Lee Gannon produced a man-of-the-match display to guide Dublin to a first-ever underage championship win over Galway and in the process gain some compensation for having lost the All-Ireland U-20 football final to the same county last December.
The Whitehall Colmcille man struck four points from play to guide Dublin to victory in the 2020 Leinster U-20 hurling final in Tullamore and set up an All-Ireland showdown with Cork in a couple of weeks.
“It was an unbelievable win. We knew what was at stake. Leinster finals don’t come around too often. We are like a band of brothers. We don’t care what went before and from now on Dublin hurling will start pushing on from this.”
Dublin have lost the four All-Ireland finals they have contested at U-21 level but Gannon said they are not going to be burdened by history.
“There is a first time for everything. That’s the plan. We will enjoy this one, reassess, and start planning for Cork.”
Inevitably, a large part of the contest was a shootout between first cousins Liam Murphy of Dublin and Galway’s Donal O’Shea, son of Tipperary coach Eamon, but Gannon’s four points from play were matched by four from Dara Purcell in a more potent Dublin attack.
The sides were level three times in the opening half but Dublin went in leading by 1-11 to 1-9 at the break.
Galway did a lot of the early running and led by 0-3 to 0-1 after nine minutes but then Purcell pointed for Dublin before midfielder Mark Sweeney soloed through and drilled the ball low into the net for an excellent goal.
Mark Kennedy, who scored 0-4 from play in the opening quarter, responded for Galway and he also replied when Micheal Murphy pointed for Dublin and Liam Murphy hit two frees to leave it 1-4 to 0-6 at the first water break.
Another free from Murphy and one from the left wing by Gannon pushed Dublin 1-6 to 0-6 in front but then a cross from the right from O’Shea was collected by John Cooney and he batted to the net after executing a sidestep reminiscent of his father Joe, the former All-Star, to tie the sides after 20 minutes.
Another Murphy free and one from the left by Purcell pushed Dublin back in front before O’Shea landed a 65 and then a free before he edged them back in front with one from play.
But Dublin hit back. Darach McBride levelled and they went in leading by two at the interval thanks to a fourth free from Murphy and one from 80 metres from his goalkeeper Eddie Gibbons.
Galway started the second half with three quick points before Dara McBride equalised, and then Dublin’s Micheal Murphy and Ian McGlynn exchanged points.
Galway led by 1-15 to 1-13 at the second water break after two more pointed frees from O’Shea but the superb Gannon landed two in a row and then after another O’Shea free, Purcell struck for two more.
Kennedy’s sixth point for Galway narrowed the gap to one but two more frees from Murphy kept Dublin in control and he maintained their two-point advantage after Fionn McDonagh responded for Galway.
Galway almost snatched victory in the final play but a low shot from the left by sub Sean McDonagh flew the wrong side of the right post and Dublin held on for their first Leinster title in this grade since 2016.
E Gibbons (0-1, 1f); T Kinnane, A Dunphy, A Murphy; E O’Donnell, K Burke, I Ó hEither; M Sweeney (1-0), D Power; D McBride (0-2), M Murphy (0-2), L Gannon (0-4); D Purcell (0-4), K Desmond, L Murphy (0-7, 0-7f).
M Conroy for Kinnane (33), D Leavy for Ó hEeither (45), L McDwyer for O’Donnell (50), C Foley for Desmond (52), B Ryan for Power (60+4).
D Fahy; E Lawless, TJ Brennan, J O’Donoghue; D Kilcommins, C Flaherty, D Shaughnessy (0-1); A Brett, I McGlynn (0-1); C Walsh, M Kennedy (0-6), S Neary; J Cooney (1-0), J Fleming (0-1), D O’Shea (0-8, 0-6f, 0-1 65).
F McDonagh (0-1) for Brett (40), S McDonagh for Cooney (48), O Salmon for O’Donoghue (58).
D Hughes (Kilkenny).