Posted by Shane Stapleton
Tuesday 9 July 2013
The Dubs lead 32-19 with eight draws from the previous 59 meetings and Jim Gavin's men are seeking an eighth Leinster title in nine seasons (2005-06-07-08-09-11-12), with only Meath interrupting that with their last success in 2010.
No matter who is on the field or when the teams meet in the future, the four-game saga of 1991 is always going to be revisited. It remains the benchmark for this bitter rivalry, much like Cork-Kerry in Munster.
Ciaran Whelan was a leading figure in six championship clashes with the Royals over an inter-county career that started in 1996 and ended in 2009. His earliest memories of the rivalry are from that classic Leinster series back in the early nineties.
“From the sidelines it has to be 1991. I was doing my inter cert and kind of duck and diving at the time. That four-game saga was just something special. Warm summer days in Croke Park — each day outdoing the next in terms of excitement.
"Dublin led in most games. Meath pegged them back and even though we came out on the wrong side of it, it was still a great memory.
“From a playing perspective, we were up playing a Meath team that had won two All-Irelands. They’d had a period of dominance over Dublin at that time from 1996 to 2002 when we just couldn’t beat them.
"We played them in the first round in 2002 and to get over them and beat them that year was a huge psychological boost. Meath have yet to turn the tables back in their direction since that day and it started a long period of dominance for Dublin.”
The one time that the Royals did threaten the dominance of the Dubs was in 2010, not that too many expected it. Meath, after all, hadn’t beaten their near rivals since Croke Park had last been rebuilt.
Conal Keaney, now of the hurling clan, stood over and planted the first free of the game to put the Dubs in front, but a goal rush from Meath gave the Royals a classic win. Not to mention a Leinster final clash with Louth… and we all know how that turned out.
The 2012 Leinster final might have seen Dublin beat Meath by just one score – 2-13 to 1-13 — but it feels as if the sides have been on divergent paths ever since.
As if the plates shifted in the footballing landscape, with Dublin being thrust onto higher ground as the Royals have sunk to the lowlands.
When a rivalry is this hotly-contested, sometimes form can go out the window. After all, the then All-Ireland champions Dublin were expected to run riot last year too.
Referee Maurice Deegan caused some controversy in that clash when he reversed a decision made by his umpire after his assistant saw on the big screen in Croke Park that Eoghan O’Gara’s pointed effort was good.
One of the key advantages in 2013 is that the Hawk-Eye technology will allow referee Eddie Kinsella to check any debatable score without complaint.
He will have a bigger job to monitor everything else that happens outside of that when these enemies get close on Sunday.
Last five Championship clashes
2012: Dublin 2-13 Meath 1-13 (Leinster final)
2010: Meath 5-9 Dublin 0-13 (Leinster semi-final)
2009: Dublin 0-14 Meath 0-12 (Leinster quarter-final)
2007: Dublin 0-16 Meath 0-12 (Leinster quarter-final) Replay
2007: Dublin 1-11 Meath 0-14 (Leinster quarter-final)
Last five Leinster final clashes
2012: Dublin 2-13 Meath 1-13
2001: Meath 2-11 Dublin 0-14
1999: Meath 1-14 Dublin 0-12
1996: Meath 0-10 Dublin 0-8
1995: Dublin 1-18 Meath 1-8
Previous Leinster title wins
Dublin 51 (1891-92-94-96-97-98-99-1901-02-04-06-07-08-20-21-22-23-24-32-33-34-41-42-55-58-59-62-63-65-74-75-76-77-78-79-83-84-85-89-92-93-94-95-2002-2005-2006-2007-2008-2009-2011-2012)
Meath 21 (1895-1939-40-47-49-51-52-54-64-66-67-70-86-87-88-90-91-96-99-2001-2010)
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