Murphy soaks up glory
Galway boss toasts towering display as Dubs are swept aside
A SOAKED but beaming Mattie Murphy entered the press room under the Cusack Stand and told a story of the last words he uttered to his players before they took to the field.
Dublin were riding high after scooping 6-19 in the semi-final and, in Ciaran Kilkenny, boasted one of the grade's outstanding players.
"We weren't overly worried about reputations," Murphy said. "We had played Dublin in Parnell Park in a challenge and young Kilkenny got three goals against us in the second half.
"I asked the full-back (Paul Killeen) going out how many lads did he know that played in the second half of that match. He said 'four'. And I asked him how many lads were still in the dressing room, and he said 'none'. That's where we were at that stage."
Killeen would go on to put in a superb performance, behind only his Tynagh-Abbey/Duniry clubmates Shane Maloney and Padraig Brehony for the man of the match award.
Dublin boss Shay Boland acknowledged afterwards that his side were slow to get out of the blocks and when Galway drew level on 0-2 each after 10 minutes, they would never be threatened again.
At the short whistle, they were six points (0-10 to 0-4) to the good with Maloney making little of the swirling breeze from placed balls, while at the other end Galway's ability to get in hooks and blocks stunted any Dublin momentum.
"We never really got going at all," Boland commented ruefully. "I have to say we were slow coming out of the blocks. Galway tagged on a few points, it was nip and tuck for a while.
"We conceded a few soft frees and it was always going to be very hard to come back. We went in six points down at half-time which I didn't think was a very fair reflection, but then the scoreboard doesn't lie."
Killeen and centre-back Sean Sweeney were the rocks that many Dublin attacks perished on and that the Dubs managed just two points from play in the first half tells its own story.
The second half saw more of the same and though Boland brought on Donal Gormley for Jamie Desmond, Dublin could do little to stem the tide.
Galway grew in confidence going forward with Brehony untouchable at midfield; he grabbed three second-half points while Maloney continued his impressive scoring rate.
At the other end, Dublin were out of ideas. Kilkenny kept plugging away manfully but to little avail.
Four-goal hero from the semi-final Cormac Costello couldn't impose himself on the game, Paul Winters' scoring was confined to placed balls, while Emmett O Conghaile was well subdued by a dogged Galway defence.
Kilkenny bagged a late goal from a free for Dublin, but that came after Maloney had blasted to the roof of the net as the game ticked into injury-time.
And, while Boland questioned some of the refereeing afterwards, he acknowledged Galway were deserving winners.
"I'll leave that for someone else to comment on but some of the decisions were quite unusual to say the least. They're a very good team, make no mistake about it. If you're beaten, you're beaten and I'd be the first to put my hand up and say it. Galway are a very good team."
Boland is due to stay in charge of Dublin and, with 16 of the Dublin squad eligible for next year, including his son Cian, they'll be a force to be reckoned with. But for the sixth time, the minor title belonged to a Galway side trained by Murphy and, while he didn't commit to a return next year, he admitted he still takes great enjoyment from the grade.
SCORERS -- Galway: S Maloney 1-9 (6f), P Brehony 0-4, J Flynn 0-3, D Higgins, A Tuohy, G O'Donoghue, D Dolan, J Carr 0-1 each. Dublin: C Kilkenny 1-3 (1-1f), P Winters 0-3 (3f), A Clabby 0-2 (1f), C Costello, C Cronin, G Whelan, M McCaffrey 0-1 each
Galway -- S Mannion 7; C Diviney 7, P Killeen 8, P Mannion 8; A Tuohy 7, S Sweeney 8, J Hanbury 7; P Brehony 9, D Higgins 7; J Flynn 7, J Glynn 8, B Lane 7; G O'Donoghue 6, J Carr 6, S Maloney 9. Subs: M Mullins for Hanbury (53), K Cullinane for Higgins (53), D Dolan for O'Donoghue (56), P Flaherty for Carr (59).
Dublin -- C Ryan 7; E Lowndes 6, C O'Callaghan 7, S McClelland 6; C Crummy 7, J Desmond 6, M McCaffrey 6; G Whelan 7, C Cronin 6; C McHugh 6, C Kilkenny 7, A Clabby 6; C Costello 6, E O Conghaile 6, P Winters 6 Subs: D Gormley 6 for Desmond (h-t), O O'Rorke for McHugh (45), C Boland for Winters (52).
Ref -- J Ryan (Tipperary)