Good base to build on says Gilroy after narrow defeat
Galway 0-26 Dublin 2-19
Pat Gilroy has seven months to stew on the three championship defeats his side have suffered this summer, but he will take plenty of positives from an always improving first season in charge of the county hurlers.
Dublin came as close as anyone in the last two seasons to beating the All-Ireland champions on their home patch, but in the end David Burke and Jason Flynn stepped up for the Tribesmen to win it in added-time.
The Sky Blues looked dead and buried as they trailed by seven points following an average first-half, but two Paul Winters goals and a driving display from Rian McBride hauled Dublin back into the game.
With six minutes remaining Dublin were one point up, and despite James Madden's leveller in the 73rd minute they could not hold on for a positive result. There are plenty of positives for the manager to work with, though.
"We hadn't performed at all in the first-half," said Gilroy.
"It was a great turnaround in the second-half, the effort from the lads was incredible. We got the goals at important times, but it's disappointing we didn't push on and get the victory.
"It has been a massive improvement, but it's a results business and at the end of the day we only won one out of four games here in the championship. There is a good base to build from, but we have got a mountain to climb because we have got to be winning games."
Galway were guilty of some generous defending for the two goals, though.
The first, after 39 minutes, was finished off by Winters after James Skehill misread a long ball, while the bright movement of the Dublin forwards and Galway's poor decision-making allowed Winters to crack goal number two.
A couple of long-range frees from Alan Nolan saw Dublin take the lead, but the home support was relieved to see David Burke and Jason Flynn step up with the winning scores late on.
Dublin had the game's outstanding player in Rian McBride. He hit four of his side's total and kept them in touch at the break with a couple of good scores.
It was the Vincent's midfielder who launched the comeback with a sweet sideline cut after the break, but the home side will be thrilled with how they closed it out.
"We were quite content," said Galway manager Micheál Donoghue. "When the goals came it gave them a huge lift. We were five, six or seven up and the goals cut that down to the minimum.
"We had to work hard for it. When they got the goals their tails were up. But testament to our boys, they worked hard and stayed in the game when the chances came."
Scorers - Galway: J Flynn 0-11 (9f); J Cooney, C Whelan & P Mannion 0-3 each; C Cooney & David Burke 0-2 each; S Loftus & C Mannion 0-1 each.
Dublin: P Winters 2-1; D Treacy (3f), R McBride (1 sl) 0-4 each; P Ryan 0-3 (3f); A Nolan 0-2 (2f); D Sutcliffe, J Malone, S Moran, J Madden & C Boland 0-1 each.
Galway: J Skehill; P Killeen, Daithi Burke, A Harte; P Mannion, G McInerney, J Hanbury; S Loftus, David Burke; J Cooney, N Burke, C Mannion; C Whelan, C Cooney, J Flynn. Subs: E Burke for Loftus (43), S Cooney for Killeen (50), D Glennon for C Cooney (68), P Brehony for J Cooney (73).
Dublin: A Nolan; P Smyth, C O'Callaghan, E O'Donnell; S Barrett, S Moran, C Crummey; R McBride, T Connolly; J Malone, F McGibb, C Boland; D Treacy, D Sutcliffe, P Ryan. Subs: E Dillon for Connolly (35), P Winters for Ryan (35), C McBride for Boland (47), J Madden for McGibb (65), J McCaffrey for McBride (73). Ref: D Kirwan (Cork).