Dublin survived a late Meath rally to claim the Leinster Senior Football Championship title at Croke Park while Donegal proved far too strong for Down in the Ulster decider.
Dublin manager Pat Gilroy was relieved after his side held on for a three-point win over Meath.
Gilroy said Dublin’s two goals came at a crucial stage, just before half-time, while he admitted that he was forced to make a number of changes in the second half due to his players tiring, which he felt disrupted their rhythm and allowed Meath back into the game.
“There were big scores to get at that stage,” Gilroy said of the two goals his side plundered in first half added time. “If you are going to get goals, that’s a good time to get them.
“I thought we pushed on fairly well at the start of the second half. We probably made a lot of changes close together and it probably disrupted our rhythm a little bit.
“But lads were out on their feet and the physio was coming back saying that the guys needed to be changed. We made them close together and that disrupted the team and we nearly suffered for it.”
Meanwhile in Clones, Donegal retained the Ulster title for the first time in their history with an emphatic 11-point victory over Down who were missing the services of star AFL duo, Marty Clarke and Caolan Mooney.
It was a highly impressive performance from Jim McGuinness’s side, especially in the second half when they outscored Down by 1-13 to 0-6. The game had been very tight in the first half, with Down leading at stages, and only a late rally from Donegal at the end of the opening period sent them in ahead, leading by a point at 1-5 to 0-7.
They edged three clear ahead early in the second half, and then a goal from defender Frank McGlynn with 20 minutes to go sent them six clear, and cruising unopposed towards the retention of the Anglo Celt Cup.
They then rammed home their dominance in the final quarter, exposing gaps in the Down defence and slotting over points with ease to record a big victory.
Elsewhere in the qualifier, Kerry ended Tyrone’s season with a big win in Killarney, Laois downed Leitrim, Tipperary beat Antrim and Kildare accounted for Limerick.