Galway survive second-half fightback to see off Dublin
Galway 0-26 Dublin 2-19
Galway will face Kilkenny in the Leinster hurling final on 1 July, and Jason Flynn’s free taking fired Micheál Donoghue’s side to victory over Dublin at Pearse Stadium.
Two goals from sub Paul Winters in the second-half had actually given Dublin the lead, which they held until six minutes from time, but David Burke and Flynn got Galway over the line.
Without Joe Canning, who was named among the substitutes but then withdrawn before throw in, Flynn was handed the free-taking duties and by half-time he had fired five points for his side as they led by seven at the break.
It was Joseph Cooney who got Galway off the mark in the first minute, and after Paul Ryan’s free, Sean Loftus marked his first championship start with a point from midfield before Conor Whelan hit his first.
Whelan was one of Galway’s top forwards in their run to the All-Ireland last year, but now he could be regarded as their most important player. Marked from the start by Eoghan O’Donnell, Whelan won more than his fair share of ball on the ground and in the air and his point in the ninth minute from the right sideline was majestic.
To be fair Dublin stayed close to Galway for the first quarter, and they probably should have been level or ahead, only for the nine first-half wides they hit. Three of them came from Ryan frees, and before the break he was replaced by David Treacy from placed balls.
But by that stage Galway were well in control. Padraic Mannion, Whelan, Flynn and Conor Cooney hit four scores without reply, while Treacy’s first point meant Dublin trailed 0-16 to 0-9 at the break.
This game looked to be petering out into a straight-forward Galway victory, but Dublin emerged for the second half with a real pep in their step. Points from a Rian McBride sideline cut and Cian Boland was the perfect start, and when Skehill missed a long delivery half-time sub Paul Winters squeezed the ball over the line from a tight angle.
Dublin still trailed by three points though, but by the 48th minute they were ahead.
Flynn’s free settled Galway after the goal, but they failed to make a further impact on the back of that score. Instead Gilroy’s side hit their second goal of the game and once more Galway looked suspect at the back.
It was Jake Malone’s long delivery into space that freed Winters, but when the Galway defence opened up in front of him he buried a blistering shot into the roof of Skehill’s net.
Still a point behind, it fell to goalkeeper Alan Nolan landed to give Dublin the lead with two long range frees.
Despite Flynn edging Galway ahead again, a Treacy free and a long range Rian McBride point pushed Dublin clear again, but two late points from David Burke and Flynn’s frees rescued Galway.
Scorers – Galway: J Flynn 0-11 (9f); J Cooney, C Whelan & P Mannion 0-3 each; C Cooney & David Burke 0-2 each; S Loftus & C Mannion 0-1 each.
Dublin: P Winters 2-1; D Treacy (3f), R McBride (0-1 sl) 0-4 each; P Ryan 0-3 (0-3f); A Nolan 0-2 (2f); D Sutcliffe, J Malone, S Moran, J Madden & C Boland 0-1 each.
Galway: J Skehill; P Killeen, Daithi Burke, A Harte; P Mannion, G McInerney, J Hanbury; S Loftus, David Burke; J Cooney, N Burke, C Mannion; C Whelan, C Cooney, J Flynn.
Subs – E Burke for Loftus (43), S Cooney for Killeen (50), D Glennon for C Cooney (68), P Brehony for J Cooney (73).
Dublin: A Nolan; P Smyth, C O’Callaghan, E O’Donnell; S Barrett, S Moran, C Crummey; R McBride, T Connolly; J Malone, F McGibb, C Boland; D Treacy, D Sutcliffe, P Ryan.
Subs – E Dillon for Connolly (35), P Winters for Ryan (35), C McBride for Boland (47), J Madden for McGibb (65), J McCaffrey for McBride (73).
Ref: Diarmuid Kirwan (Cork).