14-man Dublin overcome stern Galway challenge to secure Allianz League title
Dublin 0-18 Galway 0-14
DUBLIN'S remarkable consistency in the Jim Gavin was underlined again this afternoon after they claimed a fifth League title in the sixth year of his reign.
The title came with collateral damage, however, with James McCarthy limping off in the first half with a hamstring injury while both Paul Mannion and Michael Darragh Macauley were also nursing knocks as they were substituted.
With Cian O'Sullivan, Jack McCaffrey and Paul Flynn all injury doubts for the start of Dublin's Leinter SFC campaign and questions still over Diarmuid Connolly, their latest piece of silverware could come at a cost.
The defeat was Galway's first of 2018 after going their seven game Division 1 campaign unbeaten in their first season after promotion.
And like the drawn clash between these teams in Salthill two weeks ago, today’s League final was hugely physical.
Damien Comer was at the centre of much of Galway's best play in the first half.
Mostly, he pent the first 20 minutes on the edge of the Dublin square, marked by Philly McMahon.
By the end of the stage, Comer had a point scored, was fouled for three of Barry McHugh's frees and McMahon had been booked.
Paul Mannion, who hadn't played for Dublin since injuring a hamstring against Mayo in Castlebar on February 24th, was a late change to Jim Gavin's selection, replacing Paddy Andrews in the named team.
He started in blizzard of activity, having a goal chance saved after just 10 seconds and winding up the half with two points.
Johnny Heaney was another prominent first half figure, popping up in almost every line of the Galway team and scoring two of his own.
At 0-9 each, the final was beautifully poised.
Unlike most of their Croke Park opponents these days, Kevin Walsh's team had displayed the physicality to match Dublin and the tactical setup not to be blitzed by them.
The second half started in the same tit-for-tat rhythm until Dublin put the first glimmers of daylight between the teams when they rattled off three consecutive points in the space of just two minutes.
Dean Rock, Mannion and Collie Basquel all profited from kick-outs won by Brian Howard and Brian Fenton but minutes later Dublin were reduced to 14 men when Niall Scully was sent off for a second yellow card.
Comer came out with two more brilliant point but late scores from Ciarn Kilkenny and Philly McMahon sealed the win and a fifth League title in six years for Dublin.
SCORERS – Dublin: D Rock 0-7 (5f, 1 ’45), P Mannion 0-3, C Kilkenny, C Basquel 0-2 each, P McManhon, J Small, N Scully, E Lowndes 0-1 each. Galway: B McHugh 0-6 (5f), D Comer 0-3, J Heaney, S Walsh (1f) 0-2 each, P Conroy 0-1.
DUBLIN: Cluxton; M Fitzsimons, D Byrne, P McMahon; J McCarthy, J Cooper, J Small; B Fenton, MD Macauley; N Scully, P Mannion, B Howard; K McManamon, C Kilkenny, D Rock. Subs: E Lowndes for McCarthy (35 inj), C Basquel for McManamon (h-t), E Murchan for Small (40 inj), C O’Callaghan for MD Macauley (54), S Carthy for Mannion (68), Small for McMahon (72)
GALWAY: R Lavelle; D Kyne, SA Ó Ceallaigh, E Kerin; C Sweeney, G Bradshaw, S Kelly; D Duggan, P Conroy; J Heaney, P Cooke, E Brannigan; S Walsh, D Comer, B McHugh. Subs: G O’Donnell for Heaney (62), T Flynn for Cooke (67), P Sweeney for Conroy (68), A Varley for Walsh (70).
REF: A Nolan (Wicklow)