Harte has the final word as Galway earn a replay against Dublin

Anxiety gets the better of both sides in a curiously uninspiring clash

 

It might have been just the last weekend in May but there was a palpable anxiety in the display of both teams in this GAA Leinster hurling quarter-final, recognition that either of them would likely struggle to overcome the blow to their fragile confidence that defeat would have dealt.

In that light the match was like a therapy session, allowing both Dublin and Galway to list some of their strong points but not to such an extent that respective demons were exorcised.

Once again Dublin failed to close out a match that was there for them. David Treacy’s 70th-minute free didn’t look any more difficult than any of the previous ones he’d picked off with 100 per cent reliability but for once it went wide.

This followed on shots from Danny Sutcliffe, Paul Ryan and Dotsy O’Callaghan, which had failed to find the target in the closing minutes and, in the process, sustained Galway with the motivation of an unmoving one-point deficit.

Not that Galway had become clear-eyed assassins in pursuit of survival. Cyril Donnellan – who otherwise had a good match on his comeback – missed a shot just before Treacy’s free and although Aidan Harte finally equalised in the last minute of normal time, his team had paraded their own persistent flaw of checking out of matches when apparently well in control.

This time the astral travel happened just after Joseph Cooney’s stealthy 20th-minute solo through the Dublin defence for the only goal of the match and a six-point lead, 1-6 to 0-3.

Slack performance

It was a curiously unengaging match, considering it was well contested on the scoreboard and in the balance until the last few seconds. Even at the end the litany of missed opportunity was frustrating and on the occasions when either side looked set to drive on, they struggled to upset the pattern of stalemate on the puck-outs and it was their own shortcomings rather than opponents meeting the challenge that restored equilibrium.

Galway were ultimately happy not to lose, particularly with their top gun Joe Canning inhibited by a hand injury and posting five wides throughout the match. They also had good performances from the experienced Donnellan and young Cathal Mannion, who at times terrorised Shane Durkin to end up with three from play.

dub galway

Conversely, Dublin will know that their lacklustre opening 20 minutes – no scores from play – would be more severely punished by any of the top teams they hope to supplant this summer.

Manager Ger Cunningham singled out his team’s response to the Galway goal – three quick points from play to cancel the green flag – as heartening evidence of resilience.

Near disasters

Peter Kelly

Jason Flynn, having been gifted possession, fired at Alan Nolan who blocked and in the 33rd minute, Kelly’s failure to clear led to some alarming goalmouth pinball, culminating in Canning pulling a shot wide.

A feature of Dublin’s play was the acquisitiveness of Mark Schutte, who beat Johnny Coen to virtually every ball, leaving the Loughrea defender no means in the rulebook of containing him. By half-time he had two points, a couple of assists and had earned two converted frees as well as a yellow card for his marker.

Galway’s second-half switch of Pádraig Mannion restored some order and Coen’s game also improved in a less stressful environment. There was puzzlement that the remedial action took as long as it did.

Dublin’s best goal chance was in the first half when Colm Cronin – a late replacement for Cuala club-mate Paul Schutte – steamed onto the end of a move created by Liam Rushe and Ryan O’Dwyer, only for the shot to be well saved by Colm Callanan for a 65.

Swing of the pendulum

Galway responded and their 10-minute spell of dominance squared the match. They were quicker on breaking ball and showed urgency. Iarla Tannian – eventually replaced after a late challenge by O’Dwyer that was lightly punished with a yellow card – galloped forward from centre back but put his shot wide. Flynn had the chance of a goal but put the ball over the bar. However, Donnellan eventually equalised.

Rushe had been a boisterous presence at centre forward all afternoon without quite convincing that his switch from centre back at the start of the season has strengthened the team.

He pointed Dublin ahead in the 65th minute and was fouled for Treacy’s late free.

Frustratingly there was no clarity in the finale and it’s off to Tullamore in five days’ time for the replay.

DUBLIN: A Nolan; C O’Callaghan, P Kelly, S Durkin; C Crummy, C Keaney, S Lambert; R O’Dwyer, J McCaffrey (0-1); L Rushe (0-2), C Cronin, D Sutcliffe (0-3); D O’Callaghan, M Scutte (0-3), D Treacy (0-11, eight frees, two 65s).

Subs: M Carton for Kelly (35 mins, inj), D O’Connell for Cronin (49 mins), P Ryan for O’Dwyer (65 mins), S Barrett for O’Callaghan (72 mins)

GALWAY: C Callanan; J Coen, J Hanbury, P Mannion; D Collins, I Tannian, G McInerney; J Cooney (1-0), A Harte(0-2); A Smith (0-1), C Donnellan (0-3), J Glynn; C Mannion (0-3), J Canning (0-6, four frees, one 65), J Flynn (0-2).

Subs: G Lally for McInerney (53 mins), P Brehony for Cooney (58 mins), D Burke for Smith (66 mins), N Healy for Canning (72 mins)

Referee: James McGrath (Westmeath)

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