The Galway U20 team fell at the semi-final hurdle last Saturday evening in Longford.
Dublin’s early quickfire goals from sharp shooter Ciaran Archer were the difference in the end. Trailing by a score line of 2-1 to 0-0 after six minutes Galway struggled to recover. The forwards and midfielders certainly created the chances but between trying to force a goal early on and shooting under pressure Galway ended the half with a five point deficit along with eight wides compared to Dublin’s three.
The highlight of Galway’s first half was a superbly well taken goal by midfielder Brian Harlowe after working it forward from just inside his own half. On the day Dublin got all their match ups right and targeted Galway’s full back line early on knowing that there was not going to be a sweeper in place. Both goals came from long balls into Archer, both were taken extremely well with composure far beyond his young years.
Galway’s tactics were too easy for Dublin to snuff out. With very little success at midfield Oran Burke was clearly instructed to continue kicking it long for every kick out. Not many were caught cleanly but there were little, if any, breaks won by the Tribesmen. At centre forward Silke looked to kick pass to the inside line at every chance he got which left the centre back never needing to worry about a break through the middle.
After getting such a good start Dublin used every trick in the book to slow the game down. For every score Galway got in the first half there was nearly a minute of a break with some Dublin player on the field needing treatment. Only once for Galway’s 11 scores plus a number of their wides did the referee decide that the kickout was to be taken without the stoppage. Dublin’s wing back was lucky to receive just a yellow with 15 minutes gone with an elbow to the face of Silke and this could have turned the game right on its head.
Galway needed to get some luck as every breaking ball seemed to be falling for Dublin but the start of the second half brought out an inspired Galway team that reeled off five scores in a row to bring the game level with 20 minutes remaining. This 100-mile an hour start from Galway in the second half took its toll when they tired out and only managed one point for the rest of the game, where Dublin were able to kick on and put over another eight scores to kill the game off with time yet to run out.
Beaten by the better team on the day, but this will not be the last we see of many of these players after some wonderful performances right throughout the year. A league and Connacht title must be seen as a successful first year in management by Padraic Joyce but he will rue the missed opportunities, especially in the first half.
Galway: O Burke, R Mahon, S Mulkerrin, E McFadden, L Boyle, C Potter, J Kirrane, M Barrett, B Harlowe, M Tierney, D Silke, T Gill, P Costello, L Costello, R Cunningham.
Subs: Glynn for Kirrane, Newell for Harlowe, Campbell for Potter, Mannion for Costello, O’Brien for Glynn, O’Connell for Gill.