Chastening outing for experimental Galway as Burke leads Dublin rout

Shefflin unperturbed as Tribesmen suffer a 19-pt trimming in early-season tie

Henry Shefflin at Parnell Park: ‘Dublin’s style of play, their link-up, their shooting – they’re a lot further on than us. The one thing I will say is that we stayed at it.’ Photograph:  Tom Maher/Inpho

Henry Shefflin at Parnell Park: ‘Dublin’s style of play, their link-up, their shooting – they’re a lot further on than us. The one thing I will say is that we stayed at it.’ Photograph: Tom Maher/Inpho

 

Dublin 3-29 Galway 0-19

“You’re late,” said the car-park man, nodding at the distinct lack of spaces available outside Parnell Park.

Late? Sure, it’s barely past one o’clock. The game isn’t ’til two. It’s the middle of January. Late should be a good hour away.

“Early bird catches the worm,” he shrugged. “The fella from the Indo is laughing at you.”

Henry Shefflin has achieved many things in his long and storied career but filling the Parnell Park car-park on the third Sunday of January an hour before a Walsh Cup game has to be right up there.

There’s star power and then there’s this, the kind of fairydust that fills the stands for a glorified training session. Throw in a bit of late winter sun and Donnycarney was an entirely pleasant place to be.

More pleasant for Dublin than for Shefflin’s Galway team, granted. Mattie Kenny’s side torched the visitors from first whistle to last, handing down a 19-point timbering and giving game time to 25 of his panel while doing so.

The Dubs got sizzling displays from the likes of Donal Burke, Eoghan O’Donnell, Chris Crummy and Rian McBride, all darting runs and clever link-up play throughout the pitch. Galway were experimental and looked every inch of it.

“It was a very difficult day for us,” Shefflin said afterwards.

“Dublin’s style of play, their link-up, their shooting – they’re a lot further on than us. The one thing I will say is that we stayed at it. We were a little bit more competitive in the second half. We talk about pre-season competitions, about sticking at it and never giving up. We did that so we’d be happy with that. But from a hurling point of view and where we’re at, we’re well back.”

Not that there’s anything to panic about here for Galway. Nobody imagines Dublin are going to be 19 points better than them when it matters so this can be written off as bad day and they can move on.

This was one of those games that got out of hand. But of their starting 15 in Parnell Park, there were maybe six championship starters and possibly only four or five. If Shefflin gets three or four bolters from the supporting cast, he will have plenty to be getting on with.

Indeed if any team should be taking a good long look at themselves coming out of this one, it’s probably Dublin. Kenny’s side are a disgrace to January hurling. They were accurate, fluid, physical and clever throughout.

They could have had a couple of more goals too – Éanna Murphy pulled off a brilliant save from Colin Currie in the first half and Fergal Whitely whipped a goal of the season contender off the crossbar. You can’t be at that kind of crack this early in the year. It’s unseemly.

Stitching points

The Dubs were 0-8 to 0-2 up after 15 minutes, and 1-16 to 0-8 ahead at the break. Donal Burke was money from both sides, stitching points at will from frees and from play.

Shefflin decided he’d had enough after half an hour and sent Pádraic Mannion on to try to quell him but Burke took no notice and kept driving on, eventually finishing the day with 18 points.

Cathal Mannion came off the Galway bench to grab three points and get into a few rows with Chris Crummey but it felt like niggle for niggle’s sake. One face-off took place no more than two feet from Shefflin on the sidelines but the Galway manager didn’t bat an eyelash, standing impassively like a curate watching a disco brawl.

Mannion got a yellow card, Crummy popped up soon after with the second Dublin goal after two Galway defenders took each other out. It was that kind of afternoon.

“This was as much a training session as it was a match,” Kenny said afterwards when we asked how come his side never took their foot off the pedal.

“If you ease off after 30 or 40 minutes, it’s going to be a very short training session. It’s about getting that game time in your legs. When you get out there, you’ve got to stay working. It’s not for today you’re doing that work. It’s for further down the track. You’ve got to keep testing yourself and pushing. If you ease down, there’s no good in it for you.”

At the end, hordes of kids flooded the pitch, dozens making a beeline for Shefflin hunting for an autograph. But it’s different now that he’s not a player and so he pointed at the dressing room, letting them know he’d be out after he talked to his team. So they ran off looking for Donal Burke instead.

The wheel keeps turning. Shefflin is long enough at it now to know all the good and all the bad that entails.

DUBLIN: Seán Brennan; Andrew Dunphy, Paddy Smyth, John Bellew; Daire Gray, James Madden, Eoghan O’Donnell; Conor Burke (0-1), Rian McBride (1-1); Chris Crummey (1-2), Fergal Whitely (0-1), Cian O’Sullivan (0-3); Aidan Mellett, Donal Burke (0-18, 0-9 frees, 0-1 65), Colin Currie. Subs: Cian O’Callaghan (0-1) for Madden, 34 mins; Donal Smyth for Bellew (blood), 34-ht; Smyth for Gray, ht; Ronan Hayes for Mellett, 45 mins; Alex Considine for Whitely, 47 mins; Davy Keogh for Crummey, 53 mins; Paul Crummey (1-0) for Currie, 55 mins; Jake Malone (0-1) for McBride, 57 mins; John Hetherton (0-1) for O’Sullivan, 57 mins; Seán Moran for Dunphy, 63 mins; Luke Walsh for Bellew, 68 mins

GALWAY: Éanna Murphy; Stephen Barrett, Darren Morrissey, Jack Grealish; Sean Bleahane, Gearoid McInerney, TJ Brennan; Conor Walsh, Sean Loftus (0-1); Ronan Glennon (0-1), Niall Burke (0-2), Cianan Fahy (0-1); Evan Niland (0-5, 0-2 frees), Kevin Cooney, Donal O’Shea (0-3, 0-3 frees). Subs: Padraic Mannion (0-1) for Bleahane, 30 mins; Cathal Mannion (0-3) for Walsh, ht; Tom Monaghan (0-1) for O’Shea, 45 mins; Jack Hastings for Fahy, 52 mins; Conor Caulfield (0-1) for Glennon, 56 mins; Tiarnan Kileen for Brennan, 59 mins.

Referee: Seán Cleere (Kilkenny

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