a point for Dublin and although Graham Reilly pointed for Meath in injury time they were unable to score the goal that would have granted them a replay.
In Ulster, Donegal retained the Anglo-Celt cup for the first time in their history with a comprehensive victory over Down at St Tiarnach’s Park in Clones.
Down were the better side for large parts of the first half and points from Liam Doyle and Ambrose Rodgers pushed the 2010 All-Ireland finalists into a two-point lead. Donegal, however found the net on 32 minutes when Leo McLoone received the ball from Ryan Bradley and showed composure to slot the ball underneath Brendan McVeigh in the Down goal. It meant that Donegal held a 1-5 to 0-7 lead at half-time.
While the first half was close the gulf in class between the sides was exposed during a one-sided second half.
Mark McHugh was particularly effective for Donegal and deservedly collected the man-of-the-match accolade but substitutes Christy Toye and Martin McElhinney also provided added impetus to the Donegal attack in the second period.
Colm McFadden began to find his scoring range and when Frank McGlynn found the net on 50 minutes the game was effectively over as a contest. Further Donegal points in the latter stages only served to underline their Championship credentials.
Donegal and Dublin are into the All-Ireland quarter-finals while Down and Meath will face Tipperary and Laois respectively next weekend in Round Four of the qualifiers.
Leinster senior football championship final
Dublin 2-13 Meath 1-13
Ulster senior football championship final
Donegal 2-18 Down 0-13