All-Ireland U-21 HC semi-final
Galway 2-14 Dublin 1-10, Tullamore
Galway qualified for their first Bord Gais Energy All-Ireland Under-21 Hurling final since 2007, thanks to a strong second half display in Tullamore tonight.
Galway captain David Burke led by example with four superbly struck frees from long distances in the second half. The St. Thomas' player earned the man-of-the-match award for his efforts.
Although Galway won with seven points to spare, this game was on a knife edge in the opening half, with the sides tied on five occasions.
Galway's James Regan and Dublin midfielder Conor Clinton contributed the opening scores inside the first minute, while it took less than four minutes for the first goal of the hour to arrive.
Dublin wing forward David Quinn was first to find the net, pouncing on a rebound from Galway goalkeeper Kris Finnegan after he had initially blocked Liam Rushe's speculative shot.
Dublin led by 1-1 to 0-1 at this stage, but it was not long until the Tribesmen equalised. Centre forward Niall Quinn rifled home a sixth minute penalty for Galway, after Ronan Walsh had brought down corner forward Richie Cummins.
Niall McMorrow edged Dublin a point clear, but Galway hit three unanswered points, including two from Eoin Forde, to go 1-4 to 1-2 clear by the 23rd minute.
Dublin needed scores badly and they eventually ended an 18-minute barren spell when half-back Peter Kelly pointed from long range.
It was not a case of Dublin not having scoring opportunities, but some bad misses in front of the posts from the likes of free-taker McMorrow cost them dearly.
Kelly added his second inside a minute, and Clinton nudged the Metropolitans 1-5 to 1-4 ahead two minutes before the break. However, goalscorer Quinn claimed two quick-fire points to ensure a 1-6 to 1-5 interval advantage for Galway.
Galway hit another gear as played resumed in the second half. David Burke landed some magnificent points from distance, despite the best efforts of Finn McGarry in goal.
Burke was on target with Galway's first three scores of the second half, building a 1-9 to 1-7 lead by the 40th minute.
Less than 30 seconds later, Galway were on the attack again as half-time substitute Bernard Burke cracked home their second goal for Galway, beating his man for pace before slotting past McGarry.
Points from David Burke and Gerard Kelly saw Galway break 2-12 to 1-7 clear at the start of the final quarter, but as heavy rain turned to glorious sunshine, the Dubs began to up their game.
The introduction of Darren Whelan into the Dublin side was certainly an inspired move by manager Richie Staklelum. The Crumlin player made an impressive impact by converting three frees in the closing quarter.
Whelan's third point left the scoreline at 2-13 to 1-10. With six minutes left on the clock, Dublin were still six points in arrears.
Dublin had a decent chance to half that deficit when goalkeeper and captain Finn McGarry stepped up to take a 58th minute penalty. Galway stood firm on the line and blocked his shot.
Luck was not with the Leinster champions and Galway deservedly held on, helped on their way by some crisp stick work, dogged defending and precise scoring. Tipperary await them in next month's decider.
Scorers for Galway: N Quinn 1-2 (1-0 pen), D Burke 0-4 (0-4f), B Burke 1-0, E Forde 0-3 (0-2f), G Kelly 0-2, J Regan, J Coen, R Cummins 0-1 each
Dublin: D Quinn 1-0, D Whelan 0-3 (0-3f), N McMorrow (0-2f), C Clinton, P Kelly (0-1f, 0-1 '65') 0-2 each, B O'Rorke 0-1.
GALWAY: K Finnegan; D Connolly, P Gordan, G O'Halloran; N Donoghue, D Burke, S Og Linnane; J Coen, B Daly; J Regan, N Quinn, E Forde; R Cummings, G Burke, G Kelly.
Subs used: B Burke for Cummins (half-time), J Grealish for Daly (48 mins), N Burke for G Burke (54), J Cooney for Forde (60).
DUBLIN: F McGarry; R Walsh, D Kelly, O Gough; R O'Loughlin, M Quilty, P Kelly; C Clinton, P Buckeridge; D Quinn, D Plunkett, B O'Rorke; C Brennan, L Rushe, N McMorrow.
Subs used: K Warren for Brennan (half-time), A McEnerney for Quinn (42 mins), D Whelan for McMorrow (44), M Schutte for Clinton (48), K O'Loughlin for O'Rorke (54).
Referee: Jason O'Mahony (Limerick)