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Tribe and capital draw in game of two halves

Shane Stapleton reflects on a topsy-turvy clash between Dublin and Galway at Croke Park in the Leinster SHC

Shane Stapleton reflects on a topsy-turvy clash between Dublin and Galway at Croke Park in the Leinster SHC.

Dublin 2-22 Galway 2-25, Leinster SHC
Croke Park rocked like a suspension bridge in a stormy clash as Galway drew with Dublin.

The capital held a 12-point lead after 43 minutes — 2-19 to 0-13 — but then one of three things happen: Dublin collapsed, Galway staged a fightback, or it was bit of both.

The Dubs needed to win with something to spare to qualify for the Leinster final but it will now be Kilkenny against the Tribe.

Micheal Donoghue will have been frustrated with a string of soft frees and a penalty that went to his native county, but pleased that they twice equalised late on when a punishing defeat stared them in the face.

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Henry Shefflin, who had strong words at the break, might have wondered who these imposters were in maroon shirts in the first half, but they stood up down the stretch.

Dublin were gifted two goals in the first half but there was little doubt which team was holding the whip hand.

Donoghue made some interesting switches by putting Donal Burke in the full-forward line and rezoning Eoghan O’Donnell in the half-backs.

By half time, Burke had six points on the board (two from play) and could have had more, while O’Donnell popped over two before the interval.

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Nine Dubs had brackets after their name by then, and Mark Grogan was arguably their most impressive performer in midfield.

The Kilmacud Crokes man, who would normally be known as more of a defender, is in his first year as a Dublin senior, and you can understand why his club made him captain while still a teenager.

He is one of four players in the first championship season alongside Paddy Doyle (a DCU fresher), Conor Donohoe, and Cork native Chris O’Leary, while Sean Currie has only ever played a couple of minutes in the past.

Perhaps mentality was costing Galway, along with the absence of Cathal Mannion, and it was only a coupe of years ago when many of this same team were trying to force goal efforts from early doors in another loss.

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Is there a superiority complex within the Tribe when the play against Dublin, a side supposedly not full of natural hurlers? If there is, Galway needed to wake up and realise they had lost two of their last three meetings.

It’s becoming an issue for Shefflin seeing his side falling behind and having to climb a mountain. Six behind on Kilkenny and double that here, but to be fair they do not back off.

Dublin had created 31 scoring chances in the first period but were restricted to just 12 after the interval; after hitting 2-16, it dropped to 0-6 in the final 35 minutes.

Conor Cooney was well off the pace throughout and had a penalty brilliantly saved by Sean Brennan on 46 minutes, while Jason Flynn brought more pace to the attack after his introduction.

Daithi Burke came forward from centre-back to find the net on 51 minutes to reduce the gap to six points, and suddenly the momentum was with the visitors.

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Kevin Cooney, Tom Monaghan, Evan Niland (who really came into the game), Joseph Cooney (0-5) and goalkeeper Eanna Murphy (free) all landed scores down the stretch for the Tribe.

Danny Sutcliffe was excellent for the Dubs and so too Donal Burke, but they struggled to find a way to halt the Tribal march.

Should they want to make an impact in the back door, they will need to play for 70 minutes.

For Galway, this was the proverbial kick up the backside, and their manager again has a stick to beat them with despite a comeback. Conor Cooney and Conor Whelan were both taken off at Nowlan Park and again didn’t impress.

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Should these two find their top gear, they have a side capable of being a big threat.

On a side note, Hawk-Eye again returning a ‘data not available’ result for a scoring chance in the first half again begs the question of whether this system is fit for purpose.

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