Lethal Mannion destroys Dubs with ten-minute blitz
Galway 5-19 Dublin 1-18
The guts of an hour had passed after the final whistle before Ger Cunningham emerged from the dressing room and the Dublin manager was already looking forward to potentially perilous qualifier ties.
What else could he do? For most of the previous 70 minutes of action he knew where his side were headed.
"We have no choice, we have to get back up," he reflected. "Obviously we'll see the draw when it comes. You're only as good as your last match. And our last match was poor."
Just how poor Dublin had been was alarming. Cunningham said afterwards that they had dropped an extra man back inside "four or five minutes, nearly straight away."
But even at that early stage, Galway were rampant. Cathal Mannion introduced himself to the game with a brilliantly-taken goal after 45 seconds, finding the bottom corner with laser precision.
On five minutes, he scored almost a carbon copy of the first. By the ten-minute mark he had announced himself as a Rolls Royce of a hurler by completing a stunning hat-trick. He got a deft touch on Colm Callanan's monster puck-out that was allowed bounce in the Dublin full-back line.
Mannion gambled and his flick put Galway 14 points up and effectively ended the game as a contest.
Dublin had their chances in that period too. But perhaps there was a hint of what was to come early in the game. David Treacy was fouled for a penalty that he would take himself. However, the normally reliable Cuala man blazed wide.
At this stage, only Kerry native Darragh O'Connell was offering any resistance with two points from play for a Dublin side drowning in panic.
At the other end, Galway continued to thrive in the alarming amount of space between the Dublin half-back and full-back lines. Any frees were banged over by Jason Flynn, who had taken the duties from Joe Canning.
And while Dublin were struggling with the most basic skills, Galway were playing with a freedom not seen since the Leinster final of 2012. Flynn pulled off an extraordinary piece of skill with an over-the-head flick that sent Aidan Harte clear to point.
A couple of minutes later, the untouchable Mannion tipped over his first point and Dublin were a staggering 18 points in arrears. There were just 19 minutes played.
Things got only marginally better for Dublin from there. Treacy didn't see half-time. Ryan O'Dwyer won their second penalty and having already missed a free, Cunningham opted to replace Treacy with another dead-ball specialist in Paul Ryan.
Ryan struck the penalty superbly but Callanan got down brilliantly to make the save and Galway went in at the break 3-13 to 0-6 to the good.
There had been a spiky element to the first half. Daithi Burke flattened Danny Sutcliffe when he went to go on a solo run, while minutes later Sutcliffe levelled Joe Canning.
The hostilities continued after the restart. Canning hit Galway's fourth goal with a brilliant batted finish. Alan Nolan took exception to his celebration and, after a tangle, the pair were booked. By the final whistle, Brian Gavin flashed 10 yellows, eight to Galway.
Canning wasn't done there. He scored a second goal when fielding Iarla Tannian's long delivery and lashing home. There might have been another goal but Chris Crummey cleared Padraig Brehony's effort off the line.
Canning's majors added to an already sterling effort from the full-forward line. Between Mannion, Canning and Flynn, they hit 5-15 between them.
The game was long over but the time had to be played out and afterwards, Ger Cunningham could only reflect on a day where Dublin endured a complete systems failure.
"The first two goals were right in the bottom corner and looked like great finishes," Cunningham said as he reflected on their poor opening.
"Sure it was the worst possible start we could have got. It gave them the licence to show all the skills that they have. They played very well on the day and were better than us on the day. We have no excuses really.
"But, in fairness to our lads in the second half, they never gave up. They kept on going to the end. It's just a disappointing quarter-final to lose."
His namesake Anthony Cunningham was already looking to play down the significance of what had gone before.
"These lads are very good but it is all about getting the breaks and the goals and we knew if we got one or two, we had the skill and the talent to hold onto that cushion - there will be tougher days ahead.
"I'm sure Dublin will bounce back, they were the envy of the country in the league with the players they found - and they will be a hard side in the qualifiers.
"We had goal chances the last day too, and we have to take them at championship level."
Scorers - Galway: C Mannion 3-3, J Canning 2-3, J Flynn 0-9 (7f), A Harte, A Smith, C Donnellan, P Brehony 0-1 each. Dublin: P Ryan 0-7 (3f, 3 '65), E Dillon 1-1, D O'Connell, D Treacy (1f) 0-2 each, S Lambert (f), R O'Dwyer, L Rushe, D Sutcliffe, M Schutte, C Boland 0-1 each.
Galway - C Callanan 8; J Coen 7, J Hanbury 7, P Mannion 8; D Collins 8, I Tannian 8, Daithí Burke 8; J Cooney 8, A Harte 8; A Smith 8, C Donnellan 8, J Glynn 8; C Mannion 9, J Canning 8, J Flynn 8. Subs: David Burke 7 for Cooney (45), P Brehony 7 for Donnellan (46), F Moore 7 for P Mannion (58), G Lally 7 for Coen (58), D Glennon for Smith (64).
Dublin - A Nolan 5; C O'Callaghan 4, M Carton 4, P Schutte 4; C Crummy 4, S Lambert 4, C Keaney 4; S Durkin 5, D O'Connell 6; R O'Dwyer 4, L Rushe 6, D Sutcliffe 6; D O'Callaghan 4, M Schutte 5, D Treacy 4. Subs: P Ryan 7 for Treacy (40), E Dillon 7 for O'Dwyer (h-t), C Boland 5 for O'Dwyer (46), J McCaffrey 4 for Carton (53), C Dooley 5 for Ryan (68).
Ref - B Gavin (Offaly)