Padraic Joyce’s Galway side suffered a disappointing defeat in a blustery Pearse Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
Despite a much improved performance from the Tribesmen compared to their previous outing against Mayo, it was still a disappointing end to the game and will have done little to improve the mood in the camp.
Following such a promising start to their league campaign, which was hoped would end in silverware, Galway finished third in the table behind Dublin and Kerry following last Sunday's loss to the reigning five-in-a-row champions in Pearse Stadium. Dessie Farrell’s team is still the benchmark and Galway have a lot of work to do in the next few weeks if they are to reach that standard.
Galway were without Damien Comer, Michael Daly and Ronan Steede in the starting line-up due to injury, Bernard Power replaced Connor Gleeson in goal, and there was a new full-back line as Sean Kelly and Sean Mulkerrin were restored to the team and Mountbellew-Moylough’s James Foley was given his debut at corner back. Gary O’Donnell and Tom Flynn startedm, as well as young Paul Kelly from Moycullen ,who made his debut for the senior team at wing forward.
Conroy the cornerstone
Galway began the game with a near gale force breeze at their backs, which was utilised fully by one player in particular, Galway’s stand-out player of the day, centre forward Paul Conroy.
Conroy opened the scoring with a massive free, guiding its direction and allowing the wind to catch hold of it. Dean Rock responded for the Dubs to open their account. The two marquee forwards then traded points from play, Conroy’s a spectacular effort from the right wing.
From this point on, despite trailing on occasion, Dublin controlled the game against the breeze and never really looked to be in trouble. Conroy carried the charge for Galway, raising white flag after white flag as he struck numerous points from placed balls and open play from distance. At the other end Paddy Small ran the Galway full back line ragged as he kicked two sweet scores off his left foot.
However, Galway missed a massive opportunity for a goal before half time after securing a brilliant turnover when Adrian Varley was left unmarked on the ‘21, but the pass inside to him was just not accurate enough. Galway were also dealt another blow just before half time as Ian Burke was forced off with an ankle injury following a collision with James McCarthy.
Entered the dressing rooms at half time, Galway led by two points, and Padraic Joyce made two substitutes, springing Shane Walsh and Gary Sice from the bench - Sice making his return to inter county football. This did add some extra impetus to the Galway attack in the opening stages of the first half, but it soon faded.
Walsh went on a mazy solo run to get Galway’s first score of the half in response to Dean Rock’s free. Gary O’Donnell and the deadly accurate Conroy also tagged on points, but then the Dublin onslaught came.
A tally of 1-4 without response turned the game on its head as substitute Sean Buglar ran amuck. Galway rallied as best they could, but with the country’s best midfielder Brian Fenton dictating the game around the middle, Dublin never really looked threatened.
Con O’Callaghan scored a late goal to put some gloss on the scoreline as Galway now prepare for Sligo in two weeks' time