Honour intact as Galway footballers push Dublin hard

Galway's Paul Conroy securing possession against Niall Scully of Dublin during Sunday's Allianz Football League Division 1 Final at Croke Park. Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile.


THE effort was honourable . . . laced with honesty and commitment . . . but in the end, it just wasn’t enough to topple the dominant force in Gaelic football for the past half-decade, as Dublin powered their way to a fifth National League title over the last six years.
There were moments in this match when there was just the hint of a Galway victory: the time they sneaked a point ahead early in the second quarter and when they levelled the match twice in the second-half approaching the home straight, but on balance, Dublin were just that bit stronger in key sectors of the pitch, and on the bench too.
Galway gave this match a decent go and if Sunday’s National League final at Croke Park can be taken as a marker for early Summer form, it does pencil in Kevin Walsh’s side as one of a handful of counties in the country able to give a game to the Dubs.
At Pearse Stadium two weeks previously, Galway probably should have beaten the All-Ireland champions based primarily on their goal chance creation ratio, but on Sunday, the Dublin defence had tightened up considerably with Stephen Cluxton largely untroubled over the 70 minutes.
On Sunday, Galway defended with a stubborn mix of doggedness and discipline; their midfield sector – apart from a few critical times in the game – delivered a reasonable return; while the attack, led by Damien Comer, did land some excellent scores.
To beat the Dubs though in their current gait – with a list of super-subs ready to be sprung at vital junctures of any match – the opposition will have to deliver what is close to the perfect performance: stingy in defence, and clinical, to the point of surgical accuracy in attack. A tall order for any side.
Barry McHugh’s pinpoint accuracy from frees; the inspirational scores from play of captain Damien Comer and the turbo powered runs of Shane Walsh, did give Dublin plenty of defensive concerns but the Galway attack just couldn’t carve out the openings that might have set them up for a breakthrough goal or two.

Full coverage in this week’s Connacht Tribune.