Galway march past Dublin and into All-Ireland MHC final

Holders one game away from defending their title after a dominant second-half showing

Galway’s Niall Collins celebrates scoring a goal during his side’s win over Dublin. Photograph: Laszlo Geczo/Inpho

Galway’s Niall Collins celebrates scoring a goal during his side’s win over Dublin. Photograph: Laszlo Geczo/Inpho

 

Galway 3-22 Dublin 0-16

Galway advanced to the final of the Electric Ireland All-Ireland Minor Hurling Championship after registering an impressive 15-point victory over a below-par Dublin at Croke Park on Saturday afternoon.

The holders enjoyed a narrow three point lead at the break but resumed in a completely dominant fashion as Dublin’s challenged unravelled the longer the contest evolved.

Nowhere was Galway’s dominance more pronounced than in the critical middle third with Jason O’Donoghue exerting a massive influence for his side against a powerless Donal Leavy and Darragh Power.

That such a gulf should separate the sides at the final whistle seemed highly unlikely after a first-half in which the sides were level on no less than nine occasions.

Dublin started brightly thanks to a Conor Murray point within 20 seconds with Galway responding immediately through an excellent Dean Reilly point.

Parity was a constant theme of that first-half as Liam Dunne edged Dublin ahead in the third minute while Galway full-forward Donal O’Shea converted his first free of the game soon after.

O’Shea was to prove a pivotal figure for the winners, scoring all 12 of the frees that came his way and his prowess from placed balls allowed Galway to respond to scores from play by Dublin’s Pearce Christie and Dara Purcell.

O’Shea and Dunne enjoyed their only private contest during the second quarter as they traded frees with monotonous regularity, with only a glorious score from Galway’s Niall Collins in the 22nd minute interrupting their duopoly.

The teams looked destined to enter the break on level terms but in injury time, Collins jinked past Dublin’s Finn Murphy before he unleashed a powerful shot beyond Jack Lambert from eight yards.

Leading by 1-10 to 0-10 at the interval, Galway played with a greater degree of pace in the second-half with fine scores from Diarmuid Kilcommins and Adam Brett reflecting their enhanced urgency.

Dublin were struggling to make any inroads against a hugely impressive Galway defence and with the Leinster champions making far too many rudimentary errors, their task became tougher with every passing minute.

A Lambert error in the 48th minute was seized upon by Brett for Galway’s second goal and a minute later, the contest was effectively settled as Reilly was on hand to poke home from close range after O’Shea’s initial shot was blocked.

There was little that Dublin could do in the closing stages to arrest their slide with O’Donoghue fittingly landing Galway’s final score of the game in added time.

“In difficult conditions like that, scoring 3-22 in a game is a serious scoring for a minor team, even for a senior team,” said Galway manager Jeff Lynskey.

“The lads are young and enthusiastic and I’m just creating the right environment for them to improve and develop,” he added.

Galway: P Rabbitte; M Flynn, S Jennings, O Salmon; E Duggan, S Heary, S Quirke; J O’Donoghue (0-1), O Flannery (St Thomas’) (0-1); D Kilcommins (0-2), S McDonagh, A Brett (1-1); D Reilly (1-3), D O’Shea (0-12, twelve frees), N Collins (1-2). Subs: O Flannery (PMP) for McDonagh (41), K Creaven for Collins (52), C Cunningham for O Flannery (St Thomas’, 57), I McGlynn for Duggan (58), C Keane for Reilly (61).

Dublin: J Lambert; F Murphy, E Carney, K Byrne; C Hogan, A O’Neill, I O’hEithir; D Leavy, D Power; C Foley (0-1), P Christie (0-1), C Murray (0-1); L Dunne (0-10, nine frees, one ‘65’), L Swan, D Purcell (0-1). Subs: S Fenton for Purcell (40), D McLoughney (0-1) for Christie (47), A O’Toole (0-1) for Murray (49), S Foran for Hogan (57).

Referee: Patrick Murphy (Carlow)

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