Early goal blitz helps Dublin power into final

Impressive first-half display from home side left Meath trailing by 12 points at the break

Dublin 4-12 Meath 1-14

A week after destroying Westmeath with an avalanche of second-half scoring, Dublin did the damage early on at Parnell Park this time to comfortably secure a Leinster Under-20 FC final place.

Three goals inside the opening quarter hour laid the platform for another Parnell Park win and qualification for a ninth consecutive provincial under-20 decider.

Beaten by Offaly in last year's final, the Sky Blues have returned to the Leinster showpiece and will play Kildare in a repeat of the 2019 provincial minor final.


Jim Lehane's side struck Meath hard and early and broke the Royal County's resolve with goals from top scorer Ryan O'Dwyer, who finished with 1-6, Adam Waddick and Luke Breathnach inside the first 14 minutes.

Dublin went on to lead by 12 points at half-time and they increased that to 15 after Breathnach’s second goal in the 36th minute, allowing them to comfortably absorb a Meath revival in the final 20 minutes.

Meath got the margin down to seven points by full-time thanks partly to Eoghan Frayne’s stoppage-time goal but the contest was long since over.

Dublin found themselves on the brink of a painful defeat a week earlier at the same venue following a nightmare first half against Westmeath.

They trailed by seven points at the interval in that quarter-final tie before turning things around with a dominant second-half performance and they carried that momentum into this encounter.

Frayne opened the scoring with a first-minute point but O'Dwyer then netted after being set free by a clever Fionn Murray hand pass.

Meath struggled at midfield and were punished for any mistake they made, including a score attempt from a free that dropped short which was used to launch a rapid counterattack for Dublin’s second goal.

Scoring bonanza

Breathnach began a scoring bonanza for Dublin when he struck their third goal in the 14th minute, the start of a 1-5 scoring blitz for the hosts that ultimately put the game beyond Meath.

Dublin built on their 3-7 to 0-4 half-time lead with Breathnach’s second goal in the 36th minute when he danced through the Meath defence on the left and slipped the ball to the net.

Meath's difficulties were underlined by the fact that their management had four subs introduced by the start of the second half. They made a difference though and between Pearse Sheridan and Oisín Martin they struck 0-5 in the second half as Meath fought back.

The Royals turned that 15-point deficit after Dublin's fourth goal into a seven-point gap by full-time with Frayne and Daragh Reilly also splitting the posts.

DUBLIN: H O'Sullivan; T Clancy, H Donaghy, K Conroy; D O'Dowd, G McEneaney, C Tyrrell; A Waddick (1-0), S Forker; T Brennan, F Murray (0-6, 4f), S Smith; R O'Dwyer (1-6, 0-4f), L Breathnach (2-0), S Kinsella. Subs: D Robertson for Brennan (half-time), J Lundy for Kinsella (51 mins), R Cullen for Smith (51), P Duffy for Tyrrell (54), D Fagan for Murray (57).

MEATH: B Hogan; T Corbett, L Kelly, C McCarrick; A McDonnell, J Carolan, M Coffey; J Browne, S Emmanuel; S Smyth, D Reilly (0-3), C Caulfield; N Finnerty (0-1, 1f), E Frayne (1-4, 1f, 1 45), R Kinsella (0-1). Subs: A Bowden for Corbett (13 mins), C Gray for Browne (24), P Sheridan (0-3) for Smyth (h/t), E Quinn for Carolan (h/t), O Martin (0-2) for Finnerty (48), F Blake for McDonnell (59-f/t, blood).

Referee: A Nolan (Wicklow).