18 May, 15:44
It's down to the wire now for the five contenders who have been shortlisted for the ultimate individual accolade in northern hemisphere rugby, ERC European Player of the Year 2013.
All the momentum in the second quarter had been with the visitors and Sanderson's side started the second half with equal conviction and, when Lions No 8 Victor Costello was sent to the sin-bin seven minutes after the re-start for killing the ball at a ruck, it looked as though it was all over for the Irishmen.
But Hodgson pulled his 35 metre penalty shot wide of the posts and five minutes later O'Meara gave the home team new heart with a wide angled penalty that cut the gap to four points.
The Lions got even more encouragement moments later when Welsh referee Nigel Whitehouse sent Dean Schofield to the sin-bin for pulling down a Leinster line-out. O'Meara should have cut the gap to one point with another penalty, but he was just wide.
It didn't matter, though, because the little scrum half was quick to make amends with a drop goal from point blank range to set up a thrilling finish.
O'Mear's third penalty strike, eight minutes from time, restored the lead for the Lions after 45 minutes of playing catch up.
Leinster Lions 22 Sale Sharks 23 HT: 13-20 Attendance: 20,000
Leinster Lions: Try - R Corrigan; Con - B O'Meara; Pens - B O'Meara (3); DGs - G D'Arcy, B O'Meara
Sale Sharks: Tries - J White, C Jones; Cons - C Hodgson (2); Pens - C Hodgson (2); DG - C Hodgson
Leinster Lions: G Dempsey; J McWeeney, B O'Driscoll, S Horgan, G D'Arcy; C Warner or M Leek, B O'Meara; R Corrigan (capt), S Byrne, P Coyle, M O'Kelly, B Gissing, E Miller or A McCullen, V Costello, K Gleeson.
Replacements: J Moran, G Hickie, A McCullen or Des Dillon, S Jennings, B O'Riordan, M Leek or B Burke, D Quinlan.
Sale Sharks: J Robinson; M Cueto, C Mayor, G Bond, S Hanley; C Hodgson, B Redpath; A Sheridan, A Titterrell, S Turner, C Jones, D Schofield, J White, S Pinkerton, A Sanderson (capt)
Replacements M Cairns, K Yates, B Stewart, I Fullarton, M Lund, V Going, R Wigglesworth
Heineken man of the match: Bryan Redpath (Sale Sharks)
Match points: Leinster Lions 1 pt; Sale Sharks 4 pts