Dublin unsure how they walked into Galway ambush

Manager Ger Cunningham and Michael Carton turn minds to the last-chance saloon

The best laid plans: Galway's blitzkrieg on Dublin in the opening minutes of Saturday's replayed Leinster quarter-final rendered all of

Ger Cunningham’s tactics redundant.

Speaking at the launch of official Dublin GAA car partner Toyota’s Summer Showtime promotion in Kilmainham, Cunningham was asked what he might have done differently in retrospect.

“Sure hindsight is a great thing,” he said. “You look back on different things, you’d say, ‘Yeah, we had a planned move’, which we did, after five minutes but we didn’t expect to be eight or nine points down at that stage.

“I think if we’d got the penalty, if Dave [Treacy] had got that, it might have settled us a bit. It would have been a lift for everybody and brought us back to five points but, again, it’s ifs and buts.”

Given that Galway had looked dangerous in the drawn match in Croke Park, was there a case to be made for setting up more conservatively, especially against the wind?

“Possibly, yeah. Maybe from the start, really from the throw-in, we should have been looking at it. But, at the same time, I think you need to see how the game pans out as well.

Lessons were learned

“If we had got a goal in the first minute you’d look on things differently from that point of view. From our point of view, we’ve played the same system all through the league and all through the matches. Maybe lessons were learned and if it’s something that happens again we might look at it.”

He was critical of the decision to go ahead with the Leinster under-21 match against Kilkenny in the week between the draw and replay, particularly as Kilkenny had agreed to postpone it, but he denied that the narrow defeat in that match had impacted on the panel.

Michael Carton, who played at full back in place of Peter Kelly, was at the heart of the storm. He was as short of explanations as his manager.

Clawing it back

“You’re going into the game thinking you are prepared. And to not to show up and give early goals away, we were clawing it back from the start. The first 10 minutes we were blown away with the three goals. You can’t give three goals away to a team like Galway and expect to win championship matches.

“You don’t see it coming but you try not to let the heads drop, have some pride in the jersey and fight back. But there wasn’t too much fight in us.”

He accepted that massive fluctuations in form had become something of a calling card for the team in recent years.

“Yeah and it’s something we have to get out of our game. We have to stay in games and give yourself a fighting chance in the last few minutes. I don’t know but it has happened with us over the last few years, but we have four weeks to get our heads right.”