FROM a distance, it might appear that Galway are set on cruise control mode in Division 1B of the National Hurling League, but the reality is quite different, and on Sunday at Parnell Park, the All-Ireland champions had to withstand quite a hefty challenge from Dublin before coming away with the league points.
When Galway stretched into a 0-13 to 0-4 lead late in the first half, the majority of the estimated crowd of 3,500 had assumed that the contest had drawn to an early conclusion, but Dublin staged the most spirited of fightbacks that had them right back in contention 15 minutes after half-time.
Dublin might have been excused for feeling down in the dumps after shipping heavy enough defeats to Offaly and Limerick in previous rounds, but on Sunday in the tight confines of the Donnycarney venue, they set out to deliver a morale boosting display.
In the end, two of the attributes that held Galway in good stead during their trailblazing run in last year’s league and championship campaigns, saw them through this tough encounter: namely their ability to pick off points from long range and a decent vein of physical power in key central positions.
Galway made three changes from their programme line-out with Jack Grealish coming in for Aidan Harte; Jason Flynn taking over from Joseph Cooney at centre-forward; and Brian Concannon in for Davy Glennon at top-of-the-left.
Of that ‘new trio’, it was Jason Flynn who went on to have the biggest impact on the outcome of the match, peppering the Dublin posts nine times from play and frees whilst also delivering his side’s sole goal strike at a critical juncture of the match.
The Tommy Larkins’ clubman ranged freely across the Galway attack getting very solid support in the first-half scoring stakes from the Mannion brothers – Pádraic and Cathal – as Dublin reeled under an early points blitz by Micheál Donoghue’s charges.
Full report in this week’s Connacht Tribune