The new management team led by Micheal Donoghue have hardly had a chance to get their feet inside the dressingroom, but after the ousting of Anthony Cunningham, the desire for everyone to get back hurling is understandable. No surprise then that there were 1,000 plus spectators to witness the dawning of a new era.
In the circumstances they were treated to a decent clash in difficult conditions, with Galway forced to play over half the game with 14 men after All-Star midfielder David Burke picked up a second booking, with five others also booked in that opening half.
Donoghue admitted: “The reality is we are probably a month behind a lot of other teams in terms of their physical preparation. I am delighted with the players’ attitude and their application and we will just drive it on from here. We gave a few lads a debut and we had five lads that didn’t play any championship last year. We brought in a few extra players and over the course of next week we have two more games so we will try and get a look at everyone."
Galway had five of the men who started the All-Ireland final and the attendance was treated to some superb touches from Joe Canning, which yielded the decisive goal after being set up by David Collins and David Burke, and two sublime sideline cuts from in front of the stand on the right wing. Burke’s dismissal left Galway, who led by 1-6 to 0-4 at the break, facing an examination into the wind in the second-half but the introduction of his younger brother was decisive, with Eanna Burke shooting four points from play.
Another sub, Aidan Harte, hit two as Galway led by double scores going into the final quarter but DCU, with Sean Gray superb with placed balls, came storming back and Dublin’s Danny Sutcliffe shot some impressive scores, while it took a good save from James Skehill to deny Killian Fitzgerald late on.
J Canning 1-5 (0-2 sidelines, 0-1f); E Burke 0-4; A Harte 0-2; P Brehony, D Burke, A Smith, J Flynn, G McInerney 0-1 each.
S Gray 0-9 (0-8f); D Sutcliffe 0-3; N O’Connor 0-2; D Staunton, P Foley, K Fitzgerald 0-1 each.
J Skehill; J Coen, R Burke, C Flynn; S Morrissey, G Lally, D Collins; P Brehony, D Burke; A Smith, J Flynn, G McInerney; R Cummins, J Canning, S Moloney.
A Harte for Flynn (41 mins), B Molloy for Cummins (47), E Burke for Moloney (47), N Burke for McInerney (58), A Tuohy for Lally (69).
C Ryan; M Heaney, E O’Donnell, P O’Dea; K Fitzgerald, P Foley, T French; K O’Flynn, D Staunton; D Sutcliffe, C Joyce, M Daly; S Gray, C Scally, D Barden.
C McEvoy for Daly (42 mins), N O’Connor for Barden (53), L Richardson for French (61).
J McGrath (Westmeath).