Dublin and Galway must meet again following drama-free draw
Capital’s footballers continue their inevitable march with 27-point hammering of Longford
Johnny Coen of Galway tussles with Dublin’s Mark Schutte during yesterday’s Leinster SHC quarter-final clash at Croke Park. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho
Time was, these were the Sundays that marked the start of the summer. June Bank Holiday, the Dubs in Croke Park, an ghrian go hard sa spéir. Feels like a long time ago now.
So thoroughly inevitable is the march of the Dublin footballers that a double header including them and a bona-fide championship six-pointer for the county’s hurlers can only draw a paltry crowd of 33,544 to headquarters these days.
Not that those who stayed away missed out on particularly knee-knocking fare. While the football was just as short on mystery as we expected it to be, even the hurling between Dublin and Galway played out as a curiously drama-free draw.
A race between two horses clearly in need of the run finished in a dead heat at 0-20 to 1-17, with the rematch to be played in Tullamore next Saturday at 4.45.
Goal chancesAidan Harte
For their part, Dublin overcame the loss of Paul Schutte before the game and Peter Kelly during it – to be still standing after losing two-thirds of arguably your strongest line is no small achievement.
They may yet regret the fact that David Treacy blotted an otherwise spotless copybook at exactly the wrong time by missing a late free but at least they get a chance to rectify it next week.
“In fairness to him, he had some phenomenal scores,” said Ger Cunningham of Treacy’s miss. “He got one from play that was a fantastic score. He’ll bounce back again, these things happen. We had other chances in the game we didn’t take. Both teams had similar stats in the game, same kind of wides and that kind of stuff. It was a tight game.
“I thought we reacted very well to the goal. We got two or three scores straight after the goal so I think we reacted very well to it. There were a couple of hairy moments around the goal in the first half but I thought we reacted very well.”
Since very nearly winning the 2012 All-Ireland, they’ve played eight championship matches and only beaten Laois. When they were good here, they were better than when Dublin were good. Still wasn’t enough though.
“Always in a draw, if you get the last point, you’re delighted to get it,” said Anthony Cunningham. “We found ourselves two points down from being in a strong position. We would have been disappointed. We left some scores there on the pitch, some wides and some ones we should have got.
“But all in all, I think it was a fair result so we’re delighted to be getting a second crack. And this time of the year, that’s a bonus. Because a match like that really is worth a month’s training.”
The football game that followed was a dreary affair.
Jim Gavin’s Dublin ran up a 4-25 to 0-10 win over Longford that did neither side any good. Gavin wouldn’t be drawn afterwards on any of the big-picture questions like what the worth of games like this are.
“We are starting our campaign and we simply had a job to do today and that was to win,” he said. “And we did that and now we move on.”
His erstwhile Dublin teammate Jack Sheedy was more expansive.
“Who is going to get within 15 points of Dublin?” he asked. “Possibly Meath are the only team that are equipped to do that within Leinster. So you have a two-tier Championship and two teams, then 10 others, nine others. There’s no benefit to that.
“You have a similar situation in Munster. I think we have a fantastic game, a fantastic product – as people like to call it – but we’re getting away from... we’re losing people going to the games because it’s not attractive, it’s not interesting. There’s nothing big there to come and watch.”