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Allianz FL D2: Dublin cruise to victory
Allianz Football League Division Two
Dublin 2-19 Meath 1-11
By Paul Keane at Pirc Tailteann
A big win over old rivals Meath, thanks in part to goals from Man of the Match Killian O'Gara and Cormac Costello, has left Dublin within touching distance of an immediate return to Division 1 of the Allianz Football League.
Leading by nine points at half-time, Dessie Farrell's side stretched the gap to 11 by full-time with O'Gara, on his first start of the campaign, finishing on 1-3 while Cormac Costello's late goal took his tally to 1-4.
There were strong showings too from midfielder Brian Fenton and Con O'Callaghan who contributed 0-4 apiece.
Barring a disastrous run of results tomorrow, and in the final round of group games next weekend, Dublin will be promoted and should also have a Division 2 final to look forward to.
It's a fourth consecutive game without a win for Meath who will play Kildare in Newbridge next weekend while Dublin are set to be at home to Louth in Round 7.
A bad day at the office for Colm O'Rourke and Meath was compounded by a hamstring injury picked up by captain Donal Keogan in the final quarter.
Meath, with five changes from the side that drew with Limerick in Round 5, required a fast start but conceded the first three points of the game.
Already it was looking ominous for the hosts who were without key figures Shane Walsh and Cillian O'Sullivan in attack.
Cormac Costello, on the frees for Dublin in the absence of Dean Rock, was among those early scorers and back to back points from the Whitehall man in the 15th and 18th minutes left his side 0-6 to 0-1 ahead.
Dublin got the margin out to six points before Meath pinched a rapid fire 1-1 in a matter of seconds between the 20th and 21st minutes.
Jack Flynn boomed the point and Mathew Costello nailed the goal though the Dunshaughlin man would surely concede he was going for a point when his kick from the left of goals dropped in over the head of backpedaling Dubs stopper David O'Hanlon.
Suddenly, the deficit was down to just two points, 0-7 to 1-2, but Meath didn't score again until the 42nd minute as Dublin reasserted their dominance.
Fenton's second and third points of the half, along with a score from Ciaran Kilkenny, put Dublin well in the clear again before O'Gara cracked in a superb 35th minute goal.
Meath had been on the attack themselves but when James McCarthy was fouled in defence, Eoin Murchan burst up the field and eventually played in O'Gara who hammered a left foot rocket across the goalkeeper to the far corner.
O'Gara, who contributed 1-8 across Dublin's two O'Byrne Cup games, took the opportunity of a rare league start with both hands and closed out the first-half scoring with a neat point to leave the Leinster champions 1-11 to 1-2 up.
Even with the wind behind them in the second-half, Meath couldn't muster anything like a revival and five Dublin points in a row between the 53rd and 60th minutes - three of those from O'Callaghan - all but killed the contest.
Aaron Lynch did chip in with two points for Meath after coming on but Dublin, fittingly, had the final say when Cormac Costello palmed in a 75th minute goal to take the winning margins into double digits.
Scorers for Dublin: Cormac Costello 1-4 0-1f, 0-1 45, Killian O'Gara 1-3, Con O'Callaghan 0-4, Brian Fenton 0-4 0-1f, Lee Gannon 0-2, Ciaran Kilkenny 0-1, Sean Bugler 0-1.
Scorers for Meath: Mathew Costello 1-2 0-1f, Jack Flynn 0-3 0-1 45, Diarmuid Moriarty 0-2 0-1f, Aaron Lynch 0-2, Cathal Hickey 0-1, Donal Lenihan 0-1.
Dublin: David O'Hanlon; Michael Fitzsimons, Daire Newcombe, David Byrne; John Small, Eoin Murchan, Lee Gannon; James McCarthy, Brian Fenton; Niall Scully, Ciaran Kilkenny, Tom Lahiff; Killian O'Gara, Con O'Callaghan, Cormac Costello.
Subs: Sean Bugler for Scully 28, Brian Howard for Lahiff 55, Colm Basquel for O'Gara 62, Ryan Basquel for O'Callaghan 67, Cian Murphy for Gannon 70.
Meath: Harry Hogan; Adam O'Neill, Michael Flood, Harry O'Higgins; Donal Keogan, Padraic Harnan, Cathal Hickey; Ronan Jones, Jack Flynn; Jack O'Connor, Jason Scully, Shane Crosby; Jordan Morris, Mathew Costello, Diarmuid Moriarty.
Subs: Cillian O'Sullivan for O'Connor h/t, Daithi McGowan for Crosby h/t, Aaron Lynch for Morris h/t, Donal Lenihan for Scully 55, Eoin Harkin for Keogan 61.
Referee: Conor Lane Cork.