Galway 1-21 Dublin 0-15
By Paul Keane at Parnell Park
A worthwhile trip to the capital for Galway who overcame a slow start at Parnell Park to eventually streak past Dublin and through to the Walsh Cup final.
Back to back wins means that even if Henry Shefflin’s men lose against Antrim next weekend, they will still make it through to the Croke Park final at the end of the month.
It has been a useful January so far for the 2022 All-Ireland semi-finalists who, according to Shefflin, are on the lookout for talent and are trying their hardest to uncover it.
Evan Niland, who top scored with seven points, is well known at this stage though Declan McLoughlin shone a light over his name with the late goal that applied some gloss to the nine-point win.
Galway made eight substitutions in all with Tom Monaghan proving a strong performer when he came on while Ronan Murphy from the Tommy Larkins club began the game and registered 0-3. Old hands Gearoid McInerney and Jason Flynn were steady too.
Dublin, managed by former All-Ireland winning Galway boss Micheal Donoghue, struggled for any sort of penetration up front throughout the game and slumped to their first defeat of the season.
It was virtually an entirely new Dublin team from the side that lined out against Antrim in last weekend’s 3-26 to 2-22 Round 1 win, also at Parnell Park.
Naomh Barrog’s Joe Flanagan, who struck 0-14 in that game, was the only player retained with the likes of 2022 captain Eoghan O’Donnell, Andrew Dunphy beside him in the full-back line, Fergal Whitely and Conor Burke all making their seasonal debuts.
O’Donnell, who closed out the 2022 inter-county season as a Dublin footballer, was stationed at full-back throughout and marked a series of Galway players as the visiting forward line rotated positions throughout.
As for Galway, they went with all but four of the starting team from the Round 1 demolition of Westmeath; Jack Grealish, Tiernan Killeen, Jason Flynn and Brian Concannon coming into the team.
It was a largely experimental Galway team in general with Grealish, Flynn and Concannon the only starters from last July’s All-Ireland semi-final defeat to Limerick retained in the starting lineup.
In cold conditions on a heavy pitch, it was a tough watch initially with the same amount of wides in the first-half, 13, as scores.
Cian O’Sullivan came on for the apparently injured Andrew Jamieson-Murphy and it was O’Sullivan’s second point of the half deep into stoppage time that gave Dublin a 0-07 to 0-06 half-time lead.
Flanagan, fresh from a strong debut performance against Antrim, struck three of those Dublin points, all from placed balls.
Niland contributed four of Galway’s six points in the opening half with all of those coming from placed balls.
The highlight of the half was arguably O’Donnell’s huge hit on Flynn in the 25th minute. Concannon played in Flynn but the big forward’s run towards goal was unceremoniously halted by a shuddering shoulder from O’Donnell. Dublin eventually won a free-out and a minor melee ensued though no cards were issued.
Dublin didn’t exactly collapse in the second – they played at about the same level and actually yielded a point more than their first-half tally.
It was just that Galway upped the ante, reeling off bursts of three and then five points in a row to open up a 0-15 to 0-10 lead after 55 minutes.
Dublin lacked punch going forward, as well as any sort of killer final pass, and their only second-half score from play came in the 76th minute from Conor Donoghue.
Galway, meanwhile, found scores easier to come by and Tom Monaghan impressed when he came on, scoring 0-2, while Ronan Murphy finished with 0-3.
Donal O’Shea moved onto the frees after Niland’s 60th minute withdrawal and Portumna man McLoughlin snatched his goal in stoppage time after a searching ball in from Sean O’Hanlon squirmed into his path on the left.
Scorers for Galway: Evan Niland 0-7 (0-7f), Donal O’Shea 0-4 (0-2f), Declan McLoughlin 1-0, Ronan Murphy 0-3, Jason Flynn 0-2, Brian Concannon 0-2, Tom Monaghan 0-2, John Cooney 0-1.
Scorers for Dublin: Joe Flanagan 0-10 (0-9f, 0-1 65), Cian O’Sullivan 0-2, Andrew Jamieson-Murphy 0-1, Andrew Dunphy 0-1, Conor Donoghue 0-1.
Galway: Darach Fahy; Jack Grealish, Jack Fitzpatrick, Eoin Lawless; Tiernan Killeen, Gearoid McInerney, TJ Brennan; Ronan Murphy, Sean Linnane; John Cooney, Jason Flynn, Donal O’Shea; Evan Niland, Brian Concannon, Martin McManus.
Subs: Darren Morrissey for Lawless 14-18 blood, Tom Monaghan for Linnane 41-44 blood, Monaghan for Linnane 51, Morrissey for Fitzpatrick 51, Gavin Lee for Murphy 57, Mark Kennedy for Niland 60, Cian Mahony for Lawless 65, Declan McLoughlin for Concannon 67, Shane Ryan for Brennan 69, Sean O’Hanlon for Cooney 69.
Dublin: Sean Brennan; Mark Grogan, Eoghan O’Donnell, Andrew Dunphy; Conor Donoghue, Conor Burke, Paddy Doyle; James Madden, Donal Leavy; Sean Currie, Joe Flanagan, Fergal Whitely; Alex Considine, Paul Crummey, Andrew Jamieson-Murphy.
Subs: Cian O’Sullivan for Murphy 21, Cillian Costello for Leavy h/t, Daire Gray for Grogan 41, Diarmuid O Dulaing for Considine h/t, Chris O’Leary for Currie 49, Liam Murphy for Whitely 53, Glenn Whelan for Crummey 59.
Referee: Patrick Murphy (Carlow).