Keaney and O'Dwyer's firepower adds potent piece to Dublin jigsaw
Walsh Cup semi-finals
Dublin had lots of reasons to be cheerful after Saturday evening's impressive victory over Galway.
They'd shown great spirit and no little ability to win despite having to play with 14 men for the second half, and new recruits Conal Keaney and Ryan O'Dwyer have made them a more potent team.
Keaney will get sharper with more game time, but his free-taking ability and sheer physical presence is already making a difference, while O'Dwyer may well be the dynamic centre-forward Dublin have been crying out for.
Not only did he win a mountain of ball on Saturday, he also contributed 1-3 from play to prove he is skilful as well as rugged.
"The lads showed an awful lot of heart when we went down to 14 men," said Dublin selector Richie Stakelum. "The morale in the panel is great. Everyone is very motivated and I think that's because the addition of players like Conal Keaney and Ryan O'Dwyer has increased competition for places."
Down the hall the Galway dressing-room was a much less self-satisfied place. "We're not going to dress it up by saying it's only a Walsh Cup semi-final, it was disappointing to lose against 14 men," manager John McIntyre said. "Our decision making on the field was shambolic."
John McCaffrey was red-carded just before the break for an overhead pull and it came just after Dublin had seen a six-point lead reduced to the minimum.
Dublin took the match to Galway again in the second half but were twice pegged back by goals from Iarlaith Tannion. His second came shortly after Ryan O'Dwyer had scored a goal himself for Dublin and it put Galway a point ahead with a couple of minutes to play.
Dublin weren't to be denied, though, and it was telling that their match winners were former county footballers Keaney and Shane Ryan. It's very early days yet, but this Dublin team is coming together nicely.
Scorers -- Dublin: C Keaney 0-8 (7f, 1 sl), R O'Dwyer 1-3, P Carton, S Ryan 0-3 each, J McCaffrey 0-2 ( 1 '65), C McCormack 0-1. Galway: I Tannian 2-0, E Ryan 1-2, G Farragher 0-5 (2f), T Og Regan 0-3 (3f), N Cahalan, J Coen, D Burke 0-1.
Dublin -- G Maguire; S Lambert, S Hiney, R Treanor; N Corcoran, J Boland, S Durkan; J McCaffrey, M O'Brien; C McCormack, R O'Dwyer, S Ryan; D O'Callaghan, C Keaney, P Carton. Subs: D Plunkett for D O'Callaghan (53), D O'Dwyer for C McCormack (57), L Ryan for R O'Dwyer (72).
Galway -- J Grealish; D Collins, J Lee, D Hayes; D Barry, T Og Regan, A Culllinane; N Cahalan, J Coen; G Farragher, K Kilkenny, A Smith; I Tannian, E Ryan, N Healy. Subs: D Burke for K Kilkenny (42), A Callanan for N Cahalan (55).
Ref -- B Kelly (Westmeath).