JIM Gavin praised “big character” as Dublin struck late for a second successive week to advance in the O’Byrne Cup, this time seeing off Meath 1-15 to 1-13 to reach the final of the competition, setting up a final date with Kildare.
Speaking afterwards, the Round Tower Clondalkin man said that the competition has given him plenty of good food for thought over potential players to add to his panel for the National League and the Championship in the summer.
“It was a great game for this time of year, a pre-season tournament,” he said. “I think both managers and teams would have learned about themselves in some way. We’re in experimental mode, giving players opportunities to stake a claim in the National League squads.
“We’re looking for players with big character when questions are asked of them. That has happened in the last two games and thankfully the response has been quite positive.”
Jim Gavin’s men led by nine points eight minutes into the second half, 1-11 to 0-5, following Eoghan O’Gara’s goal but as the game entered the first minute of injury-time a Paddy O’Rourke ‘45’ had Meath level and extra-time looking on the cards in front of an attendance of close to 8,000.
However, scores from sub Philly Ryan and O’Gara saw the Dubs progress to face the Lilywhites next Sunday in the decider, scheduled for St Conleth’s Park, Newbridge.
Dublin led 0-9 to 0-5 at the break but could have been further ahead as they had spurned two goal chances when Meath keeper O’Rourke denied O’Gara from close range on both occasions.
The Royals will also reflect on the number of wides they kicked in the opening period: seven versus just two by Dublin.
Dean Rock was Dublin’s principal scorer in the first half, contributing five points (including two frees and a ‘45’) while Emmett O’Conghaile, Shane Carthy (two) and Kevin McManamon also got in on the scoring act while Meath wing-back Bryan Menton raided successfully on two occasions for the home side.