A handy day’s work for the Galway U-20s in Tullamore

Galway 4-14

Dublin 0-10

ON a formline through Offaly, it was difficult to imagine such a gulf in standard emerging between Galway and Dublin U-20 hurlers at O’Connor Park, Tullamore on Saturday.

Dublin had been slightly unlucky in falling to a one-point defeat against Offaly in the opening round, while Galway needed a late scoring flurry to force a draw in their encounter with the reigning Leinster champions.

When you throw in that the Dubs had edged out Galway in this same competition in Birr 12 months ago, the stage looked set for a tight encounter. Instead, we got something of a mismatch as Fergal Healy’s charges cantered to a 16-point victory.

Galway stepped forward significantly from their clash with Offaly at the same venue a week previously and, once again, they had to contend with a swirling wind which naturally impacted on the quality of action.

If you take Aaron Niland out of the equation, this is not a flashy Galway team, but they are a hard-working outfit, characterised by the likes of the towering Oisín Lohan and half-forward Michael Power, together with midfielder Matthew Tarpey.

That asset will stand to them deeper in the championship – the scale of this win has secured them direct passage to the provincial semi-finals, even if it’s not ideal that the game will be a month away from this fixture.

Little did we realise that Dublin’s best spell would be in the opening seven minutes when they trailed Galway by 0-4 to 0-3 despite facing the strong wind. Using Liam Garrigan as a sweeper, they were moving the ball neatly through the lines, with full-forward David Purcell and midfielder Jamie Conroy swinging over quality points.

Two of Galway’s opening four points came from the strong-starting Diarmuid Davoren, with Niland adding a classy score from play to his second minute long-range free. So far, expectations of a tight affair were being met.

In the eighth minute, however, Niland threw a big spanner in the Dublin works by catching them off-guard when his low effort from a 20m free found the net. Niland did this a lot in his minor days: taking on the hard option with no shortage of success.

Pictured: Galway’s Oisín Lohan comes under pressure from Dublin defender Cathal Kennedy during Saturday’s Leinster U-20 hurling championship clash in Tullamore. Photo: Paul Dargan.

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