Wednesday 22 November 2017

Brave Harte to the rescue as Galway survive

Dublin 0-20 Galway 1-17

Martin Breheny

Martin Breheny

Both camps talked up the positives in an attempt to fill the confidence tanks but the private debrief will more likely concentrate on the many aspects that need to be improved for Saturday's replay in Tullamore.

Effort and determination were in plentiful supply and, with no more than three points between the teams at any stage over the final 49 minutes, there was plenty to keep Croke Park early-comers entertained, without providing anything to store for very long in the memory bank.

Galway had more reason to be grateful for in the end, having snatched the levelling point in the 70th minute when Aidan Harte fired over from the left of the field to cancel out Liam Rushe's 65th minute point, which had put Dublin one clear.

David Treacy had an excellent chance to extend Dublin's lead to two with a straight-forward free in the 68th minute but miscued his shot, much to the relief on a Galway side for whom a two-point deficit at that late stage might have proved fatal.

It was Treacy's only mistake from placed balls, having earlier pointed eight frees and two 65s in what had been a commendable display of clinical striking.


That Galway conceded so many scoreable frees will be a matter of concern for Anthony Cunningham, but then Dublin had some defensive discipline issues too, presenting Joe Canning with six point-chances from play.

He scored four and missed two. He was also off target with two frees and a sideline cut, suggesting he may have been feeling the ill-effects of a hand injury. It seemed to affect him in other facets of play too.

Luckily for Galway, their corner-forwards Cathal Mannion and Jason Flynn, as well as centre-forward Cyril Donnellan, stepped forward to take responsibility at various stages.

They scored 0-11 from open play between them, while midfielders Joseph Cooney and Harte scored 1-2.

Cooney's goal came in the 20th minute when he capitalised on an opening after losing his man. It put Galway six points clear - 1-6 to 0-3 - and looking very much as if they were about to advance into that wonderfully expansive territory they locate from time to time.

Of course, they also have a frustrating history of squandering sizeable leads, an affliction which re-visited them yesterday. Dublin shot four points in a four-minute spell immediately after Cooney's goal before Canning put Galway three points ahead.

However, Dublin posted four more points over the next 10 minutes to lead by one entering stoppage time.

Mark Schutte was very much to the fore of Dublin's attacking enterprise in the first half, presenting Johnny Coen with a range of problems, which he attempted to solve by fouling.

Referee James McGrath duly lost patience, booking the Galway corner-back in the 31st minute.

Coen had a much better second half but then his game is more suited to snapping on to loose ball than man-marking the likes of Schutte. Two late points in the first half left Galway leading by 1-9 to 0-11 at the interval, but they found themselves two behind after Dublin scored three early second-half points.

Dublin had out-scored their opponents by 0-11 to 0-3 between the 21st and 39th minutes, in yet another example of how Galway can so easily lurch in barren territory.

There have been several occasions when it cost them games, but they managed to correct it yesterday.

Iarla Tannian played a big role in achieving that, digging in defiantly at centre-back. It disrupted the Dublin flow and also gave Galway a base from which to plot a way to safety.

They trailed by 0-17 to 1-11 after 51 minutes but the balance was beginning to swing their way.

They were back level by the 59th minute and while Dublin twice took the lead in the final 11 minutes, Galway responded with game-saving points.

Quite where the result leaves the initiative going into the replay is difficult to assess. Galway will be pleased to have out-scored Dublin by 0-6 to 0-3 in the final quarter, but have much to reflect on why their six-point lead after 20 minutes was so easily wiped out.

Meanwhile, Dublin will be encouraged by their response in that crucial period. However, they will be much less enamoured by events over the final quarter when they came under renewed pressure.

In truth, both sides looked quite ordinary at various times, not least when it came to taking their chances.

Presumably, yesterday's game will have brought the sides on, so it remains to be seen who benefits the most.

Dubs boss Ger Cunningham (left) will be sweating over the fitness of full-back Peter Kelly, who was forced off with a hamstring problem just before half-time. He had been way below his best up to then and was lucky not to concede a goal after misdirecting a pass into Jason Flynn's hand.

Flynn didn't capitalise and also failed to find the net from an excellent chance in the 57th minute. His shot was marginally too high, yielding a point at a time when Galway were beginning to assert themselves.

Ultimately, they did enough to earn a replay in a contest which left both sides with plenty to ponder before Saturday.

Scorers - Dublin: D Treacy 0-11 (8f, 2 '65'), M Schutte, D Sutcliffe 0-3 each, L Rushe 0-2, J McCaffrey 0-1.

Galway: J Canning 0-6 (4f, one 65), C Donnellan, C Mannion 0-3 each, J Cooney 1-0, J Flynn, A Harte 0-2 each, A Smith 0-1.

Dublin - A Nolan 6; C O'Callaghan 6, P Kelly 5, S Durkin 6; C Crummy 6, C Keaney 7, S Lambert 6; J McCaffrey 6, R O'Dwyer 6; D Sutcliffe 7, C Cronin 6, L Rushe 7; D O'Callaghan 7, D Treacy 7, M Schutte 8. Subs: M Carton 7 for Kelly (35), D O'Connell 6 for Cronin (49), P Ryan for O'Dwyer (65), S Barrett for O'Callaghan (72).

Galway - C Callanan 6; J Coen 6, J Hanbury 6, P Mannion 7; D Collins 6, I Tannian 8, G McInerney 6; J Cooney 6, A Harte 7; A Smith 6, C Donnellan 7, J Glynn 6; C Mannion 8, J Canning 6, J Flynn 7. Subs: G Lally 6 for McInerney (53), P Brehony 6 for Cooney (59), D Burke for Smith (65), P Killeen for Tannian (69), N Healy for Canning (72).

Ref - J McGrath (Westmeath).

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