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Leinster SFC: Ruthless Dublin cruise to victory

Seán Bugler scored a first half goal for Dublin against Meath in the Leinster SFC at Croke Park. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Seán Bugler scored a first half goal for Dublin against Meath in the Leinster SFC at Croke Park. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Leinster SFC Quarter-Final

Dublin 3-19 Meath 0-12

By Cian O’Connell at Croke Park

This was a satisfactory Sunday afternoon at GAA headquarters for Dublin.

The standard bearers cruised to an emphatic win over Meath, without any fuss or drama. Stephen Cluxton and Michael Fitzsimons returned to the Dublin team, and James McCarthy was given a spin in the second half.

Inside, Paul Mannion registered 1-6, while Ciarán Kilkenny and Con O’Callaghan also made significant contributions throughout.

Meath battled for much of the opening period, but Dublin embarked on important scoring bursts to lead 1-8 to 0-6 at the interval.

Initially, the Royals enjoyed productive moments as Darragh Campion and Ronan Jones (mark) drilled over splendid points.

Dublin, though, were far from flustered, clipping three in a row before Mathew Costello restored parity in the 16th minute.

Dessie Farrell’s outfit pounced for a goal in the 20th minute when Ross McGarry’s deft flick released Seán Bugler, who supplied the required finish.

Two further points from the sharp Mannion ensured the All-Ireland champions were 1-5 to 0-3 ahead.

Meath responded as Eoghan Frayne and Jordan Morris rifled over sweet points, but once more Dublin came thundering back.

That was the theme of the first half. Two Colm Basquel efforts either side of a point from Con O’Callaghan meant Dublin were comfortable as they eventually went in five to the good at the turnaround.

It was a similar story after the restart. Dublin were doing enough to fend off Meath’s challenge and led 1-12 to 0-9 by the 48th minute.

With O’Callaghan and John Small prominent, Dublin scored four of the next five points as Meath couldn’t adequately cope.

Eoghan Frayne replied with a 58th minute free, but it was a brief disruption as Dublin quickly netted a second goal.

Substitute Paddy Small created the opportunity for Mannion to net with another replacement, Cormac Costello and the lively Cian Murphy adding points to steer Dublin 2-18 to 0-11 clear.

Meath custodian Billy Hogan converted a 45 before a Paddy Small point was followed by an O’Callaghan goal. Dublin’s 2024 Championship campaign was launched.

Scorers for Dublin: Paul Mannion 1-6 (3fs), Con O’Callaghan 1-2 (1m), Seán Bugler 1-0, Ciarán Kilkenny 0-3, Colm Basquel and John Small 0-2 each, Cormac Costello, Cian Murphy, Paddy Small, and Niall Scully (m) 0-1 each.

Scorers for Meath: Jordan Morris and Eoghan Frayne (2fs) 0-3 each, James Conlon, Ciarán Caulfield, Darragh Campion, Ronan Jones (m), Billy Hogan (45), and Mathew Costello (f) 0-1 each.

Dublin: Stephen Cluxton; Seán MacMahon, Michael Fitzsimons, Eoin Murchan; Seán Bugler, John Small, Cian Murphy; Brian Howard, Tom Lahiff; Niall Scully, Ross McGarry, Ciarán Kilkenny; Paul Mannion, Con O’Callaghan, Colm Basquel.

Subs: James McCarthy for Basquel (50), Paddy Small for Scully (52), Killian McGinnis for McGarry (61), Cormac Costello for Mannion (61), Peadar Ó Cofaigh Byrne for J Small (65).

Meath: Billy Hogan; Donal Keogan, Adam O’Neill, Harry O’Higgins; Seán Coffey, Ross Ryan, Ciarán Caulfield; Ronan Jones, Daithí McGowan; Mathew Costello, Darragh Campion, Eoghan Frayne; Cathal Hickey, Jordan Morris, James Conlon.

Subs: Jack O’Connor for Campion (HT), Cian McBride for McGowan (45), Keith Curtis for Ryan (58), Ruairí Kinsella for Morris (58), Aaron Lynch for Conlon (61).

Referee: Thomas Murphy (Galway).