Penalty shootout win for Dublin over Meath books spot in O’Byrne Cup final

Dublin 1-12
Meath 1-12

Dublin win 3-1 after penalty shootout

Fintan O’Toole reports from Parnell Park

THE FIRST GLIMPSE of a Dublin senior football side in action in 2019 tonight and the home fans in Parnell Park saw them secure victory by novel means.

The passage to the final of the pre-season decider in Leinster was assured after success in a penalty shootout enabled them to surmount the challenge of Meath in this O’Byrne Cup semi-final.

Barry Dardis misses the last penalty kick for Meath.

Dublin won out 3-1 after the penalty shootout, necessitated by the teams finishing deadlocked at 1-12 apiece after normal time. A new rule in the structure of the competition this year saw extra-time bypassed with the spot kicks settling the contest.

Dublin’s conversion was flawless with Aaron Byrne, Oisin Lynch and Conor McHugh all netting. Sean Tobin was Meath’s solitary goalscorer with Michael Newman and Barry Dardis blasting their efforts over, while Thomas O’Reilly’s effort was thwarted by netminder Andy Bunyan.

Dublin’s Andy Bunyan makes a save from Meath’s Sean Tobin.

Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

Normal time concluded in a blaze of excitement. Conor McHugh cut through for Dublin and coped with ferocious Meath defensive pressure to punch over a point that placed them on the cusp of victory in the 74th minute. Yet Meath countered and capitalised on the time being added on with Newman tapping over a free that was awarded close to goal from the next attack.

There was a marked contrast to the starting sides with Dublin’s All-Ireland winners given their usual January break and a team managed by Paul Clarke was despatched into action, filled with fringe players and youngsters eager to impress. Ballyboden St-Enda’s All-Ireland club winner Ryan Basquel advertised his worth by picking off 0-4 from play and Fingallians forward Oisin Lynch notched a brace in the first half.

Meath could draw on greater experience with eight players present who had featured for them in the 2018 championship. A touch of early season experimentation was supplied by the status of Barry Dardis, more renowned as an attacker, in goal for the second week running.

Both teams raised green flags in the opening period. Graham Reilly enjoyed an unusual first-half, brought in the 7th minute as a blood substitute, withdrawn in the 22nd minute and the provider of 1-1 to the Meath scoring cause during his cameo.

The goal was a precise finish to the net eight minutes in after a counter-attack.

Meath defenders in action against Dublin forward Stephen Smith.

Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

That score gave Meath a cushion on the scoreboard for a large chunk of the first half but Dublin found the net themselves before the interval to restore parity.

Robert McDaid surged through the rearguard to palm home after a pass across from Seán Bugler and leave it 1-7 apiece at the interval. It atoned in sorts for the decision to deny McDaid a penalty earlier in the half when he looked to have been clearly fouled after being released by the alertness of quick free from Aaron Byrne.

Robert McDaid celebrates finding the net for Dublin.

Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

The second half was a tight affair with Dublin edging in front on a couple of occasions as Basquel injected them with some scoring inspiration and Bunyan denying Newman from finding a goal at the other end. 

The sin bin came into play on a few occasions during the game with Meath’s James Lavin and the Dublin duo of Ciaran Reddin and Conor Mullally all penalised for fouls. The new handpass rule only cropped up in the finale with Meath punished on two occasions.

Yet it was another groundbreaking initiative that proved critical in the end as Dublin held their nerve in a shootout to propel themselves into a final meeting with Westmeath. 

Scorers for Dublin: Ryan Basquel 0-4, Robert McDaid 1-0, Oisin Lynch, Stephen Smith (0-2f) 0-2 each, Seán McMahon, Aaron Byrne, Seán Bugler, Conor McHugh 0-1 each.

Scorers for Meath: Michael Newman 0-5 (0-4f), Graham Reilly 1-2, Darragh Campion 0-3, Ben Brennan, James Conlon 0-1 each.


1. Andy Bunyan (Scoil Uí Chonaill)

2. Nathan Doran (Clontarf)
3. Seán McMahon (Raheny)
4. Ciarán Smith (Lucan Sarsfields)

5. Cian O’Connor (Kilmacud Crokes)
6. Conor Mullally (Cuala)
7. Robert McDaid (Ballyboden St-Enda’s)

8. Darren Gavin (Lucan Sarsfields)
9. Cormac Howley (Round Towers Lusk)

10. Ryan Basquel (Ballyboden St-Enda’s)
11. Aaron Byrne (Na Fianna)
12. Seán Bugler (St Oliver Plunkett’s-Eoghan Ruadh)

13. Stephen Smith (Skerries Harps)
14. Callum Pearson (Kilmacud Crokes)
15. Oisín Lynch (Fingallians)


21. Conor McHugh (Na Fianna) for Smith (46)
23. Ciaran Reddin (St Maur’s) for Howley (46)
17. Shane Boland (Castleknock) for Boland (54)
20. Andrew McGowan (Kilmacud Crokes) for Doran (54)
24. Gerry Seaver (Ballyboughal) for Basquel (64)
22. Jack Hazley (St Sylvester’s) for Bugler (72)


1. Barry Dardis (Summerhill)

2. Seamus Lavin (St Peter’s Dunboyne)
3. Conor McGill (Ratoath)
4. Ronan Ryan (Summerhill)

5. James McEntee (Curraha)
6. Donal Keogan (Rathkenny)
7. Niall Kane (Simonstown Gaels)

8. Bryan Menton (Donaghmore-Ashbourne – captain)
9. Adam Flanagan (Clonard)

10. Niall Hickey (Seneschalstown)
13. Ben Brennan (St Colmcille’s)
12. Daniel Quinn (Ballinabrackey)

11. Darragh Campion (Skryne)
14. Michael Newman (Kilmainham)
15. Thomas O’Reilly (Wolfe Tones)


22. Graham Reilly (St Colmcille’s) for Hickey (blood) (7)
30. Hickey for Reilly (23)
16. Marcus Brennan for Dardis (half-time)
22. Reilly for Hickey (half-time)
17. Gavin McCoy (St Peter’s Dunboyne) for Quinn (half-time)
21. Sean Tobin (Simonstown Gaels) for Brennan (49)
23. James Conlon (St Colmcille’s) for Campion (64)

Referee: Fergal Kelly (Longford)

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