By Daire Walsh
Kate Sullivan found the net in both halves as Dublin secured a 10th successive TG4 Leinster Senior Championship with a six-point win over Meath at Laois Hire O’Moore Park.
Following on from a Lidl National Football League Division 1 success at DCU St Clare’s at the beginning of the year — and a narrow victory against them at Pairc Tailteann in the round robin phase of this competition — Dublin have now defeated the reigning TG4 All-Ireland SFC champions on three occasions in 2023.
Emma Duggan flew the flag for the Royals with a 0-7 tally, but they ultimately fell short in their quest for a first senior provincial crown since 2000.
A rematch of last year’s Leinster SFC showpiece at Croke Park, Dublin opened the scoring with a third-minute point from Jodi Egan only for Brendan Martin Cup holders Meath to fired back with three points on the bounce from Dunboyne club-mates Duggan (two) and Vikki Wall.
There was a ferocious pace to the game during the early exchanges and the lead once again changed hands when Kate Sullivan palmed an Orlagh Nolan delivery to he net on nine minutes. The in-form Duggan and Dublin’s Hannah Tyrrell swapped pointed frees either side of the first-quarter mark, but the game became extremely cagey as it wore on with both defences effectively shutting down the avenues of attack for their opponents.
Nonetheless, Meath’s influential inside forward Niamh O’Sullivan did pop up with a well-taken point at the very end of the opening half to leave the teams on level terms (1-2 to 0-5) at the midway stage. While Dublin got up and running on the resumption with a Jennifer Dunne score straight from the throw-in, this was immediately cancelled out by another Duggan free.
Yet Dublin were beginning to get on top around the middle third and eventually developed further momentum with three points in as many minutes from Egan (two) and Caoimhe O’Connor.
Duggan broke this scoring sequence with her third free of the tie, before the decisive moment arrived on 54 minutes. After Jennifer Dunne superbly gathered an Abby Shiels kick-out, she delivered an accurate pass towards the unmarked Tyrrell.
She swiftly picked out the raiding Sullivan, who hammered the ball beyond the reach of Royal custodian Monica McGuirk. The tireless Duggan did conjure a 0-2 salvo for Meath in the closing minutes, but a point from defender Martha Byrne rounded off a successful day at the office for Dublin.
Scorers - Dublin: K Sullivan 2-0, J Egan 0-4, H Tyrrell 0-1 (1f), M Byrne, J Dunne, C O’Connor, C Rowe 0-1 each. Meath: E Duggan 0-7 (4f), V Wall, N O’Sullivan 0-1 each.
DUBLIN: A Shiels; N Crowley, L Caffrey, M Byrne; O Nolan, F O’Connell Bell, E Gribben; J Dunne, L Magee; C O’Connor, J Egan, E O’Dowd; H Tyrrell, C Rowe, K Sullivan.
Subs: S Wylde for Gribben (h-t), N Hetherton for Egan (48), D Lawless for Nolan (55), O Martin for Sullivan, C Darby for O’Connor (both 56).
MEATH: M McGuirk; Á Sheridan, MK Lynch, K Newe; N Gallogly, S Ennis, A Cleary; M O’Shaughnessy, A Minogue; M Thynne, V Wall, E Duggan; O Lally, S Grimes, N O’Sullivan.
Subs: M Byrne for Grimes (44), C Smyth for Thynne, S Melia for Lally (both 50), A Sherlock for Gallogly (53), E Brodigan for O’Shaughnessy (56).
Referee: K Phelan (Laois).