With 12 minutes of normal time remaining, Galway looked odds-on to break the 30-point mark when David Collins fired over from distance to put the home side 17 points ahead, 0-27 to 0-10.
Supported in no small part by fresh faces like Padraig Brehony and Cathal Mannion, they were by a considerable distance the sharper team with the better work-rate. Dublin, though, played their part in making it easier for them. Reduced to 14 men from the 42nd minute when Conal Keaney picked up a second yellow card, they had not only looked jaded but lead-footed for almost the entirety of the game.
Galway registered just one point after Collins’ effort in the form of debutant Jason Flynn’s third point as Dublin tagged on 1-2 of measly consolation.
Galway’s job had effectively been done five minutes into the second half when they hit the 20-point mark, leaving Dublin 13 points in their wake.
They led by 10 at half-time, 0-16 to 0-6, and all six of their forwards had scored by the 10th minute. By the 38th minute, the entire unit had pointed from play when Conor Cooney landed an effort.
Their only goal chance came in the 48th minute when referee Johnny Ryan called back the play for a Galway free as Flynn found the net.
Conor Cooney’s resultant free crashed against the crossbar but Niall Healy was on hand to split the posts from the rebound.
Dublin’s came by way of substitute Sean McGrath’s first contribution in the 59th minute. His cameo was one of their few highlights, the others being defiant displays by the O’Callaghans, David and Cian.
But that level of effort was all too absent in the rest of the visiting team who were outfought for the vast majority of the aerial tussles and breaking ball.
Such was the dominance of the Galway half-back line and midfield in the first half that Anthony Cunningham’s side were able to rattle off seven unanswered points in a nine-minute period.
We might have guessed it at the time but Paul Ryan’s poor 30-metre free attempt in the 31st minute was symptomatic of Dublin’s day.
One minute later and he was replaced by Alan McCrabbe who went onto convert four of five placed balls. McCrabbe, back in the panel after missing last season, finished off the half with a brace of frees, the first of which ended a 22-minute barren spell, but the die appeared cast as Galway restored their advantage to 12 three minutes into the second half. “We’d a lot of new players playing today so it was great to see,” said Cunningham. “Jason Flynn, Padraig Brehony, Cathal Mannion, they’re very young and it was their debut today. It was nice to see Iarla Tannian play at six there and Ronan Burke at three. They have been positions Galway have struggled in for the last few years. We’ll be trying different parts of the game as we go along in matches in the league. We would have concentrated on this match a lot over the winter and there’s a lot of hurt there and a lot of new guys there. It’s positive and we can build from it. We’re longer around than that to get carried away but it’s great for confidence.”
Anthony Daly had few complaints about Keaney’s yellow cards and admitted the game was up for them at that stage. “Once we were down to 14 men it was futile enough at that stage. What were we behind? Twelve, 13, 14 points, and 14 men? You’re not going to be turning it around from there.”
The Clare native said he would be keeping schtum on what he said to his players in the dressing room. But surely there would have been some harsh words for the likes of Liam Rushe, Peter Kelly and Danny Sutcliffe, three All Stars last year who were considerably off the pace.
A day to forget for the Leinster champions but hardly one to get too upset over and most definitely one too early in the season to remember for their predecessors.
GALWAY: C Callanan; F Moore, R Burke, J Coen; D Collins, I Tannian, A Harte; David Burke, P Brehony; C Cooney, J Glynn, J Flynn; C Mannion, N Healy, D Glennon.
DUBLIN: G Maguire; C O’Callaghan, P Kelly, S Timlin; S Hiney, L Rushe, M Carton; R O’Dwyer, J McCaffrey; C Keaney, D Treacy, D Sutcliffe; D O’Callaghan, P Ryan, M Schutte.
Scorers for Galway: C Cooney (5 frees), N Healy (1 free) (0-6 each); C Mannion, J Flynn (0-4 each); J Glynn (0-3); P Brehony (0-2); D Glennon, A Harte, D Collins (0-1 each).
Scorers for Dublin: A McCrabbe (0-4, frees); S McGrath (1-1, 0-1 free); D O’Callaghan (0-3); P Ryan (0-2, frees); M Schutte, R O’Dwyer (0-1 each).
Subs for Galway: R Cummins for D Glennon (50); Daithi Burke for C Mannion, P Landers for I Tannian (both 59); K Hynes for Daithi Burke (64); D Dolan for J Glynn (66).
Subs for Dublin: A McCrabbe for P Ryan, C Cronin for J McCaffrey (both 32); E Dillon for D Treacy (h-t); C McCormack for S Hiney (50); S McGrath for R O’Dwyer (58).
Referee: J Ryan (Tipperary).