Dublin boss Galway around as they get campaign back on track
Liam Rushe and David Treacy impose themselves in Parnell Park encounter
Dublin’s Liam Rushe holds off the challenge of Galway’s Niall Burke during the Allianz Hurling League Division 1A game at Parnell Park. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho
Dublin 1-17 Galway 0-13
Nights like this tend to put you in mind of dear old George W Bush the time he got tangled up trying to use that Fool Me Once saying. “Fool me once, shame on... shame on you. Fool me... you can’t get fooled again.” Poor Dubya got pounced upon by the so-called intelligentsia at the time but sitting in Parnell Park on Saturday... look, life is hard to work out sometimes. Never more than when you’re attempting to make sense of league hurling.
Round one. Dublin, having had a successful pre-season, sleepwalk into their opener against Tipp and lose without a whimper. Galway, having had precisely no pre-season, put 1-27 on Cork. Trends established for round two? Not even close. Galway came to Parnell Park and for the second year in a row, they left with their ears boxed for them. Dublin, so lily-livered in Thurles, coursed them, bullied them and frogmarched them off the premises. And as for the rest of us, we were fooled again by the league. Shamefully so.
Ger Cunningham’s side were unrecognisable from seven nights previously, so thoroughly so that the question now is on which night were they wearing the wig and the fake moustache? Which night was the aberration? The wan and uninterested display in Semple when you went long stretches wondering where their next score was going to come from? Or this performance, so packed with aggression and certainty from start to finish?
Same could be said for Galway, of course. They were in this game at half-time, even without playing well. Dublin had the wind behind them in the opening period but Galway still managed to go in at the break only 0-10 to 0-7 adrift. David Treacy had landed a huge free midway through the first half, the sort that indicates the wind is probably worth four or five scores a half. So there was nothing for Galway to fear coming out for the second period.
Or there wouldn’t have been had they not just downed tools upon the restart. Dublin outscored them 1-5 to 0-1 in the 15 minutes after half-time and tucked the game away nice and snug and tight. Galway visibly lost interest and turned their faces to the journey west long before it was over. Ger Cunningham’s side didn’t have to be asked twice to take advantage.
“We looked at the Tipperary game during the week and lads were disappointed more with themselves than anything else,” said Cunningham afterwards. “We didn’t show up last week in one sense but we were beaten by a very good Tipperary team. So I suppose in one sense you have seven days to turn it around and it’s about mindset and attitude really and I thought our attitude was much better tonight.
“We pride ourselves that in the last number of years Dublin have done very well in Parnell Park and we wanted to keep that record going. We love playing here but we need to have the same attitude when we go to Croke Park. I think it was about mindset, our mindset was better tonight and our attitude was better and I think it showed in the performance.
“We didn’t do ourselves justice last week but in saying that Tipp are really good. You don’t really have time to think about these things in a seven-day turnaround. So we went from the disappointing performance to starting to think about tonight so in a sense that was a help.”
Also a help was the return of Liam Rushe to centre half-back. Dublin’s totemic defender had a dabba-do time under the dropping ball, routinely emerging with possession and using it efficiently. Treacy, Niall McMorrow and Oisín Gough were excellent for Dublin too and the fact that as a team they picked up six yellow cards across the night probably says something about the abandon with which they were going into some of their tackling.
Galway actually led early on, Pádraig Brehony and Niall Burke landing fine scores into the win in the opening five minutes. But Dublin took over thereafter with Treacy, McMorrow and Darragh O’Connell splitting the posts. McMorrow would have had a goal too were it not for James Skehill poking out a desperate foot to stop his mishit shot on the half-hour.
Joe Canning was keeping Galway in it from frees and when he went on a gallop past three defenders to swish over one from play just short of half-time, there was a live possibility that Dublin’s improved showing might come to nothing.
Instead, it was Galway that melted out of the game. McMorrow danced through for a couple more to bring his tally to four for the night before Seánie McGrath latched onto a Mark Schutte pass in space to spear the night’s only goal low to Skehill’s left. Though 25 minutes remained, everything after that was just killing time until the final whistle.
DUBLIN: Conor Dooley; Eoghan O’Donnell, Cian O’Callaghan, Oisín Gough; Chris Crummy, Liam Rushe, Johnny McCaffrey; Darragh O’Connell (0-1), Daire Plunkett; Seán McGrath (1-0), Niall McMorrow (0-4), David Treacy (0-10, 0-9 frees, 0-1 65); Eamon Dillon, David O’Callaghan (0-1), Mark Schutte. Subs: Colm Cronin (0-1) for McGrath, 46 mins; Sean Treacy for O’Callaghan, 71 mins; James Madden for McCaffrey, 72 mins. GALWAY: James Skehill; Fergal Moore, John Hanbury, Paul Hoban; Pádraig Mannion, Greg Lally, Aidan Harte (0-1); David Burke (0-1, free), Adrian Tuohy; Pádraig Brehony (0-1), Cathal Mannion (0-3, 0-2 frees, 0-1 65), Niall Burke (0-1); Conor Whelan, Joe Canning (0-5, 0-4 frees), Davy Glennon. Subs: Colm Flynn for Moore, 25 mins; Joseph Cooney for Canning, half-time; Andy Smyth (0-1) for Lally, half-time; David Collins for Tuohy, 43 mins; Paul Claffey for Hanbury, 55 mins. Referee: Fergal Horgan (Tipperary)