Flynn fires Dublin to victory
LEINSTER SH/ Dublin 1-24 Meath 2-12: The notion that league form goes out the window when the championship gets underway was proved wrong in Tullamore yesterday when Dublin completed the double against Meath in the quarter-final of the Guinness Leinster senior hurling championship.
Dublin always looked the more likely side to progress to a semi-final meeting with Wexford in Thurles next month. Ace marksman Kevin Flynn put them in front after only 15 seconds and they were never subsequently headed. But Meath's tenacity and resilience meant that the game was not at all one-sided.
Two goals by Nicky Horan in the space of a minute, the first of which were deflected past the goalkeeper by Dublin corner back Derek O'Reilly, meant Michael Duignan's charges were only five points adrift at the interval - 0-16 to 2-5 - after playing against the wind. They continued to match their more fancied opponents point-for-point on the change of ends and trailed by just four points going into the final five minutes.
Meath failed to score again and two pointed frees by Flynn were followed by an injury-time goal by Darragh Spain with the last puck of the game to give Dublin a slightly flattering winning margin.
Dublin drafted in Kevin Ryan at left-half back and Darragh Spain at full forward to fill the positions left vacant on their selected line-out, while Meath were forced to make a late change which saw Fergus McMahon replace Thomas Reilly on the right wing.
Dublin manager Kevin Fennelly will be pleased with the improvement shown since his side scraped through by a goal against Westmeath in the previous round. Nine players were on target, with Flynn making a notable contribution of 12 points, seven from frees. Indeed, the ability to pick off points from long range became one of the features of the winners' performance.
In addition to Flynn, Shane Martin, Tomas McGrane and Spain performed well up front, benefiting from the supply provided by midfielders David Sweeney and Carl Meehan.
Not so impressive was the defence, which at times creaked ominously. O'Reilly, despite conceding an own goal, proved an able corner back and Liam Ryan and Kevin Ryan did well in the half back line. Overall, however, work remains to be done in this sector before facing Wexford on June 9th.
Meath contributed to making this an interesting encounter and gave a much better account of themselves than their league record suggested might be the case. Mark Gannon, captaining the side from between the posts, brought off a couple of smart saves and was unfortunate to have a blemish put on his performance so late in the game. Declan Murray proved the mainstay of their defence with Kevin Dowd and Paul Donnelly also defiant.
Cathal Sheridan got through a good deal of work at midfield, but apart from Horan, the forwards lacked penetration.
HOW THEY LINED OUT
DUBLIN: 1. B McLoughlin, 2. P Brennan, 3. S Perkins, 4. D O'Reilly, 5. S Hiney, 6. L Ryan, 7. K Ryan, 8. D Sweeney, 9. C Meehan, 10. T McGrane, 11. C Keaney, 12. S Martin, 13. D Donnelly, 14. D Spain, 15. K Flynn. Substitutes: P O'Donoghue for McGrane, T Moore for Donnelly, C Wilson for Sweeney.
MEATH: 1. M Gannon, 2. P Gannon, 3. P Donnelly, 4. G Kennedy, 5. C Keena, 6. D Murray, 7. K Dowd, 8. C Sheridan, 9. D Callaghan, 10. F McMahon, 11. D Dorran, 12. M Cole, 13. J Toole, 14. N Horan, 15. E Lynam. Substitutes: A O'Neill for Kennedy, N Reilly for Lynam, T Reilly for Keena , P Coone for McMahon