Joe Sheridan claims possession for Meath despite pressure from a couple of Dublin players including Denis Bastick during Sunday's Leinster SFC decider at Croke Park.
Dublin 2-13, Meath 1-13
It was a case of 'what might have been' for Meath at Croke Park on Sunday as their dreams of an unlikely Leinster SFC title ended in final disappointment at the hands of a Dublin side that was fortunate to hold out.
On several occasions the game looked like getting away from Meath as the Dublin juggernaut rolled on, but the spirit of Meath football has never been questioned and it was that determination that kept them in touch.
When Jamie Queeney rifled to the net in the 68th minute it closed the gap to three points and lifted Meath hearts. Belief soared through the team as Dublin panicked.
The defending provincial and All-Ireland champions were all at sea in those closing minutes as Meath piled forward, but ultimately it was Dublin's experience that got them over the line.
Meath can be proud of their efforts, but they were left to rue 45 seconds of madness at the end of the opening half.
That complete collapse in concentration as half-time approached handed Dublin two goals and turned what should have been a two-point interval cushion into a totally undeserved 2-7 to 0-5 lead.
A sloppy handpass from Conor Gillespie inside his own 45-metre line led to Dublin's first goal as they showed clinical attacking prowess to pounce on a mistake with Eoghan O'Gara setting up Bernard Brogan who finished underneath the advancing David Gallagher.
The concession of that goal was bad enough, but 45 seconds later an unchallenged long ball from Paul Flynn released the untracked Denis Bastick and he made no mistake to deflate Meath and push them eight points clear.
If that scenario had been repeated in another game earlier this year Meath might have capitulated, but credit their spirit, determination and willingness to battle that got them back into contention.
Meath never managed to scale the heights reached in the semi-final win over Kildare, but playing Dublin was a different proposition. The pace and utility of the Dublin forwards made life much more difficult, while at midfield Meath seemed content to concede possession and defend from their own 45-metre line.
Dublin lorded proceedings around the middle and Michael Dara MacAuley was a handful throughout.
Bernard Brogan finished with 1-7 to his credit, but yet wasn't sparkling and Meath's prospects of containing Dublin were boosted when Alan Brogan was forced off through injury after 28 minutes.
However, Dublin's options were plentiful and when Meath lost Kevin Reilly to an injury after 24 minutes it forced a reshuffle and that unsettled the defensive unit.
Once again Donal Keogan (pictured) was outstanding for Meath, while Kevin Reilly's replacement Eoghan Harrington also did well. Gillespie did a lot of good work from deep, but most of Meath's attacking options came on the counter attack.
Alan Forde couldn't get into the game and was withdrawn early in favour of Cian Ward coming in. However, the Wolfe Tones man didn't fare much better while Damien Carroll was unlucky to be withdrawn at half-time.
Carroll's replacement, Peadar Byrne, was Meath outstanding performer in the second-half, but as well as those silly mistakes that resulted in the concession of goals, Meath were also left to rue some awful shooting.
On three occasions Graham Reilly inexplicably kicked woefully wide, Joe Sheridan opted to drop kick for a goal from way out and Brian Farrell kicked a couple of efforts off target.
There are a lot of ifs, buts and maybes, but one thing is certain - Meath can be proud of the way they refused to wilt in the warm summer sun and put it up to the All-Ireland champions before ultimately falling short.
A close battle didn't look likely in the early stages as Dublin had Meath beaten in most sectors.
Graham Reilly did well to give Meath the lead after two minutes, but they didn't score again for almost 15 minutes as Dublin turned on the style.
Bernard Brogan levelled from a free and subsequently Dublin kicked on with points from Bernard Brogan (three, two frees), Alan Brogan and Kevin McManamon for a 0-6 to 0-1 lead.
Meath were in danger of being swept away, but Farrell found his range from a 35-metre free and then a brilliant move that involved Gillespie, Sheridan, Farrell and Graham Reilly ended with Stephen Bray closing the gap to 0-3 to 0-6.
Meath were let off the hook when Bernard Brogan appeared to be fouled after he gathered possession following hesitancy from David Gallagher, but the referee awarded a free out for over-carrying.
Three minutes later Farrell was fouled by Michael Fitzsimons after a great catch and converted the resultant free to reduce the deficit to two points.
However, two points was as close as Meath could get all afternoon as Alan Brogan's last contribution yielded a point before Farrell made it 0-5 to 0-7 from a free.
After Graham Reilly had squandered a great chance Dublin caught Meath with two sucker punches to take that undeserved 2-7 to 0-5 interval lead.
Farrell responded within 15 seconds of the restart with an excellent score, but Dublin looked to be playing well within themselves.
Bernard Brogan replied immediately and Farrell was denied a goal by a brilliant save from Stephen Cluxton before Sheridan converted the '45' to make it 0-7 to 2-8.
MacAuley was denied a goal down the other end by the post before Graham Reilly shot wide from another decent chance.
Dublin managed to kick further clear before the end of the third quarter as Brogan (free), O'Gara and James McCarthy made it 2-11 to 0-7.
There was a touch of comedy about O'Gara's point as his effort was waved wide, but linesman Maurice Deegan reviewed the score on the big screen and called the referee's attention to the fact that the score should stand.
Farrell's third converted free made it 0-8 to 2-11 and when Donncha Tobin added a fine score, Meath had hope again.
O'Gara put nine between the teams again before Meath launched their remarkable recovery with 10 minutes remaining.
Two frees from Farrell either side of a Graham Reilly effort made it 0-12 to 2-12.
Queeney applied the excellent finish to the net after a fine move that involved Graham Reilly, Byrne and Mark Collins to raise Meath hopes. Bernard Brogan instantly replied with a point, but when Graham Reilly hit another point it set up the grandstand finish.
In the last frantic action Farrell struck a vicious 20-metre free which Cluxton fielded well to signal the final whistle and condemn Meath to a journey through the back door.
Dublin - B Brogan 1-7, four frees; D Bastick 1-0; A Brogan 0-2; E O'Gara 0-2; J McCarthy 0-1; K McManamon 0-1.
Meath - B Farrell 0-7, six frees; G Reilly 0-3; J Queeney 1-0; S Bray 0-1; D Tobin 0-1; J Sheridan 0-1, '45'.
Dublin - S Cluxton; M Fitzsimons, R O'Carroll, P McMahon; J McCarthy, K Nolan, C O'Sullivan; E Fennell, D Bastick; P Flynn, A Brogan, B Cullen; B Brogan, MD MacAuley, K McManamon. Subs - E O'Gara for A Brogan 28 mins, P Andrews for McManamon 48m, B Cahill for Fennell 56m, C Dias for Flynn 59m, P Brogan for Cullen 65m.
Meath - David Gallagher; Donal Keogan, Kevin Reilly, Mickey Burke; Donncha Tobin, Shane McAnarney, Bryan Menton; Conor Gillespie, Brian Meade; Alan Forde, Damien Carroll, Graham Reilly; Brian Farrell, Joe Sheridan, Stephen Bray. Subs - Eoghan Harrington for K Reilly 24 mins, Cian Ward for Forde 27m, Peadar Byrne for Carroll half-time, Jamie Queeney for Meade 47m, Mark Collins for Bray 57m.
Marty Duffy (Sligo).