Meath had All Ireland champions Dublin on the ropes for long periods in this O'Byrne Cup semi final played in front of a large crowd at Navan.
Stoppage time points from Philly Ryan and Eoghan O'Gara earned Dublin a thrilling O'Byrne Cup semi-final win over Meath at Pairc Tailteann on Sunday afternoon
Dublin 1-15 Meath 1-13
When Meath 'keeper Paddy O'Rourke landed his third pointed placed ball of the game in the first minute of added time the scores were tied for only the second time in the game.
Despite being buoyed up by a vocal home crowd the Royals were unable to set up a repeat of last year's final meeting with Kildare as the Leinster champions finished stronger.
O'Gara's goal left Dublin nine points to the good, 1-11 to 0-5, after 43 minutes. A repeat of last year's Leinster SFC final margin looked likely but Mick O'Dowd spirited charges ensured otherwise.
A couple of Sean Tobin frees got the Royals rally going. Approaching the mid-point of the second-half Dublin led by double scores. 1-11 to 0-7. Meath continued to chip away at the deficit.
Enter Kilmainham's Michael Newman and his salvo almost got Meath out of jail. His 59th minute goal - with assistance from Andrew Tormey - cut the deficit to the minimum, 1-11 to 1-12.
In the end Dublin's greater efficiency saw them through to the final while Meath's shortcomings in attack let them down in this occasion. However, their spirited finale is heartening.
Meath had whatever advantage the squally wind offered in the opening half and they took the lead for the lead through wing-back Bryan Menton in the second minute.
Dublin wasted little time in chalking up scores at the town end. By the 13th minute they were 0-4 to 0-1 ahead with two Dean Rock efforts (one free) complimented by scores from Shane Carthy and Emmet O Conghaile.
A mini-Meath revival yielded scores from Menton and Jamie Queeney to leave the minimum in it, 0-3 to 0-4, after 15 minutes. Menton's second score was the pick of the points in the early stages.
Meath chalked up seven first-half wides while Dublin had just two. The visitors took a grip on proceedings in the second quarter tagging on four scores on the bounce before Meath registered again through Graham Reilly in the 34th minute to bridge a 19-minute scoring blank.
Two Paddy O'Rourke saves in quick succession around the 26th minute prevented Eoghan O'Gara (twice) from goaling and kept Meath in the hunt.
Graham Reilly's 34th minute effort ended Meath's aforementioned scoring blank. Sean Tobin (free) followed it up but Carthy's second score of the half - with assistance from O'Gara and Tomas Brady - left Dublin 0-9 to 0-5 ahead at the break.
Dublin resumed with Shane Carthy and sub Michael Darragh Macauley at midfield. Jim Gavin's men were quick to extend their lead through O'Gara.
Another Rock free followed before Rock finished to the net from close range at the old swimming pool end to leave it 1-11 to 0-5 after 43 minutes.
Meath's first second-half score arrived courtesy of a Sean Tobin free in the 46th minute. The Simonstown man was off target was another placed ball before landing his third free in the 49th minute to leave the home side seven points off the pace.
Dublin - Lorcan Molloy; Eoin Culligan, Rory O'Carroll (C), Darren Daly; Nicky Devereux, John Small, Jonny Cooper; Denis Bastick, Emmet O Conghaile (0-1); Tomas Brady, Dean Rock (0-8, 4fs, 1 45), Shane Carthy (0-2); Kevin McManamon (0-1), Eoghan O'Gara (1-2), Cormac Costello. Subs - Michael Darragh McAuley for Bastick (ht), Michael Fitzsimons for Daly (ht), Jack McCaffrey for Carthy (42), Stuart Lowndes for Brady (43), Philly Ryan (0-1) for Costello (46).
Meath - Paddy O'Rourke (0-3, 2 45s, 1f); Donncha Tobin, Conor McGill, Davy Dalton; Nicky Judge, Donal Keogan (C), Bryan Menton (0-2); Harry Rooney, Adam Flanagan; Graham Reilly (0-2), Stephen Bray, Joey Wallace; Sean Tobin (0-3 fs), Jamie Queeney (0-1), Ruairi O'Dowd. Subs - Mickey Burke (0-1) for Dalton (13), Ciaran McConnell for Judge (ht), Andrew Tormey for O'Dowd (ht), Michael Newman (1-1) for Queeney (53), Damien Carroll for Tobin (56), David Bray for Bray (60).Tweet