Dubs are back in it after Galway win
ALLIANZ Hurling LEAGUE DIV 1A
AS it happened, Kilkenny did the business against Clare thus sparing Dublin any obligation to beat Galway in Parnell Park, but that didn't harm the good vibes in Donnycarney yesterday when they did so anyway.
Mostly, the 0-26 to 2-14 victory was welcomed for its practical ramifications, i.e. the avoidance of relegation to the murky backwaters of of Division 1B and instead, earning a Sunday spent in the company of Limerick and a straight-up joust for a League semi-final spot.
The alternative, hurling's equivalent of a fate worse than a fate worse than death, a trip to Nowlan Park to play Kilkenny in a winner-stays-up gruell-athon, was inconceivable, particularly given Dublin's smart start to this year's League.
"We were looking at a quarter-final all the time," insisted Ger Cunningham afterwards.
"We never mentioned anything about relegation."
"Delighted with the result and the the performance."
And that, more than anything, was the sunniest aspect of a sun-kissed day in Parnell Park.
The proof that Dublin hadn't misplaced their early-season mojo in its entirety. That the traction of the earliest part of Cunningham's reign hadn't been lost.
And that they could hurl - and hurl well - under some pretty real pressure.
"We felt we could have won last week or at least got a point," Cunningham admitted.
"By not getting the result, we felt a bit of frustration. They wanted to that to the game today. They wanted the chance to get to the quarter-final and secure the status an we've done that."
The performance highlights of a day when Dublin absorbed two first-half goals were as follows...
Mark Schutte cutting loose, scoring five points in a hugely assiduous display at wing-forward, hinting at the promise he undoubtedly possesses when playing with such noticeable determination.
Danny Sutcliffe - as ever - brilliant on the far flank.
Conal Keaney, not long after an uncomfortable evening in Conor Lehane's slipstream, taking on Joe Canning and largely, winning his battle before hurling's prince was relocated.
Wing-back or midfield, such issues are irrelevant for Shane Durkin who underlined his status as Dublin's most consistent player this spring with an all-singing, all-dancing exhibition in defence.
Dotsy O'Callaghan - a revelation against Clare - scoring two good first half points and winning two scoreable frees.
Cian O'Callaghan and Paul Schutte exuding calm assurance in the corners of the Dublin back line.
In a more all-inclusive sense tough, the fact that Dublin were faced with a win or bust-ish scenrario against hostile opposition and finished the way they did bodes well.
What didn't bode well was their inability to detect Cathal Mannion lurking close to goal on his lonesome or their inability to even challenge the Galway forward in his saved or subsequently converted goal chances after just four minutes.
Or their incapability stop Jonathan Glynn winning a puck, turning and setting up Joe Canning to roof Galway's second goal in 28 minutes.
Thus Dublin trailed by 2-9 to 0-13 at half-time but upon the resumption, the game was undoubtedly theirs.
Afterwards, Cunningham announced Peter Kelly and Liam Rushe as joint captains for 2015 but there remains question marks about both player's deployments.
Rushe scored one good point couldn't retrace his first half footsteps in Ennis.
And Kelly, restored to full-back, produced a display of such authoritarian calm, it's likely his nomadic days are behind him.
With Mark Schutte and Sutcliffe coming off their wings to win ball and run at Galway and David Treacy accurate (nine from 11) on frees, not only was Dublin's greater need detectable, so too was their ability to pull off a momentum-shiftting win.
SCORERS - Dublin: D Treacy 0-10 (8f, 1 '65), M Schutte 0-5, D Sutcliffe 0-4, D O'Callaghan 0-2, P Schutte, L Rushe, J McCaffrey, R O'Dwyer, P Ryan (f) 0-1 each. Galway: J Canning 1-7 (0-6f), C Mannion 1-2, A Smith 0-2, A Harte, B Molloy, N Burke 0-1 each.
DUBLIN: A Nolan; C O'Callaghan, P Kelly, P Schutte; C Crummy, C Keaney, D Durkin; S Lambert, R O'Carroll; D Sutcliffe, E Dillon, M Schutte; D O'Callaghan, L Rushe, D Treacy. Subs: J McCaffrey for Lambert (28 inj), N McMorrow for O'Carroll (h-t), R O'Dwyer for Dillon (h-t), P Ryan for O'Callaghan (62).
GALWAY: A Ryan; J Coen, P Killeen, F Moore; D Collins, G Lally, G McInerney; A Smith, A Harte; J Cooney, J Canning, J Glynn; B Molloy, N Burke, C Mannion. Subs: J Flynn for Burke (30), I Tannian for Harte (44), J Hansbury for Moore (46), D Higgins for Molloy (48), E Burke for Flynn (67).
WIDES - Dublin: 8 (3 + 5). Galway: 8 (4 + 4).
BOOKED - Dublin: 1 (Keaney 23). Galway: 3 (Molloy 26, Canning 66, McInerney 73).
REF: J Ryan (Tipperary).
ATTENDANCE: 5,000 (est)
MAN OF THE MATCH: Mark Schutte (Dublin)