Galway prove too good for Dublin and set up Limerick showdown
Gilroy positive after his side deliver spirited display against All-Ireland champions
Thomas Connolly challenges Galway’s Padraig Mannion. Photograph: Tommy Grealy/Inpho
Galway 1-20 Dublin 1-14
Another win for Galway, just as everyone anticipated, teeing up a promotion shoot-out with Limerick next weekend, yet there was victory to be mined from defeat for Dublin also.
In fact, Pat Gilroy almost cut the more upbeat figure afterwards as both managers reflected on an encounter full of energy, if not always efficiency.
Jason Flynn’s 1-9 haul for a Galway side that fired 15 wides ultimately secured their fourth consecutive win in the division.
The All-Ireland champions now turn their attention to hosting Limerick next Sunday with the winners advancing to Division 1A for 2019.
As for Dublin, their third defeat in four games leaves them needing a win over Laois next weekend to avoid a relegation play-off.
Their mere 1-5 from play certainly didn’t inspire but the enthusiasm of the players and their collective effort pleased Gilroy no end.
The statistic that pleased him most was that Dublin trailed by nine points after a terrible start but by just two after 53 minutes and only three with 68 minutes played.
“It was defeat but it was worlds apart from our performance last week,” said Gilroy, referencing their dozen point defeat in Limerick. “We got massive work rate out there. We missed a couple of chances for goals that on other days might have gone in. But you couldn’t fault their effort today. It was double the effort to what we put in last week.”
“That was a massive, massive improvement. And it’s a foundation for how we go forward.”
Whether or not Donoghue got as much from the game, even in victory, is debatable. Without injured trio Joe Canning, David Burke and Joseph Cooney, Flynn took on the scoring responsibility as the league title holders went through the motions and comfortably opened up a 0-13 to 0-4 lead.
Between Flynn and Cathal Mannion, the duo accounted for seven of those points, though 1-1 from Dublin before the break, the goal from Danny Sutcliffe, represented a sky blue lifeline.
Galway now led by just 0-13 to 1-5 at half-time and a succession of Paul Winters free conversions for Dublin cut the deficit to just two with 17 minutes remaining.
Flynn netted after 63 minutes but Dublin impressively regrouped again with points from Winters, Ronan Hayes and Cian Boland to trail by just three late on, forcing Galway to dig deep and reel off four points without reply to be sure of the win.
“I wouldn’t say we were playing within ourselves, that’s just where we are at the minute,” said Galway boss Donoghue.
GALWAY: J Skehill; A Tuohy, J Hanbury, J Grealish; S Cooney, G McInerney, P Mannion (0-2); J Coen, S Loftus (0-2); C Cooney, C Mannion (0-4), N Burke (0-2); C Whelan, J Flynn (1-9, 6f), B Concannon (0-1). Subs: D Glennon for Concannon (12-15), E Burke for Loftus (45), Glennon for Cooney (59).
Dublin: A Nolan; P Smyth, B O’Carroll, E O’Donnell; D Kelly, C Crummey, S Barrett; T Connolly (0-1), F MacGib (0-1); P Crummey, C Keaney, D Sutcliffe (1-1); P Winters (0-9, 8f, 1 65), R O’Dwyer, R Hayes (0-1). Subs: L Rushe for O’Dwyer (42), F O Riain Broin for P Crummey (47), C Boland (0-1) for Keaney (60), J Madden for Kelly (63), P Ryan for Rushe (68).
Referee: J Keenan (Wicklow).