Saturday 22 October 2016

Dubs draw little comfort from Galway stalemate


Simon Lambert, Dublin, in action against Jason Flynn, Galway
Simon Lambert, Dublin, in action against Jason Flynn, Galway

MAYBE, in the end, neither side deserved it.

Today's Leinster SHC quarter-final at Croke Park was far from a classic and both managers - Dublin's Ger Cunningham and his Galway namesake, Anthony - will be glad of a second chance to iron out the early-summer glitches.

Galway were playing catch-up for most of the second half but ultimately they secured a second day out when Aidan Harte pointed from the left wing after 69 minutes.  This came seconds after David Treacy had missed a presentable 45m free that would have brought his afternoon tally to a dozen.

Instead, Treacy remained stuck on 11 and Dublin are facing a replay provisionally fixed for next Saturday, with details yet to be confirmed.

An oscillating first half pockmarked by plenty of surprising errors ended with Galway landing two injury-time points via Cathal Mannion and Jason Flynn to lead by the bare minimum - 1-9 to 0-11.

Given the flow of much of that opening half, Dublin must have counted themselves blessed to be in such close touching distance. 

Galway brought far more intensity to the opening quarter to harry opponents who appeared weighed down with nerves.  Maybe their uncertainty was caused by expectation - based on their more solid league form, they entered as favourites - or perhaps by several eye-catching positional reshuffles. 

Colm Cronin had been a late call-up for injured corner-back Paul Schutte, a change that sparked a chain reaction of switches with Shane Durkin going to the corner, Simon Lambert to wing-back and Ryan O'Dwyer to midfield.

Another eye-catching manoeuvre saw Conal Keaney revert from the wing to centre-back, and the Dublin veteran was given an early chasing by Cyril Donnellan who landed two points from play inside 11 minutes and created a goal chance through the middle that eventually came to nothing.

But Galway finally did find Alan Nolan's net in the 19th minute, and this time it was midfielder Joseph Cooney who pickpocketed Keaney on the left wing and made a beeline for goal, his powerful shot fizzing through the 'keeper before he had time to react.

This hammer blow left Galway in the ascendant by 1-6 to 0-3, yet it inspired Dublin's best spell of the half, one that yielded four unanswered points from play in a three-minute shellburst from Danny Sutcliffe, Johnny McCaffrey, the excellent Mark Schutte and Liam Rushe.

Schutte had brought his superlative league form into the championship arena, and his first half tormenting of Johnny Coen eventually yielded a 31st minute yellow card after the Galway defender's third personal foul.

Yet, at the far end, Dublin remained vulnerable, often through errors of their own making.  There had been pre-match rumours of an injury to Peter Kelly; whether true or not, the Lucan man didn't seem himself.

His miscontrol almost gifted a 27th minute goal for Flynn, his angled drive repelled by Nolan.  Five minutes later, Kelly gathered a ball under his own crossbar but then was dispossed by Joe Canning who conspired to pull a glorious goal chance wide.

Soon after, Schutte crowned a superb half with his second point and the Dubs briefly led, but they lost their co-captain Kelly to an apparent leg injury in first half stoppage time.

Canning was enduring his own Croker traumas and, just after half-time, missed a free - his fifth wide of the afternoon.

It was then Dublin's chance to reclaim the momentum with three quick points on the spin to lead by two, and they retained a narrow advantage throughout a tit-for-tat third quarter.

However, a brace of points from Flynn and Donnellan brought the Tribesmen level in the 59th minute to set up a fraught finish.

Twice Dublin edged back ahead, the second time through Rushe, but Galway pegged them back near the end through Harte.

SCORERS - Dublin: D Treacy 0-11 (8f, 2 '65s'), M Schutte 0-3, D Sutcliffe 0-3, L Rushe 0-2, J McCaffrey 0-1.  Galway: J Canning 0-6 (4f, 1 '65'), C Donnellan 0-3, C Mannion 0-3, J Cooney 1-0, J Flynn 0-2, A Harte 0-2, A Smith 0-1.

DUBLIN: A Nolan; C O'Callaghan, P Kelly, S Durkin; C Crummey, C Keaney, S Lambert; J McCaffrey, R O'Dwyer; D Sutcliffe, C Cronin, L Rushe; D O'Callaghan, M Schutte, D Treacy.  Subs: M Carton for Kelly (inj 35+1), D O'Connell for Cronin (49), P Ryan for O'Dwyer (65), S Barrett for C O'Callaghan (inj 72).

GALWAY: C Callanan; P Mannion, J Coen, J Hanbury; D Collins, I Tannian, G McInerney; J Cooney, A Harte; A Smith, C Donnellan, J Glynn; C Mannion, J Canning, J Flynn.  Subs: G Lally for McInerney (53), P Brehony for Cooney (59), D Burke for Smith (66), P Killeen for Tannian (69), N Healy for Canning (72).

REF: J McGrath (Westmeath)

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