A good season followed by a bad season. A good game followed by a bad one.
“I don’t know why it happens,” Daly shrugged, referencing in particular their Round 1 drubbing in Tipperary, before adding the crucial rider, “but they’re usually good to respond.”
It’s a curious pattern that appears to be continuing under Ger Cunningham, Daly’s successor.
In last year’s league, Dublin began life under Cunningham with wins over Tipperary and Kilkenny before leaking 34 points to Cork at Croke Park in Round 3.
And so it is again in 2016, with Dublin bouncing back from that 14-point opening night drubbing in Tipperary with a surprisingly comfortable victory over a Galway side that themselves beat Cork handsomely in Round 1.
Daly’s gut feeling that Dublin would deliver a response to the Tipp setback, particularly at Parnell Park where they perform so well, was well founded.
In the end, the mere seven-point margin flattered Galway who trailed by 10 with 20 minutes to go and hit a few consolation scores.
It was impressive from Dublin with David Treacy, their free-taker, scoring 10 points and capitalising on the industry and excellence of fellow attackers like Niall McMorrow, Eamonn Dillon, and David O’Callaghan.
Dublin led from the opening minutes until full-time, building on a three-point half-time lead to seal victory with 1-5 to Galway’s 0-1 in a decisive 16-minute period early in the second-half.
Daly also suggested Dublin’s panel depth is questionable but Cunningham dug deep into it on Saturday and found some gems.
Eoghan O’Donnell and the returning Oisin Gough were solid in the full-back line either side of Cian O’Callaghan. Kerry man Darragh O’Connell and Daire Plunkett formed a new look but effective midfield while Sean McGrath proved with a strong display and 46th minute goal that he can add to their attacking options.
A strong response then to the difficulties in Thurles, though Cunningham shrugged when asked what prompted the turnaround.
“Hard to know, we looked at the video during the week and the lads were disappointed more with themselves than anything else,” said Cunningham. “We didn’t show up but we were also beaten by a very good Tipperary team.
“You have seven days to turn it around and it’s about mindset and attitude really and I thought our attitude was much better. We pride ourselves too, in the last number of years, that Dublin have done very well in Parnell Park and we wanted to keep that record going. We love playing there but we need to have that same attitude when we go to Croke Park. But I think it was about mindset, our mindset was much better and our attitude was better and I think that showed in the performance.”
Cunningham’s Croke Park reference was a nod towards their next outing, next Saturday week, against Cork at GAA headquarters. They did beat Wexford there to win the Walsh Cup recently but Dublin have often struggled to replicate their Parnell Park form at the nearby venue, the Cork result last year a case in point.
“We’ve got to look at that, we need to bring the same feeling that we have for Parnell Park to Croke Park,” said Cunningham. “It should be no different so that’s what we’re hoping to do. I’m not sure what it is about Parnell. I suppose over the years, an inner confidence has built up over the fact that they have done well there but, as I said, we need to bring the same thing to Croke Park now and that’s the challenge. We’ve got to look at the bigger picture, if you’re going to win trophies, it’s Croke Park where you’re going to win them.”
This was, remarkably, the seventh meeting of Dublin and Galway in just over 12 months and to underline Parnell Park’s importance to Dublin, all three of their wins over Galway in that period came at the venue.
They looked highly motivated from the off this time, driving at Galway and limiting the visitors to just three points from play in the first half.
Joe Canning scored five first-half points for Galway but four were from frees and he was generally subdued. He was taken off at the break having apparently been ill beforehand. Fergal Moore replaced Daithi Burke, who continues to miss out with a wrist injury, but Moore limped off himself early on. Greg Lally came off with a knock too.
All in all, a difficult night for Galway who trailed by just 0-10 to 0-7 at half-time but couldn’t take advantage of the wind at their back in the second half.
Instead, Dublin strode 10 points clear in the third quarter with McGrath’s goal — a precise, drilled shot from left to right after a Mark Schutte lay-off — the clear turning point.
D Treacy (0-10, 9 frees, 1 65), N McMorrow (0-4), S McGrath (1-0), D O’Callaghan, D O’Connell, C Cronin (0-1).
J Canning (0-5, 4 frees), C Mannion (0-3, 2 frees, 1 65), N Burke, P Brehony, A Harte, David Burke (1 free), A Smith (0-1).
C Dooley; E O’Donnell, C O’Callaghan, O Gough; C Crummey, L Rushe, J McCaffrey; D O’Connell, D Plunkett; S McGrath, N McMorrow, D Treacy; E Dillon, D O’Callaghan, M Schutte.
C Cronin for McGrath (46), S Treacy for O’Callaghan (72), J Madden for McCaffrey (74).
J Skehill; F Moore, J Hanbury, P Hoban; P Mannion, G Lally, A Harte; David Burke, A Tuohy; P Brehony, C Mannion, N Burke; C Whelan, J Canning, D Glennon.
C Flynn for Moore (26), J Cooney for Canning (h/t), A Smith for Lally (h/t), D Collins for Tuohy (43), P Claffey for Hanbury (55).
F Horgan (Tipperary).