DUBLIN 2-16 GALWAY 1-15
What a difference a fortnight makes. This team was barely recognisable from the debacle in Tralee on the opening weekend of the Allianz League, but in the end today (Sunday ), Galway just lost out to a Dublin team who were that much more clinical up front in a close battle in Tuam.
Now Padraic Joyce must take his team away to face Monaghan in the battle against relegation, but the location of that game irked Joyce who said that it was a joke that the GAA are rewarding a team who broke the Covid curfew rules by giving them home advantage for such a crucial game.
“I’m just after being told it is an away game for us because they had no home games and we had two home games so they are being rewarded for breaking a curfew and I find that unbelievable to be honest.
“It’s a joke if you ask me and I don’t know how Croke Park came up with that solution to play in Monaghan. We will play wherever it is on but I think it disrespects the whole system and the whole Allianz League if you are going rewarding a county to get a home vital game when you broke the rules.
“I’ve been told it is in Monaghan and if that’s the case I think it is unbelievable. It’s hard to believe that Croke Park would come to that decision,” he said.
Joyce had just seen his team put it up to the Dubs, leading early on and then level at halftime and with just a kick of a ball between them in the closing stages.
“We are disappointed we didn't win the game. We were in a position to win it at half-time, we had played really well in the first half. Tactically the lads were very good, we just seemed to lose our way after half-time for six or seven minutes, we lost four or five kickouts in a row. Dublin scored 1-2 or 1-3 to go five or six points up. So we were chasing the game in the whole second half, but we got back, they got a killer goal near the end to kill it up.
“Overall we are delighted with the lads' attitude, their performance, that is the level they have got to get at. Whether Dublin were in top gear or not you can discuss that yourselves, but I thought we gave them a lot to think about. We worked really hard, it is very positive for me that the lads never died, they stayed going, they had a bit of pride in the jersey, a bit of passion which was great."
He had to play the game without the experienced Damien Comer who now faces a race against time to be fir for the Championship. Comer has had particularly bad luck with injuries come Championship time for the past few seasons, so it represents a huge blow to Galway.
“He is one of our better players so it is a huge injury blow,” said Joyce. “He is going to be out for three, four, or five weeks. He did his thumb last Sunday against Roscommon, he played on with it in the second half, but he has taken the tendon off the bone. He is in a bit of bother and is in a race against time to be fit for the Championship,” he added.
“This is his third year in a row so he needs some sort of break, at least it isn't a muscle injury. He may be able to do some conditioning work. If he comes back in time he will just need the ball handling skills to go with it. Before he had leg injuries which stopped him training,”
Joyce praised the young guns in his team who once again stood up against their vastly more experienced opponents.
“They all did, they all stood up, they gave their all. That is all I can ask for as manager of them everyday. They did really well.
With the Roscommon game on July 4, it is obvious that Joyce’s squad is taking shape.
“It is getting that way because we have what we have. We needed a bit more physicality in the second half in the middle of the pitch, also a bit of speed. We did struggle at midfield there for a little bit in the second half.”
For Galway fans shocked by the poor performance in Tralee, it was a game that represented another step forward. Right from the off they took the game to Dublin, but every move was posted with a shout of patience. And it paid off with the industrious Cooke soaring through and curling over a score inside two minutes. Fenton’s shot slapped off Galway’s crossbar before Galway engineered their next score which Conroy slotted after after gliding into space on the left.
It was the tenth minute before Fenton got Dublin’s first score and although Galway had a goal chance for Tierney and Kelly that went a begging, the Dubs equalised when Colm Basquel’s shot flew over.
Finnerty restored Galway’s lead with a beautiful score before the all-running Kilkenny lashed over.
Michael Shiel in the Dublin goal had to move smartly to push a Walsh snapshot past the post, with some debate that it might have been going wide anyway.
Walsh stepped up to put Galway ahead again before the sos uisce, but whatever was in the Dublin water worked wonders, because they were fast out of the traps and fired two quick points through Costello and Basquel.
Walsh brought the sides level again before Kilkenny and O’Callaghan gave the Dubs a two point lead with the break approaching. Walsh pulled one back, and when he was sent clear down the right, he had enough in the tank to make space and score.
Costello gave the Dubs the lead with a tight shot from the right but Galway found time to equalise when Walsh tapped over a free after Cooke was fouled by Peadar Ó Cofaigh-Byrne for which he received a yellow card.
However just after the break with Dublin a point ahead, O’Callaghan bundled home a goal after Power’s clearance was blocked and it looked then like the Dubs would pull away. They followed up with another score, with Costello and O’Callaghan in sharp form leaving then five ahead at the second water break. Cooke replied with afine individual score before Fenton replied, palming over a score.
It seemed like the visitors were going to win comfortably but a long ball from Paul Conroy played in over the defence, found Tierney rising in front of goal and he palmed the ball over the onrushing Shiel and suddenly Galway were back in the game. Costello and Walsh exchanged scores before Kilkenny palmed over. Cooke got another fine point to leave two between the sides, but in a swift move, Dublin killed the game with a stunning goal from Aaron Byrne, who burst through and hammered into the far corner past Power.
Galway had a few late chances to drop the ball into the Dublin goalmouth, but apart from a late Walsh free, they didn’t trouble the victors. However, this was still a performance that will gladden the hearts of Galway fans after the poor start to the League campaign. Big challenges lie ahead for this team in the next six weeks, but Joyce has the Galway engine purring again.
Scorers for Dublin: Cormac Costello 0-6 (1f ), Con O'Callaghan 1-3, Aaron Byrne 1-0, Ciarán Kilkenny 0-3, Brian Fenton and Colm Basquel 0-2 each.
Scorers for Galway: Shane Walsh 0-10 (5fs, 3 45s ), Matthew Tierney 1-0, Peter Cooke 0-2, Dylan McHugh, Rob Finnerty, and Paul Conroy 0-1 each.
DUBLIN: Michael Shiel; David Byrne, Jonny Cooper, Michael Fitzsimons; Eric Lowndes, Seán McMahon, Eoin Murchan; Brian Fenton, Peadar Ó Cofaigh-Byrne; Niall Scully, Ciarán Kilkenny, Brian Howard; Colm Basquel, Con O'Callaghan, Cormac Costello.
Subs: Robbie McDaid for McMahon (50 ), Seán Bugler for Ó Cofaigh-Byrne (50 ), Dara Mullin for Scully (64 ), Aaron Byrne for C Basquel (66 ), Tom Lahiff for Cooper (69 ).
GALWAY: Bernard Power; Jack Glynn, Seán Kelly, Seán Ó Maolchiaráin; Dylan McHugh, Kieran Molloy, Liam Silke; Paul Conroy, Matthew Tierney; Johnny Heaney, Peter Cooke, Finnian Ó Laoi; Rob Finnerty, Shane Walsh, Paul Kelly.
Subs: Eamonn Brannigan for P Kelly (46 ), Ciarán Potter for Glynn (48 ), Mattias Bairéid for Ó Laoi (54 ), Tomo Culhane for Finnerty (59 ), Johnny Duane for Molloy (63 ), Tom Flynn for Cooke (63 ).
REFEREE: Brendan Cawley (Kildare ).