Cathal Mannion leads the rout for Galway as Dublin implode in replay

Early hat-trick sets tone as Galway leave shell-shocked Dubs with far too much to do

The scoreboard in Tullamore shows Galway leading Dublin 3-9 to 0-1 in the first half. Photo: James Crombie/Inpho

The scoreboard in Tullamore shows Galway leading Dublin 3-9 to 0-1 in the first half. Photo: James Crombie/Inpho

 

Galway 5-19 Dublin 1-18

A Saturday night plucked from the bad old days for Dublin. Blowtorched from the start by Galway, charred and scarred before they could remember where they’d put the fire blanket. On their worst days under Anthony Daly they were sometimes just as tentative and error-ridden as this but it’s hard to remember them being so compliant in the face of an opposition’s strengths.

Ger Cunningham’s first championship game in charge was a tactical fiasco. You only had to step outside your car on Saturday night in Tullamore to realise that the wind was going to be a determining force in the game yet by the time Dublin had rearranged themselves to deal with it, they were 3-7 to 0-1 behind. The horse hadn’t so much bolted as retired to stud.

First do no harm, the medics say. Yet the way Dublin set up here was almost masochistic in its invitation to slaughter. With Peter Kelly out, their full-back line contained an under-21 playing his third game in six days in Cian O’Callaghan, a career wing-back making his first ever start at number three in Mikey Carton and a corner-back returning from an ankle ligament injury that had kept him out of the drawn game in Paul Schutte.

Add in the fact that Galway had missed five goal chances the previous Sunday and you’d have thought Dublin’s premier consideration going in would have been to give their back three some protection. All the more so once Galway won the toss and chose to play with the gale at their backs.

Yet it was a full 17 minutes before Liam Rushe went back to close off the space in front of the full-back line. By which time Cathal Mannion had a hat-trick, Galway were 15 points to the good and all but one of their forwards had scored from play.

The Dublin half-back line were playing too far in front of their back three, leaving Mannion, Joe Canning and Jason Flynn a meadow in which to scud around. Mannion’s first two goals were carbon copies of each other – found in space out in front of a clearly struggling Schutte, he looped around the Dublin corner-back and finished low into Alan Nolan’s bottom corner.

Nearly comical

Cunningham wouldn’t bite when it was put to him afterwards that the strength of the wind ought to have meant Dublin took precautions from the start, especially against someone with Callanan’s puck-out length.

“If you look at it, he varied the puck-outs quite well,” said the Dublin manager. “He didn’t go long with every single one of them. He was actually playing some ball in front of their half-forward line as well. Everything didn’t go long. I think one goal come from one particularly one where he went long. He varied it very well.

“The first two were right in the bottom corner and looked like great finishes. Sure it was the worst possible start we could have got. It gave them the licence to show all the skills that they have. They played very well on the day and were better than us on the day. We have no excuses.”

The worst of it for Dublin was that the night probably doesn’t tell us a whole lot about Galway. Mannion, Canning and Flynn had a field day but they surely won’t find as friendly a foe on any other day that matters. Iarla Tannian was excellent at centre-back but was helped no end by Rushe having to move back to sweeper then into full-forward for the second half. Galway could be anything but this game was over after 10 minutes so we don’t know.

“These lads are very good but it is all about getting the breaks and the goals,” said Anthony Cunningham. “We knew if we got one or two, we had the skill and the talent to hold onto that cushion.

“There will be tougher days ahead, I’m sure. Dublin will bounce back. They were the envy of the country in the league with the players they found – and they will be a hard side in the qualifiers. We had goal chances the last day too, and we have to take them at championship level.”

DUBLIN: 1 Alan Nolan; 2 Cian O’Callaghan, 3 Michael Carton, 4 Paul Schutte; 5 Chris Crummy, 6 Conal Keaney, 7 Simon Lambert (0-1, free); 8 Shane Durkin, 19 Darragh O’Connell (0-2); 10 Ryan O’Dwyer (0-1), 12 Danny Sutcliffe (0-1), 11 Liam Rushe (0-1); 13 David O’Callaghan, 14 David Treacy (0-2, 0-1 frees), 15 Mark Schutte (0-1). Subs: 24 Paul Ryan (0-7, 0-3 frees, 0-3 65s) for Treacy, 35 mins; 26 Eamonn Dillon (1-1) for D O’Callaghan, half-time; 23 Cian Boland (0-1) for O’Dwyer, 51; 8 Johnny McCaffrey for Carton, 53 mins; 25 Conor Dooley for Ryan, 69 mins

GALWAY: 1 Colm Callanan; 2 Johnny Coen, 3 John Hanbury, 4 Pádraig Mannion; 5 David Collins, 6 Iarla Tannian, 25 Daithí Burke; 8 Joseph Cooney, 9 Aidan Harte (0-1); 10 Andrew Smith (0-1), 11 Cyril Donnellan (0-1), 12 Jonathan Glynn; 13 Cathal Mannion (3-3), 14 Joe Canning (2-3), 15 Jason Flynn (0-9, 0-7 frees). Subs: 26 David Burke for Cooney, 44 mins; 21 Pádraig Brehony (0-1) for Donnellan, 45 mins; 17 Fergal Moore for Mannion, 56 mins; 20 Greg Lally for Coen, 58 mins; 24 Davy Glennon for Smith, 64 mins. Referee: Brian Gavin (Offaly)

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