Dublin’s need was greatest against Galway

HEAD-TO-HEAD: Dublin's Liam Rushe has a close encounter with Galway's Greg Lally. Picture: Morgan Treacy

Dublin 0-26 Galway 2-14
Anthony Cunningham probably summed this one up best when he suggested Dublin’s need was simply greater than his Galway side’s.

It certainly appeared that way at Parnell Park as Dublin put on the sort of second-half spurt normally associated with a warm summer’s day in the Championship to burn off Galway and secure their top flight status.

Whether Cunningham will be happy to accept that explanation behind closed doors is another question entirely. A few weeks ago, he gave a similarly magnanimous response when his side laboured to victory over Carlow in the Walsh Cup. Just minutes later, he could be heard laying down some home truths in the dressing-room. It’s hard to imagine he didn’t have a strong word with his players again yesterday after watching them get brushed aside at the business end of this game.

Forget the fact that Galway were already through to the league quarter-finals and that Dublin were the ones scrapping for their lives.

These teams meet again in the Championship in just over two months so neither wanted to show any weakness. Unfortunately for Galway, they offered up little defence in the second-half as first blood was painfully extracted by Dublin. In that entire half, Galway scored just once from open play, through Joe Canning in the 38th minute. Canning was the only Galway player to score in the second-half as Dublin drew on their home comforts to squeeze the life out of the opposition on a tight, claustrophobic pitch. Dublin could have afforded to lose and still avoided facing Kilkenny in the relegation play-off next weekend. But they didn’t know that and impressively outscored Galway 0-13 to 0-5 in the second-half when the pressure was apparently on.

“We were looking at a quarter-final all the time, we never mentioned anything about relegation,” insisted Dubs manager Ger Cunningham. “We started the campaign well and gave ourselves a good chance by winning our first two matches. The ways it’s turned out, it’s taken us three more matches to get to that quarter-final. Yes, it’s great we’ve secured our Division 1A status for next year — unless they change the format again. But, again, we’re in a competition we want to do well in, we’re in the quarter-finals and looking forward to next week.”

Dublin will play Limerick next as they chase a title success to match their 2011 win. Equally significant is that they’ve avoided back to back relegation play-offs, particularly in Cunningham’s first season in charge.

As for Galway, they’ll face Waterford next weekend and will know they need to be much better. They turned in a strong first-half and led by two points but surprisingly slipped out of the game after that. Manager Anthony Cunningham rejected the suggestion yesterday’s defeat is significant ahead of the teams’ May 31 Championship rematch.

“Ah, it’s not really,” said Cunningham. “Championship is really on the day but Dublin are a fine side and we definitely won’t be taking that lightly. They’ll take some watching and some beating but, you know, so will we. I think in the last 20 minutes the difference today was that their need was greater, they were that bit fresher and wanted it. They were fighting for their lives. They probably thought they would have had to face Kilkenny.”

The strong finish was significant from Dublin. They had their pockets picked by Galway late on in last month’s Walsh Cup final. They were outscored 2-5 to 0-2 by Kilkenny late in their league clash while Clare came from five down to win just eight days earlier.

This time, Dublin were the hunters having slipped to a 2-9 to 0-13 half-time deficit.

Galway were good value for that lead in an entertaining, open game. Cathal Mannion’s fourth minute goal, when he followed up on his initial shot that was blocked by Alan Nolan, gave them early breathing room.

Joe Canning, who finished with 1-7, added a second Galway goal in the 28th minute when he spun his man with a clever dummy and blasted to the roof of the net from 12 yards. Canning could have doubled his overall tally on the day. He shot three early wides and six in total, one of which was a second-half goal chance from an acute angle while he also had a late goal attempt from a free blocked.

Galway needed a third goal as Dublin picked off points almost at will throughout the second-half. Dublin signalled their intent with six points to Galway’s one in the 10 minutes after the restart.

Free-taker David Treacy shot 10 in total while Mark Schutte came roaring into the game in the second-half, adding three points to two earlier efforts.

Scorers for Dublin: D Treacy (0-10, eight frees, one 65), M Schutte (0-5), D Sutcliffe (0-4), D O’Callaghan (0-2), P Schutte, R O’Dwyer, L Rushe, J McCaffrey and P Ryan (one free) (0-1 each).

Scorers for Galway: J Canning (1-7, six frees), C Mannion (1-2), A Smith (0-2), N Burke, B Molloy and A Harte (0-1 each).

Subs for Dublin: J McCaffrey for Lambert (28), N McMorrow for O’Carroll (h/t), R O’Dwyer for Dillon (h/t), P Ryan for O’Callaghan (62).

Subs for Galway: J Flynn for Burke (30), I Tannian for Harte (44), J Hanbury for Moore (46), D Higgins for Molloy (48), C Flynn for J Flynn (67).

Referee: J Ryan (Tipperary).

Dublin: A Nolan; C O’Callaghan, P Kelly, P Schutte; C Keaney, C Crummey, S Durkin; S Lambert, R O’Carroll; D Sutcliffe, E Dillon, M Schutte; D O’Callaghan, L Rushe, D Treacy. Galway: A Ryan; J Coen, P Killeen, F Moore; D Collins, G Lally, G McInerney; A Smith, A Harte; J Cooney, J Canning, J Glynn; B Molloy, N Burke, C Mannion.


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