Sunday 4 December 2016

Molloy plays a captain's part as Fortune rues missed chance

Galway 0-21 Dublin 0-19 (after extra time)

Jackie Cahill

Published 22/08/2016 | 02:30

Seán Treacy attempts to hook the sliotar away from Galway’s Declan Cronin in Thurles. Photo: Sportsfile
Seán Treacy attempts to hook the sliotar away from Galway’s Declan Cronin in Thurles. Photo: Sportsfile

Joe Fortune and his Dublin players were left "devastated" as Galway came good in extra-time to set up a Bord Gáis Energy All-Ireland U-21 hurling final date with favourites Waterford on September 10.

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Captain Brian Molloy led the way with ten points, including four in extra-time, as the Tribesmen won a repeat of the 2011 decider between the counties to reach a first final in five years. But Dublin left a wet and windy Semple Stadium with huge regrets after registering 21 wides over the course of almost 90 minutes.

Galway have massive work of their own to do and their manager, Tony Ward, admitted that 16 wides won't do when they face the Déise next month.

It was an error-strewn encounter for the most part that only came to life down the home stretch, with the sides level eight times from the 36th minute to the finish.

A late flurry of scores, ­including Cian Mac Gabhann's leveller for Dublin, took the game into ­extra-time and at the turn, they were still level at 0-18 each, having finished regulation time deadlocked at 0-16 apiece.

Dublin were in a good position, playing with the wind blowing towards the town end for the second period of extra-time, but Molloy scored all of Galway's three points from placed balls, as Dublin contributed just one more score.

Galway players, from left, Darragh Dolan, Conor Jennings, Declan Cronin and Seán Loftus celebrate. Photo: Sportsfile
Galway players, from left, Darragh Dolan, Conor Jennings, Declan Cronin and Seán Loftus celebrate. Photo: Sportsfile

Galway, with the better goal chances too, had a lot of the heavy lifting done by half-time in normal time, trailing by 0-7 to 0-10 after playing against the elements.

A run of six points without reply early in the second half gave them the lead for the first time in the game but Dublin hung in grimly and gave themselves a chance.

Redemption

For Galway, however, this was redemption of sorts following the senior exit at the hands of Tipperary and Conor Whelan put in a fine shift before going off injured.

Eoghan O'Donnell of Dublin in action against Aiden Helebert of Galway. Photo: Sportsfile
Eoghan O'Donnell of Dublin in action against Aiden Helebert of Galway. Photo: Sportsfile

Manager Ward cited a shoulder issue but Whelan took a heavy knock to the head and may have been suffering concussion before he finally made way, having scored a brilliant point while still dazed.

Ward admitted: "We know that performance won't beat Waterford. We know we are going to have to raise it. They are a serious team. We have a lot to do.

"A lot of our lads were involved in the minor final defeat to Waterford three years ago and that adds something to it. Hopefully, we can turn that around the next day. It is going to take a lot of effort."

Ward's opposite number Fortune wore an almost haunted expression. This was the one that got away as the Leinster champions came up short. "We spoke an awful lot over the year about when you get to this level, you have to take the opportunities and anybody watching that would see that we had ample opportunity to win," said Fortune.

Cian Boland of Dublin battles against Shane Cooney. Photo: Sportsfile
Cian Boland of Dublin battles against Shane Cooney. Photo: Sportsfile

"Galway are a good side, a strong, physical side and they seemed to have that bit more maybe in the tank, especially in extra-time. I thought we looked dead on our feet.

"I've been in a lot of dressing-rooms and you get involved in teams but that dressing-room is devastated. One of things we speak about in Dublin is in order to get to that next level, you have to win games like that.

"You'd think we never did a shooting drill there at times. I don't know, you can't blame the six-week thing because Galway didn't have a competitive game.

"We tried everything we could in those six weeks to keep things fresh.

"To me, we had every opportunity to win it. I don't know what we could have done extra on the line, it just seemed we didn't win that breaking ball when we needed to and when we did win it, we didn't take those easy scores.

"It's a huge disappointment to me. I was lucky enough last year to get an opportunity after what happened against Kilkenny and we put a lot of time into this.

"They're Leinster champions, nobody will ever take that away from them, but that group of players know they had a massive opportunity to get to an All-Ireland final. That's the hard thing but they'll regroup. There's a lot of players in there will play senior hurling for Dublin."

Galway had a match-winner in Molloy, who banged over six placed balls and four from play. Ward added: "Leave the scores out of it. The last two balls he won back in our backs and then he came up the field with them. That was absolutely phenomenal."

Scorers - Galway: B Molloy 0-10 (5fs, 1 '65'); D Nevin (1 sl), T Monaghan 0-3 each; C Whelan, É Burke 0-2 each; D Dolan 0-1. Dublin: C Bennett (3fs), R McBride, C Boland 0-3 each; A Jamieson-Murphy, S Treacy (2fs) 0-2 each; J Madden, F Ó Riain Broin, C Mac Gabhann, S Barrett, E Conroy, E McHugh 0-1 each.

GALWAY - C Touhy; C Jennings, D O'Donoghue, D Cronin; F Burke, S Cooney, S Loftus; D Nevin, D Dolan; K McHugo, B Molloy, É Burke; T Monaghan, C Whelan, C Burke. Subs: B Concannon for McHugo (40), J Mannion for C Burke (45), E Brannigan for Dolan (53), S Linnane for Whelan (64), J Grealish for Mannion (70), A Morrissey for Monaghan (76).

DUBLIN - J Treacy; C MacGabhann, E O'Donnell, J Madden; F O Riain Broin, S Barrett, J Bellew; R McBride, J Malone; C Boland, A Jamieson-Murphy, E Conroy; S Treacy, S Ó Riain, C Bennett. Subs: P O'Dea for Ó Riain (44), C O'Neill for Bennett (46), E McHugh for Conroy (55), B Bolger for ORiain Broin (60+1), Ó Riain for Jamieson-Murphy (69), M McCallion for Bolger (70), Bennett for McBride (72).

Ref - D Kirwan (Cork).

Irish Independent

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