Allianz Football League Division 1, round 3
Sunday 30th May 2021. St. Jarlath’s Park, Tuam
Referee: Brian Cawley (Kildare)
Galway 1-15 Dublin 2-16
Given the truncated nature of this season’s league a win for either side would seal a place in the semi-finals. For Dublin a draw would suffice after last weeks shoutout against Kerry. While a defeat would send the loser into a relegation play-off against Armagh or Monaghan.
Prior to the game Galway were dealt a blow when It was revealed that Daimen Comer is set for another spell on the sidelines after picking up a hand injury. Finian Ó Laoi started in the no.26 shirt and Tom Flynn was promoted to the bench. Kieran Molloy started instead of Eammon Brannigan.
Dublin named just a single change in the team announced earlier in the week. Jonny Copper coming into the side for John Small. However, there were more alterations before the ball was thrown in. Michael Sheil started between the posts, while further out the field Pedar O’Coffey Byrne started as did Colm Basquel.
Galway elected to play against a strong wind in the opening half. Peter Cooke got Galway off to a fine start and a Paul Conway effort extended their lead to two. Points from Cormac Costello and a Brain Fenton mark levelled things up. Shortly after Galway spurned a great goal opportunity. Matthew Tieney’s initial effort was blocked and Sean Kelly’s tame effort was stopped on line by Eoin Murchan. Subsequently Niall Scully won a turn-over in midfield and a few phases later Colm Basqual level the game at two apiece.
Robert Finnerty and Ciaran Kilkenny exchanged scores, before a Shane Walsh 45’ gave Galway a single point lead at the first water break.
Water break: Galway 0-04 Dublin 0-03
Cormac Costello levelled things up again on the restart. Colm Basquel’s second of the day edged Dublin ahead for the first time. Galway, however, responded quickly, to restore parity with a Shane Walsh free. It just crept over the bar, off the hands of Dublin keeper Michael Sheil.
A super point from the left hand side from Kilkenny nudged the Dubs back in front once more. Then Jonny Cooper dragged a shot across the face of goal for an uncharacteristic wide. Con O’Callaghan extended Dublin’s lead, as the black clouds descended in Tuam. However, a few light drops of rain never developed into the shower that threatened.
The same could be said of the game, as when Dublin eased into a two point lead, they failed to kick-on. A Shane Walsh 45′ after Robert Finnerty’s initial effort was blocked cut the gap to a single score. A fine turnover from Jack Glynn led to a sparkling break from Shane Walsh. The Kilkerrin/Clonberne man took the ball from deep and ran 40 yards, to kick a fine score to level matters. Cormac Costello edged Dublin ahead again after a disputed point. The Tuam venue lacked the technology to verify Bernard Powers vocal claims that the ball had sailed wide. No hawk eye here Sham!
Referee Brendan Cawley of Kildare brandished the first yellow of the day to Peadar O’Coffey Byrne for a frontal foul on Peter Cooke. Shane Walsh’s free levelled it up again at the break.
Half-time: Galway 0-08 Dublin 0-08
Dublin, as they have done so many times before, took over in the third quarter. From the restart the held the ball around the edge of the 45’ yard line for almost three minutes. They poked and probed for an opening, before Cormac Costello kicked them back in front. That slender lead soon grew to four points. As from the resulting kick-out Bernard Power failed to find a Galway shirt. The ball was worked back in to Niall Scully. His initial effort was stopped by Power, however, Con O’Callaghan was on hand to tap home.
Galway tried to cut the arrears. Cormac Costello and Shane Walsh traded scores twice. Costello fisted over one of those, while both of Walsh’s came from placed balls. Con O’Callaghan landed another score prior to the water break.
Second water break: Galway 0-11 Dublin 1-13
On resumption of play Dylan McHugh and Brian Fenton exchanged scores. Galway found an avenue back into the game with a lightning quick counter-attack goal. A Ciarán Kilkenny fisted effort came back off the upright at the Tierboy end of the ground. Kieran Molloy reacted quickest and carried the ball out to the left sideline, a swift kick pass found Paul Conroy. Who, in turn, boomed the ball into the edge of the square at the town end. Matthew Tierney got in behind Jonny Cooper and flicked the ball past Sheil in the Dublin goal.
A Cormac Costello free at the other end made the margin three points again. A ninth point from Walsh narrowed that lead. Then Ciarán Kilkenny fisted over again to restore Dublin’s margin again with ten to go.
Kieran Molloy was booked for a drag back on the almost un-markable Kilkenny. Cormac Costello uncharacteristically blazed the free wide. Peter Cooke kicked a fine point to give Galway hope with five to go. It was Cooke’s last act, as Tom Flynn was introduced off the bench before the kickout.
Both managers introduced plenty of fresh legs for the last five minutes. Possession was squandered by both teams before late in injury time one of the Dublin subs, Aaron Byrne rifled a bullet of a shot from the lefthand side into the top right-hand corner of the net to add a gloss to the scoreline from a Dublin perspective. A Shane Walsh free left the final margin at four points. Dublin now advance to a semi-final against Donegal, while Galway must travel to Inniskean to face Monaghan in a relegation decider.
Full-time: Galway 1-15 Dublin 2-16
Galway: 1.Bernard Power, 2.Sean Kelly, 3.Seán Mulkerrin, 4.Jack Glynn, 5.Liam Silke, 6 Dylan McHugh (0-1), 20.Kieran Molloy, 8.Peter Cooke (0-2), 9.Paul Conroy (0-1), 10.Paul Kelly, 26. Finian Ó Laoi, 12.Eamonn Brannigan, 13.Matthew Tierney (1-0), 14.Shane Walsh (0-10: 4f,4 45′), 15.Robert Finnerty (0-1).
Subs: 12.Eammon Brannigan (for Paul Kelly 45′), 16.Connor Gleeson, 17.Johnny Duane (Molloy 64′), 18. Gary O’Donnell, 19. Ciaran Potter (Glynn inj. 45′) , 21.Mattius Barrett (O’Laoi 52′), 22.Ronan Steede, 23.Liam Costello, 24.Dessie Connelly, 25.Tomo Culhane (Finnerty 60′), 26.Tomas Flynn (Cooke 64′).
Dublin: 16.Michael Shiel, 2.Michael Fitzsimons, 3.David Byrne, 22.Eric Lowndes, 4.Séan MacMahon, 5.Eoin Murchan, 6. Jonny Cooper, 7.Robert McDaid, 8.Brian Fenton(0-2,1m), 9.James McCarthy, 11.Con O’Callaghan (1-3), 12.Niall Scully, 17.Colm Basquel (0-2), 14.Ciarán Kilkenny, 15.Cormac Costello (0-6,1f).
Subs: 1.Evan Comerford, 7.Robert McDaid (McMahon,10.Tom Lahiff (Cooper 70′) , 18.Ryan Basquel, 19.Seán Bulger (O Cofaigh Byrne 50′), 20.Aaron Byrne (1-0), 21.Brian Howard, 23.Philip McMahon, 24.Dara Mullin (Scully 65′), 25.Cian Murphy, 26.Peadar Ó Cofaigh Byrne.