Byline: Philip Lanigan
O'BYRNE SHIELD FINAL PARNELL PARK
MEATH AET 2-14
WITH three minutes of normal time left, the prospect of extra-time looked about as likely as former taoiseach Bertie Ahern getting a cheer from the Parnell Park faithful while exiting the gates.
Dublin were six points up and cruising for much of a mundane second half, but Meath's comeback was a throwback to former times.
Joe Sheridan first lashed a penalty to the roof of the net after a foul no Shane O'Rourke. then Cian Ward and Conor Gillespie ratcheted up the excitement another level before Paddy Gilsenan fisted the unlikeliest of equalisers to make it 1-13 apiece and push this Shield final into extra-time.
When Bryan Cullen punched home a goal just seconds after the restart, it looked like Dublin would kick on and finish the job. But not without a ding-dong battle in those two added periods of play, Sheridan finding the net to square things all over again before Dublin pulled clear to finally settle the issue.
Diarmuid Connolly's cutting edge and Kevin McManamon's all-action display from centre-forward at least took the scoring burden off footballer of the year Bernard Brogan, who linked the play well. tomas Quinn, too, showed a clinical edge to tuck away his goal midway through the first half.
Meath started with a flourish when Brian Farrell and Joe Sheridan picked off points in the first 60 seconds. Despite trailing by five at the break, they could have been in for a couple of goals.
It took a half-block from Stephen Cluxton and the intervention of Darren Daly to deprive Paddy Gilsenan of a green flag and, late in the half, Sheridan's snap shot on the turn beat the despairing dive of Cluxton only to rebound out off the inside of the post.
The same player drifted the resulting 45 wide to further jeers from Dublin fans behind the goal.
To rub it in, Kevin McManamon immediately went and …