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Dublin stage final fightback to deny Meath

By Orla Bannon

Dublin won their eighth Leinster senior football title in nine seasons yesterday with a 2-15 to 0-14 victory over Meath in Croke Park.

Goals in each half from Paul Flynn and Paul Mannion helped the Dubs over the line, although it was not the one-sided contest that many had predicted.

Meath scored the first two points of the game and led by 0-9 to 1-4 at half-time.

Completely on top in midfield, the Royals hit an inspired spell of form just before the break as they reeled off six unanswered points.

The interval came at a good time for Dublin, affording the favourites a chance to regroup.

They outscored their opponents by 1-11 to 0-5 in the second-half, with Mannion's goal ten minutes from the end the killer score which sank Meath.

Elsewhere, two of Armagh's 2002 All-Ireland winning team-mates, Kieran McGeeney and Aidan O'Rourke, went head-to-head in the All-Ireland football qualifiers on Saturday night.

McGeeney's Kildare side scored 1-5 without reply in the last 10 minutes to send O'Rourke's Louth out of the championship in Newbridge.

Kildare, who have never lost a qualifier under McGeeney, trailed in the second-half but dug deep and Tomas O'Connor sprung from the bench to score the only goal four minutes from time.

Fellow subs Alan Smith, Hugh McGrillen and former Cavan star Seanie Johnston also got on the scoresheet to put Kildare in today's third round draw.

They will be joined by Wexford after they beat Longford 2-16 to 0-16 in an extra-time thriller.

Despite trailing by 0-8 to 0-4 at the interval and hitting 15 wides, Wexford came back after PJ Banville and Daithi Waters scored second-half goals to force extra-time and they outscored the home side by 0-7 to 0-2 in the extra 20 minutes.

In hurling, Limerick won their first Munster senior title since 1996 amidst emotional scenes in the Gaelic Grounds yesterday.

They finished strongly to beat Cork 0-24 to 0-15 with home supporters flooding onto the pitch after the final whistle.

The harsh sending-off of Cork full-forward Pat Horgan before half-time was a significant moment, but Limerick's subs scored six points as the Treatymen produced a marvellous second-half.

Kilkenny survived a mighty scare to book their place in the All-Ireland quarter-finals where they will play beaten Munster finalists Cork.

The Cats beat Waterford 1-22 to 2-16 after extra-time in Thurles on Saturday night.

A replay looked certain when Waterford sub Ray Barry scored an equalising goal with two minutes of extra-time remaining.

But a late flurry of points from Colin Fennelly, Matthew Ruth and Aidan Fogarty kept Kilkenny on course to retain their All-Ireland title.

Clare beat Wexford 3-24 to 1-20 after extra-time on Saturday night to set up an All-Ireland quarter-final clash against Galway.

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