NFL: Dubs win Parnell Park battle

April 20, 2008
Twelve-man Dublin pipped 13-man Meath by 0-13 to 2-6 in a hard-fought Division Two Round Seven encounter at Parnell Park. The result means Paul Caffrey's charges will be in the top flight next season, while Meath have missed out on their chance to force a promotion play-off. This controversial match had a frantic start and proceedings were held up for three minutes following a mass melee which broke out in the fourth minute and involved everybody except Dublin 'keeper Stephen Cluxton, giving referee Paddy Russell plenty to think about early on. Four players - Paddy Andrews and Bernard Brogan of Dublin and corner backs Niall McKeigue and Shane McAnarney of Meath - were dismissed for their part in the violence and it would be 13-a-side for an hour. Or maybe not. Unbelievably, there was another sending-off almost immediately after 'play' resumed when Ciaran Whelan saw red for allegedly hitting an opponent off the ball, and the Dublin midfielder was accosted by a supporter as he left the field. The atmosphere was extremely volatile with five men off inside the opening 15 minutes. With the actual football commenced, the Dubs moved three points ahead inside 27 minutes, with Brendan McMenamin (11), Mossie Quinn (18) and Diarmuid Connolly the scorers. Joe Sheridan struck the Royals' first score of the match but they still trailed the twelve men by 0-3 to 0-1 after 29 minutes. They were soon level, with Cian Ward bagging a nice score, but Dublin had two in a row from Connolly and Quinn before Stephen Bray closed the first-half scoring. It was 0-5 to 0-4 to Dublin at half time, with seven minutes of injury time played in the first half. On the restart, Dublin roared into a 0-9 to 0-5 lead with Collie Moran and Quinn (2) amongst their scorers and Mark Ward on target for the visitors. There was still an edge to the game and always the worry that more violence might break out. Dublin also got the next two points as the sendings-off seemed to affect Meath most, even though they had an extra man. With 15 minutes left, the Leinster champions held a massive six-point cushion, 0-11 to 0-5. Sheridan scored what looked like a consolation goal for score-shy Meath after Dublin had stretched their lead but Kenny also hit the net within a minute to close the gap to one point, 0-12 to 2-5, with five minutes left. Peadar Byrne fired the equaliser when he latched onto Graham Geraghty's knock-down on 32 minutes to set up a dramatic finish. Mark Vaughan came off the bench to replace Quinn and he gave the Sky Blues victory with a last-gasp strike, 0-13 to 2-6. Thus, Dublin have squeezed into Division One at the end of a campaign belittled not just by the scenes witnessed at Parnell Park today but also by the GAA's refusal to throw the book at Cork when they refused to play their opening two matches.

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