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EirGrid Leinster U20: Dublin too strong for Meath

EirGrid Leinster Under 20 Championship Semi-Final

DUBLIN 2-14 MEATH 0-7

By Paul Keane at Parnell Park

Holders Dublin will play Laois in the EirGrid Leinster U-20 football championship final after cruising through to the provincial decider with another impressive double-digit margin win.

Tom Gray's side took care of Wicklow and Longford in previous rounds with 10 points to spare each day and were full value for their 13-point win over neighbours Meath this time at Parnell Park.

Goals from Luke Swan and Lorcan O'Dell at the start of either half were significant for the hosts who were powered on by key duo Evan Caulfield and Mark Lavin further out the field.

Ciaran Archer, who struck 10-35 on the way to the All-Ireland U-20 final in 2019, was on the mark again for Dublin with 0-02, going close with two goal chances also.

Meath came into the contest as underdogs and were further rocked by the absence of talisman and full-forward Shane Walsh due to injury.

The big Na Fianna forward has been named to play for the Meath seniors against Kerry in Killarney tomorrow but presumably will miss that Allianz League contest too.

Luke Mitchell came into Ger Robinson's team in place of Walsh and hit Meath's first point from a free in the 13th minute.

By that stage, Dublin had already put 1-4 on the board as they capitalised on the wind at their back to lay siege to the Meath goals in the opening quarter.

In fact, with 25 minutes on the clock, Dublin had created 15 scoring chances, scoring 1-6 in that period and blasting eight wides.

Swan grabbed their goal in the third minute when Lorcan O'Dell, a goalscorer in the win over Longford last weekend, chipped over the top to Archer whose shot was only partially blocked, allowing Swan to tap in from close range.

Archer scored his first point in the eighth minute to put Dublin into that 1-4 to no score lead.

It was painful viewing for Meath supporters who made the short journey up the M3 with the visitors failing to score from play in the first-half.

Mitchell, Liam Byrne and Jordan Morris struck all of their points in that period from placed balls with Dublin reeling off four points in a row between the 20th and 28th minutes to lead 1-8 to 0-3 at half-time.

Meath at least had the wind advantage in the second-half and the knowledge that they'd come from behind to overcome Wexford in the quarter-finals last Saturday.

Whilst Meath's scores had all come from placed balls, Dublin's all arrived from play with Swan and Archer getting the better of their individual battles with Michael Gavin and James O'Hare.

Meath needed a solid start to the second-half but it was Dublin that seized the impetus and O'Dell scored his goal three minutes into the third quarter, a low finish at the clubhouse end of the ground after skipping through the centre of Meath's defence.

Caulfield added a point moments later and with a 2-9 to 0-3 lead, Dublin were in cruise control.

O'Dell and promising sub Padraig Purcell added points in the run in while there was a three in a row of Dublin scores from Archer, Purcell and Kieran McKeon in the closing minutes to wrap up a comfortable win in style.

Scorers for Dublin: Lorcan O'Dell 1-2, Luke Swan 1-1, Evan Caulfield 0-3, Mark Lavin 0-2, Ciaran Archer 0-2, Padraig Purcell 0-2, Kieran McKeon 0-2.

Scorers for Meath: Luke Mitchell 0-2 0-2f, Liam Byrne 0-1 0-1 45, Jordan Morris 0-1 0-1f, Cian Rogers 0-1, Mathew Costello 0-1, Daithi McGowan 0-1.

DUBLIN: Josh O'Neill; Alan Murphy, Adam Rafter, Josh Bannon; Rory Dwyer, Adam Waddick, Lee Gannon; Killian McGinnis, Evan Caulfield; Mark Lavin, Lorcan O'Dell, Sean Foran; Luke Swan, Ciaran Archer, Kieran McKeon.

Subs: Padraig Purcell for Foran 41, Adam Fearon for Caulfield 48, Conor Kinsella for Gannon 53, Stephen Braiden O'Byrne for Lavin 53, Conor Tyrrell for Murphy 57.

MEATH: Sean Brennan; Ben Wyer, James O'Hare, Michael Gavin; Cathal Hickey, Liam Byrne, Michael Murphy; Jack Flynn, Daithi McGowan; Mathew Costello, Aaron Lynch, Jack O'Connor; Jordan Morris, Luke Mitchell, Cian Rogers.

Subs: Conor Farrelly for Murphy 35, Dylan Keating for Rogers 40, Barry O'Connell for Lynch 48, Paddy Matthews for O'Connor 54, Sean Bannon for Gavin 57.

Referee: John Hickey Carlow.

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