The 14-point difference will be played down across the Shannon as the result of Cian O’Callaghan’s sending off, which deprived Dublin of their full complement for the remaining 32 minutes of the game. Dublin too may try and find some succour from that fact but the truth is Galway were always going to have their measure. It mightn’t have been as much as 14 but it was going to be a handsome victory all the same.
Watched by a Galway- dominated 14,316 attendance in O’Connor Park, there was little here to suggest the league champions have lost any of their lustre following that routing of Tipperary. Again, they had a multitude of contenders for man-of-the-match but Joe Canning is in All-Star form as is Conor Whelan, who on the basis of his last two outings, is the deadliest inside forward in the country.
When Dublin needed their few leaders to show up, they were conspicuous by their absence and it was left to the younger members to guide the way. If they aren’t careful, they could be fodder again in their forthcoming qualifier depending on the draw.
It’s a mark of the growing confidence surging through this Galway team that both of their goal-scorers followed up with the next scores, Jason Flynn slightly unfortunate not to finish to the net for the second time in four minutes when Canning found him with a pass that rivalled Seamus Callanan’s beauty for John McGrath’s goal seven days previous. Canning was orchestrating so much of Galway’s good play in the first half. Cathal Mannion’s 18th-minute point was delivered to him by the Portumna man who then combined with David Burke from a puck-out in a one-two combination, which saw the Galway captain split the posts.
Their opening goal came by way of a rebound - Flynn reacting quickly to Conor Dooley’s fine save from Joseph Cooney and beating the recovering Dublin keeper. “In the build-up to it, we probably missed two pick-ups,” reviewed Micheal Donoghue. “It would have been nice to have that cushion going in at half-time. Fair play to them. They were resilient. When the opportunity came they took the goal well.”
The goal was flattering for Dublin and saw them finish the half just three behind, 1-10 to 1-7. Coming in additional time, Eamon Dillon, who had just been hooked twice by Adrian Tuohy as he made his way towards goal, fed Ben Quinn from a long ball in from Seán Moran and his shot was too well-placed for Colm Callanan to stop.
Galway had begun better, leading 0-4 to 0-1 after 10 minutes, but that advantage was lost by the 18th minute when Dublin hit them for four consecutive points. Ger Cunningham’s side were passing rapidly and short, doing their best to keep away from the bigger Galway players. It worked but only for a period as Galway returned with four scores without reply. In his deep-lying role, Canning was finding his men. Dublin did break that trend with a David Treacy free in the 23rd minute and the margin was just two when Flynn took his goal.
Galway resumed normal service at the outset of the second-half, pushing five points ahead when O’Callaghan was punished for a trip on Conor Cooney, his second yellow card having barged into Flynn after he had scored his goal. Canning sent over the free, the fourth of five straight Galway points before Dillon and Treacy (a free) stopped that run. Although he stayed on to send over another free, Treacy hurt his back in taking that placed ball and was replaced, just as Galway’s Paul Killeen was in the first-half when he appeared to do serious damage to his knee.
A Canning free in the 52nd minute put seven points between the teams. Dillon again made a bee-line for Callanan’s goal a minute later but was called back for over-stepping. From the free the Galway goalkeeper’s strike dropped in front of the Dublin parallelogram and Conor Cooney was able to raise the ball and bat the ball past Dooley. Cooney added a point a minute later, followed by another from Canning and it was only a matter of just how humiliating the reverse was going to be for Dublin. Dooley, in fairness to him, denied Cathal Mannion in the 61st minute and Dublin’s youthful subs announced themselves with some good scores.
That was one positive for Cunningham on an afternoon which offered him little. “It’s huge when you make your championship debut, the step-up, the physicality. They will learn from it. We put a lot of effort into trying to win. We have four or five weeks to turn things around.”
J. Canning (0-9, 5 frees); C. Cooney (1-3); J. Flynn (1-2); C. Whelan (0-5); David Burke (0-3); N. Burke (0-2); C. Mannion, J. Cooney, T. Monaghan, É. Burke (0-1 each).
D. Treacy (0-5, 4 frees); B. Quinn (1-0); D. Burke (0-3, 2 frees); E. Dillon, J. Hetherton (1 free), C. Crummey (0-2 each); S. Barrett, R. McBride, F. Whitely (0-1 each).
C. Callanan 7; A. Tuohy 6, Daithí Burke 7, P. Killeen 6; P. Mannion 8, G. McInerney 7, A. Harte 8; J. Coen 6, J. Canning 8; C. Mannion 7, David Burke (c) 8, J. Cooney 7; J. Flynn 7, C. Cooney 8, C. Whelan 8.
J. Hanbury 7 for P. Killeen (inj 26); N. Burke 7 for C. Cooney (57); S. Loftus 6 for J. Coen, T. Monaghan 6 for C. Mannion (both 64); É Burke 7 for David Burke (68).
C. O’Callaghan (41, second yellow).
C. Dooley 7; C. O’Callaghan 6, E. O’Donnell 6, O. Gough 6; C. Crummey 7, L. Rushe (c) 6, S. Barrett 6; N. McMorrow 7, S. Moran 6; E. Conroy 5, B. Quinn 6, D. Treacy 7; R. O’Dwyer 5, E. Dillon 7, Donal Burke 6.
R. McBride 7 for E. Conroy (h-t); F. Whitely 6 for D. Treacy (inj, 51); J. Malone 6 for N. McMorrow (60); D. O’Callaghan 6 for Donal Burke, J. Hetherton 7 for R. O’Dwyer (both 66).
B. Kelly (Westmeath).
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