Dublin hold off comeback to open their season with win over All-Ireland champions Meath

The game was played at Dublin’s training venue of St Clare’s DCU because of Parnell Park’s unavailability

Dublin 1-11 Meath 0-8

Dublin held off a second-half comeback by Meath to open their season with a deserved Division One League victory over their rivals at DCU on Saturday evening.

The game, which was played at Dublin’s training venue of St Clare’s DCU because of Parnell Park’s unavailability, saw both sides field teams with a mixture of new and familiar faces.

Meath, under new manager Davy Nelson, lined out with nine players from the team that started last year’s All-Ireland final. Vikki Wall and Emma Duggan were carrying the water bottles during this game.


It was the home side that got out of the blocks early with Dublin captain Carla Rowe finishing off a sweeping hand-pass move involving Orlagh Nolan and Hannah Tyrrell that cut apart the Meath defence to see Rowe net what would be the game’s only goal.

Ciara Smyth opened Meath’s account with a well-taken point moments later, but it would be 17 minutes before they added their second score. During that period Dublin tagged on three points, though Meath did create goal-chances, including one effort that struck the crossbar and another that was blocked on the line.

The Leinster champions led 1-5 to 0-3 at half-time and extended their lead with the opening two points after the restart. The second of those was a Hannah Tyrrell free – and the Na Fianna player was handful all evening.

Her aerial ability on the edge of the square caused Meath problems until she was moved to centre forward midway through the second half, where she proved effective at linking Dublin’s play together.

The Dublin defenders were determined not to concede goal chances in the second half and they refused to allow Meath create any goalscoring opportunities, breaking down moves before they could build momentum. Meath’s last four points of the game came from Stacey Grimes frees.

On two occasions in the last 10 minutes the visitors reduced the gap to three. However, whenever Meath got within striking distance, Dublin showed good character to break up the field and register a score. Mick Bohan’s bench made a difference in those closing stages with their last three points coming from players he introduced.

They will be seeing each other again later in the year. But round one for 2023 goes to Dublin.

DUBLIN: Emer Ní Éafa; Niamh Crowley, Rachel Brennan, Jessica Tobin; Leah Caffrey, Dannielle Lawless, Martha Byrne; Jennifer Dunne (0-1), Eilis O’Dowd; Orlagh Nolan (0-1), Carla Rowe (1-2, 0-1 free), Ellen Gribben; Kate Sullivan, Hannah Tyrrell (0-3, two frees), Jodi Egan (0-1). Subs: Emma Deeley for Crowley (15 mins); Caoimhe O’Connor for Sullivan (ht); Annabelle Timothy for Egan (36 mins); Chloe Darby (0-1) for Gribben (40 mins); Kerri Owens (0-1) for Rowe (40 mins); Shannon Richardson (0-1) for Deeley (48 mins); Roisin Baker for Brennan (57 mins).

MEATH: Monica McGuirk; Shauna Ennis, Mary Kate Lynch, Kate Newe; Niamh Gallogly, Aoibhín Cleary, Máire O’Shaughnessy; Aoife Minogue, Olivia Callan; Aine Sheridan, Stacey Grimes (0-4, four frees); Niamh O’Sullivan; Megan Thynne (0-2), Meadbh Byrne (0-1), Ciara Smyth (0-1). Subs: Ailbhe Leahy for O’Shaughnessy (39 mins); Orlaith Mallon for Callan (40 mins); Ali Sherlock for Smyth (42 mins); Olivia Gore for Newe (46 mins).

Referee: Kevin Phelan (Laois)

Gordon Manning

Gordon Manning

Gordon Manning is a sports journalist, specialising in Gaelic games, with The Irish Times