Galway 5-19 Dublin 1-18: Dublin’s fate wasn’t sealed losing the toss but losing their heads in reacting to it.
Facing such a bellowing breeze in the first half in Tullamore on Saturday, they should have re-enforced their defence but were slow to act.
“We did it inside four or five minutes,” insisted Dublin manager Ger Cunningham. “We did it nearly straight away.” But that was far from apparent as they retained a three-man full-forward line for the majority of the first half while at the other end Cathal Mannion exploited his marker Paul Schutte’s lack of match fitness in callous fashion. His finishing was so clinical, particularly for his first two goals, but he ran with ease at the Dublin rearguard completely at sea.
For all the talk about Galway struggling to find settled positions, they didn’t have to stray too much from the spine they named. Instead, it was Dublin who had to chop and change in reaction to what was being done to them.
Liam Rushe began at centre-forward but was sent back to put out fires after 20 minutes. He started the second half at full-forward in the hope he would rule the skies as Dublin looked to use the wind to bombard the edge of the square although it never really came to pass.
Dublin didn’t help themselves either in how much they pushed up on Galway’s puck-out, which left so much space in their back-line as shown in the cruellest terms with Mannion needing just one touch to find the net from Colm Callanan’s puck-out in the 11th minute.
Ger Cunningham countered: “If you look at it he (Callanan) varied the puck-outs quite well. He didn’t go long with every single one of them. He was actually playing some ball in front of their half-forward line as well.
“Everything didn’t go long. I think one goal came from where he went long. He varied it very well. It wasn’t his tactic to go long all the time.”
Considering the elements, Dublin’s naivety and the blitz nature of Galway’s onslaught - Mannion’s three goals coming in the first 11 minutes and Joe Canning’s second-half brace completed in four minutes (they were outscored by Dublin 1-17 to 0-8 outside those periods), Galway may not get all the credit they deserve.
“These lads are very good but it is all about getting the breaks and the goals,” said Anthony Cunningham, pointing out goals were also on offer to Galway in the drawn game. “We had the skill and the talent to hold onto that cushion. There will be tougher days ahead, I’m sure, look Dublin will bounce back , they were the envy of the country in the league with the players they found – and they will be a hard side in the qualifiers.”
Dublin’s lack of a goal threat was well and truly exposed by Galway who had no problem troubling Alan Nolan. Goals from two first-half penalties would have helped greatly but David Treacy put the first one wide with his replacement Paul Ryan having his shot saved by Callanan in additional time before he converted the resultant 65.
Treacy’s seventh minute penalty, which he won himself, came just seconds after Mannion’s second goal. Ger Cunningham rued: “At that stage, you’re looking for something to settle you and we needed it. It would have certainly given us a big boost if we’d gotten it. We needed something at that stage to settle us and calm us and it would have been a big boost. Not to even get a score would have been disappointing.”
Finding themselves behind by 18 points in the 19th minute (3-10 to 0-1) after Galway’s run of 2-9 without reply, Dublin were shellshocked. They stopped the bleeding when Rushe joined the defence and strung four points without answer together but there were still indications that Dublin weren’t thinking straight. At one stage, Simon Lambert sent a free towards two inside forwards surrounded by five Galway defenders. At another, Mark Schutte surrendered a free awarded to him when he chose to shoulder Padraig Mannion.
“It was a very difficult situation and you had heads dropping,” admitted Ger Cunningham. “When it happens so quickly you suddenly find yourself three or four goals down. But in fairness to our lads in the second-half they never gave up. They kept on going to the end. It’s just a disappointing quarter-final to lose. We have four weeks to get our heads back up for the qualifier.”
After exiting last year’s championship at the hands of Tipperary last year, Anthony Cunningham insisted the future was bright for Galway. The performances of Cathal Mannion and, to a lesser extent, Jason Flynn would suggest he was right. “Our training is always competitive and our panel is stronger than it has ever been, we have good young lads coming through – Jason Flynn and Cathalhave kicked on from there.”
In front of a 14,077 crowd, Dublin found that to their cost two days’ ago but it will be difficult to consider they were innocents in their own demise.
Scorers for Galway:
C Mannion (3-3); J Flynn (0-9, 7 frees); J Canning (2-3); A Smith, C Donnellan, A Harte, P Brehony (0-1 each).
Scorers for Dublin:
P Ryan (0-7, 3 65s, 3 frees); E Dillon (1-1); D Treacy (free), D O’Connell (0-2 each); D Sutcliffe, S Lambert (free), R O’Dwyer, M Schutte, C Boland, L Rushe (0-1 each).
C Callanan; J Coen, P Mannion, J Hanbury; Daithi Burke, I Tannian, D Collins; J Cooney, A Harte; A Smith, C Donnellan, J Glynn; C Mannion, J Canning, J Flynn.
Subs for Galway:
David Burke for J Cooney (45); P Brehony for C Donnellan (46); F Moore for P Mannion (58); G Lally for J Coen (58); D Glennon for A Smith (65).
A Nolan; C O’Callaghan, M Carton, P Schutte; C Crummy, S Lambert, C Keaney; S Durkin, D O’Connell; R O’Dwyer, L Rushe, D Sutcliffe; D O’Callaghan, M Schutte, D Treacy.
Subs for Dublin:
P Ryan for D Treacy (35+5); E Dillon for D O’Callaghan (h-t); C Boland for R O’Dwyer (51); J McCaffrey for M Carton (53); C Dooley for P Ryan (69).
B Gavin (Offaly)
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