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Biting allegation casts a shadow over Dublin glory

By Paul Keane

Dublin 3-20 Meath 1-10: In the end, it was hard not to be almost relieved for the quite sensational post-match allegations of biting made by Meath manager Mick O'Dowd.

Up until O'Dowd's press room outburst, it had been another run of the mill afternoon for All-Ireland champions Dublin at Croke Park.

They came, they saw and they duly conquered, remarkably cantering to their fourth 16th point defeat of a team in the Leinster championship in just six games and, more significantly, their 53rd Leinster title.

Even manager Jim Gavin struggled to get too worked up about the win, claiming they've much to improve on.

But drama was belatedly injected to the occasion afterwards when O'Dowd alleged to journalists that defender Mickey Burke, who came on as a sub, was bitten by a Dublin player.

O'Dowd had only minutes earlier completed his post-match briefing when he returned to the room, declaring that he wanted to report an incident.

Burke, who was yellow carded in the 65th minute with colleague Paddy O'Rourke and Dublin forward Eoghan O'Gara following a minor melee, declined to comment but did leave the ground with a bandage on the middle finger of his left hand.

"I've just come back to the dressing-room after speaking to you and I saw the doctor dealing with his finger," said O'Dowd.

"He's gone to the Dublin dressing-room to talk to the Dublin doctor because there's a protocol to deal with in terms of a bite, in terms of blood transferring from one person to another."

Asked if he was disappointed about the situation, O'Dowd replied, 'extremely disappointed' before departing.

It's the third allegation of biting against a Dublin player in two seasons. Dublin chief Gavin claimed no knowledge of the incident or the allegation during his press briefing and no statement was released last night.

It remains to be seen if GAA authorities pursue a Dublin player ahead of their August 9 All-Ireland quarter-final tie.

By the 19th minute of the match Dublin opened up a six-point lead.

It was an unlikely capitulation from the Royal County. Heading into their third straight Leinster final against Dublin, and having dismantled Kildare, the suspicion was that they may give Dublin a run for their money.

Dublin led by 1-12 to 0-6 and had a star man in Kevin McManamon who finished the half with three points in a row.

By full-time, McManamon had hit 1-5, all from play.

There was little in the way of negatives for Dublin. Diarmuid Connolly had a couple of bad misses and they should have scored a couple more goals, Rock hitting the post when it appeared easier to score but, overall, they enter the All-Ireland quarter-finals in bullish mood.

Dublin: S Cluxton (0-1, 145); M Fitzsimons, R O'Carroll, P McMahon; J McCarthy, N Devereux, J McCaffrey (0-1); MD Macauley, C O'Sullivan (0-1); D Connolly (0-1), P Flynn (0-1), K McManamon (1-5); P Mannion, A Brogan (0-1), B Brogan (1-6, 4f). Subs.: C Costello (0-1) for Mannion h/t, D Rock (0-1) for Connolly 42, E O'Gara (1-1) for A Brogan 49, D Bastick for Macauley 59, D Daly for Devereux 59, T Brady for O'Sullivan 69.

Meath: P O'Rourke; D Keogan, K Reilly, E Harrington; P Harnan, D Tobin, B Menton; S O'Rourke (0-2, 2f), A Tormey (0-2); B McMahon, M Newman (1-2, 1f), D Carroll; G Reilly, S Bray (0-2), D McDonagh (0-1). Subs.: J Wallace for G Reilly 31, M Burke for Carroll h/t, D Bray (0-1) for McDonagh 46, B Meade for S O'Rourke 46, J McEntee for McMahon 53, blood, M O'Sullivan for Menton 53, P Gilsenan for Tobin 71.

Referee: P Hughes (Armagh).

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