Galway U-20s suffer a shock loss to Dublin in Portlaoise

Dublin 4-17

Galway 0-20

EVEN the greatest sporting shrinks in the world would have trouble dissecting what happened to the Galway U-20 hurlers in the Leinster semi-final at O’Moore Park, Portlaoise last Wednesday evening.

No matter how hard we try to dress it up, a 25-point turnaround in the space of less than five weeks is an unacceptable fate for what are supposed to be the rising stars of Galway hurling.

There is significant mitigation – three key players were injured, and Galway had to cope with over a month of competitive inactivity – but going from beating Dublin by 16 points on April 13 to losing by nine on May 15 is simply mind-boggling.

It is now beyond doubt that the county’s production line of talented players has at least stalled. With no All-Ireland title at this level since 2011, together with a frustrating failure to develop championship winning minor teams, the outlook for Galway hurling is arguably gloomier than at any stage over the past 30 years.

This semi-final was a contest in which the wearers of maroon were never comfortable. Rocked by the concession of a goal inside 20 seconds, Galway were always on the backfoot. They never led in a match which was far too liberally refereed by Wexford’s Eamon Furlong, while also lacking cohesion and sharpness.

Tactically, Galway were found wanting. With Darragh Walsh’s long puck-outs being repeatedly gobbled up by Dublin – and especially their terrific sweeper Brendan Kenny – it was baffling why little attempt was made to work the ball through the lines.

Individually, Galway had strong moments from wing back Cillian Whelan and Matthew Tarpey, who both scored three points, while Cullen Killeen shaped well at times too, but the team might have been better served if centre-back Rory Burke was utilised in a more natural forward role.

Corner back Joshua Ryan was tidy on the ball although he was partially indictable for the ease in which David Purcell broke through Galway’s cover along the endline for Dublin’s second goal in the seventh minute.

Pictured: Galway attacker Cullen Killeen is about to be tackled by Dublin’s Jack Behan during the Leinster U-20 hurling semi-final in Portlaoise last Wednesday. Photo: Joe Keane.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune:

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app

The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

More like this:

Sign Up To get Weekly Sports UPDATES

Go Up