Tribesmen boss vows to 'kick on' for decider
A grim grey sky provided the backdrop in O'Connor Park as Dublin were given a tutorial in the importance of clinical efficiency by Galway.
Missing the attacking guile of the injured David Treacy, Dublin were comprehensively defeated by a Galway team that were sufficiently solid to set up an intriguing All-Ireland decider with Tipperary on September 11.
That this Galway win was coated in character rather than class thrilled manager Anthony Cunningham, a survivor of some storied meetings in the late eighties with the blue and gold. "There was a lot of intelligent play there. Maybe at times before we've been more suave, but we took the right options at the right times," he said.
"It is an old rivalry with Tipperary. I didn't see any of their game, but I have seen them in the Munster final, and we played them in a challenge and they were impressive. Eight of them played with the senior team against Waterford, but there's lots of hurling to be done between now and the final."
Having delivered a Leinster title by outfoxing Kilkenny and Wexford, Richie Stakelum's Dublin were expected to make a bold bid for national honours. When David Quinn grabbed a fourth-minute goal, it seemed as if the youngster from the capital would settle in for another enterprising encounter, but Galway were defiant.
The sliotar was moved down the pitch immediately and the pacy Richie Cummins was fouled by Ronan Walsh in the box. Niall Quinn, who grafted impressively at centre-forward, assumed responsibility, drilling a venomous penalty to the roof of the Dublin net.
The remainder of the opening period was well contested, with two late Niall Quinn points nudging Galway 1-6 to 1-5 ahead at the turnaround. It was in the third quarter that the Tribesmen landed the decisive blows as they bagged 1-4 without reply.
Captain David Burke anchored the defence with authority while also drilling over frees from distance as Galway seized the initiative. Substitute Bernard Burke replaced the injured Cummins and announced his arrival with a fine goal on 40 minutes and from there, all that needed to be determined was the margin of Galway's success.
Cunningham's post-match appraisal was fair. "It is difficult going in for the first match because you don't know how you will react, especially to the speed of the game. The lads have worked hard for us during the summer and it has been tough going," he said.
"It is tough when you play a team that has won earlier-round matches beating Kilkenny and Wexford, but we are delighted with the win. We have a lot of brushing up to do, but we will try to kick on from this."
"Bernard Burke's goal gave us a bit of daylight because some of the lads may have been on edge there for a while. We are delighted and we have learned a lot and there is a huge amount to be learned on what can be achieved.
"It is a huge step up from minor and even though we won a minor last year, a lot of learning has to be done."
Scorers -- Galway: N Quinn 1-2, D Burke 0-4 (4fs), E Forde 0-3 (2fs), B Burke 1-0, G Kelly 0-2, J Regan, R Cummins, J Coen 0-1 each. Dublin: D Quinn 1-0, D Whelan 0-3 (3fs), C Clinton, N McMorrow (2fs),P Kelly (1f, 165) 0-2 each, B O'Rorke 0-1.
Galway -- K Finnegan; D Connolly, P Gordon, G O'Halloran; N Donoghue, D Burke, S Og Linnane; J Coen, B Daly; J Regan, N Quinn, E Forde; R Cummins, G Burke, G Kelly. Subs: B Burke for Cummins (31), J Grealish for Daly (50), N Burke for G Burke (55), J Cooney for Forde (60).
Dublin -- F McGarry; R O'Loughlin, O Gough, R Walsh; P Kelly, D Kelly, M Quilty; C Clinton, P Buckeridge; N McMorrow, L Rushe, D Plunkett; B O'Rorke, D Quinn, C Brennan. Subs: K Warren for Brennan (31), A McEnerney for Quinn (42), D Whelan for McMorrow (45), M Schutte for Clinton (50), K O'Loughlin for O'Rorke (56).
Ref -- J O'Mahony (Limerick).