Farrell delighted with Dublin's display
By Paul Keane
Dublin manager Dessie Farrell said that his players were determined to deliver a performance to match the special occasion on the anniversary of Bloody Sunday at Croke Park.
Farrell's All-Ireland hopefuls cruised to a 21-point provincial final win over Meath, 100 years to the day since the Bloody Sunday atrocity when 14 were shot and killed while attending a Dublin versus Tipperary challenge game.
The Dublin players, led by captain Stephen Cluxton, laid a wreath at the site of the commemoration in Croke Park following their win and Farrell described it as a poignant occasion.
"Obviously it's a huge occasion for the GAA," said Farrell. "In some ways, what happened here 100 years ago today is very much part and parcel of our identity as an organisation. We touched on it during the week about the importance of the night and the commemoration and we just felt in our own small way that it was important to recognise the people who perished on that night and (who were) struck down in very sad circumstances, and to just take the opportunity to be grateful for all we have and the opportunity that we've been provided by all those who have gone before us, our forefathers and people like who were killed here 100 years ago."
Dublin certainly delivered a performance to remember as they dismantled a Meath team that had been scoring goals for fun, limiting the Royals to just 0-9 overall. At the other end, Dean Rock, Sean Bugler and Niall Scully all scored goals for Dublin as they racked up a stunning 3-21.
Asked if it was the team's best performance since he took over, Farrell nodded.
"It was, yeah," he said. "Obviously Meath had put together some very good performances, we got a sample of it in Parnell Park a couple of weeks back in the League. They will probably count themselves unlucky not to have got more out of that game on that night. So we were ready for a big challenge here today for sure.
"We knew we'd have to step it up for a Leinster final and based on what we'd seen from Meath they were coming in very confident, had been bagging a lot of goals, were on the crest of a wave so it was definitely going to focus the minds for sure. I think we saw a pretty decent and focused performance from us tonight which was very pleasing."
Dublin will play the winners of tomorrow's Ulster final, between Donegal and Cavan, in an All-Ireland semi-final on Saturday, December 5.
"We'll get a look," said Farrell of the Ulster final. "Cavan have shown remarkable resilience and the performances of Donegal have been hugely impressive. I'm quite familiar with a lot of the talent that they have up there. Declan Bonner is doing a great job, they've not alone got gifted players on the field but they've impact from the bench as well. They've been exceptional in their previous couple of outings so it'll be interesting to see tomorrow."
Meath manager Andy McEntee cut a disappointed figure after the heavy defeat, their second provincial loss to Dublin in a row.
"We didn't perform and we got badly punished," said McEntee. "We never got into it and we got punished every time we made an error and we just weren't up to the pitch of the game, plain and simple. We spoke last week and said that if we put in another first-half performance like we did last week against Kildare then the game would be out of sight and that's what happened.
"We were chasing it from a very early stage, we just weren't able to compete at that level on the day for whatever reason. You have to give credit to Dublin, they are where they are and they totally outplayed us in probably every facet of the game."