By Conor Martin
Dean Rock became Dublin’s all-time top scorer on Saturday night as Dublin overcame a plucky already relegated Meath, 1-20 to 0-19.
The reigning All-Ireland champions took charge from the word go and soon had a 1-4 to 0-1 lead. The goal came through a misplaced kick-out from goalkeeper Mark Brennan, as Paddy Small found Rock who finished into an empty net. The goal saw Rock overtake Jimmy Keaveney’s long-standing record and the Ballymun Kickhams man would score 1-8.
There was also another Dublin record broken last night as Stephen Cluxton, became Dublin’s longest-serving Senior Footballer and the goalkeeper marked the achivement by keeping a clean sheet.
Rock’s feat means his Dublin tally now stands at 17-442 (493), one point more than Keaveney’s 30-402 (492). Rock has achieved the momentous record in just 95 games compared to 104 for St Vincent’s legend Keaveney.
Meath did battle back into the game Shane Walsh scored 0-3, with Thomas O’Reilly kicking four frees to bring it back to 1-10 to 0-10 at the break.
The Royals could have been level if it were not for a close-range save from Stephen Cluxton from a fierce Cathal Hickey strike.
Brian Fenton who was having another fine game in sky blue pointed within seconds of the restart to put Dublin on the path to victory, Meath were not giving up and managed to make the difference between the two sides a single point through scores from Cillian O’Sullivan, O’Reilly and Walsh.
Meath had a brief spell of momentum and Walsh then had an opportunity to put his side ahead as he found himself one-on-one against Cluxton, but the forwards shot hit the side netting.
Dublin were then lucky not to find themselves with 14 men, as John Small avoided a second yellow card for a late challenge on Bryan Menton.
A couple of frees from Rock helped the Dubs into a 1-13 to 0-14 lead the water-break and then the Meath comeback faded completely Farrell turned to the talent on the bench to wrap up the win with Rock and Con O’Callaghan as the men from the capital held on for the win and made sure the Dubs title push is alive going into the final round of league action.
Dublin: Stephen Cluxton; Cian Murphy, David Byrne, Michael Fitzsimons; John Small, Jonny Cooper, Robert McDaid; Brian Fenton (0-2), Emmet O Conghaile; Niall Scully, Ciaran Kilkenny (0-4), Eric Lownes; Paddy Small (0-2), Con O’Callaghan (0-4), Dean Rock (1-8, 5f)
Subs Used: Eoin Murchan for Jonny Cooper (45), Brian Howard for Emmet O’Conghaile (47), Cian O’Sullivan for John Small (55), Aaron Byrne for Paddy Small (63), Sean Bugler for Eric Lowndes (71)
Meath: Mark Brennan, Eoin Harkin (0-1), Cathal Hickey, David Toner; Gavin McCoy, Shane McEntee, Donal Keogan; Bryan Menton (0-1), Ronan Jones; Ethan Devine, Cillian O’Sullivan (0-3, 2f), Jason Scully; Thomas O’Reilly (0-6, 6f), James McEntee, Shane Walsh (0-4).
Subs Used: Jordan Morris (0-2) for Ethan Devine (30), Brian Conlon (0-1) for Gavin McCoy (39), Darragh Campion for Jason Scully (55), James Conlon (0-1) for Shane Walsh (59), Donal Lenihan for Thomas O’Reilly (67)
Referee: Brendan Cawley (Kildare)