Ryan O Dwyer sees red against Galway
In a game that was slow to light up, like an eco-friendly bulb, caught pretty epic heat in Tullamore yesterday as 13-man Dublin defiantly refused all offers of the blindfold and cigarette.
Niall McMorrow’s 90th-minute ’65 earned Anthony Daly’s men a dramatic replay (4.0 next Saturday in Portlaoise) after the sendings-off of Ryan O’Dwyer and Alan McCrabbe in the first-period of extra-time looked to have given a Joe Canning-inspired Galway the edge.
The hits were heavy and in small multiples as Barry Kelly’s penchant for “letting it flow” let some remarkable stuff go in O’Connor Park, to the occasional disbelief of those in the 4,000 attendance and the chagrin of those in the firing line. Daly was particularly incensed with O’Dwyer’s straight red, for what seemed no more than handbags right on the front line of Gallipoli.
Given the ambient temperature, it seemed a remarkable call by Kelly who also sent O’Dwyer to the line (for a second yellow) during Dublin’s clash with Kilkenny last month in Nowlan Park.
“As far as I could see, they both gave a little dunt at each other,” sighed Daly. “But of course the linesmen in front of me said that he only saw the second one. Fellas don’t just turn around and do that. I don’t know, it’s unbelievable.
“It’s happening too often. I’m not saying referees are having it in for him, but he seems to be pulled up very often. I don’t know what it is. Maybe it’s something we’ll have to look at on our side as well. It just seems to be a bit unusual though.” In the broader sense, Daly expressed exasperation at the level of officiating. “Some of the decisions were just hard to believe. Fellas with a hurley wrapped around them after catching a high ball and play on like! Where’s your advantage? I don’t know, I just think somebody needs to sit down and have a look at this thing.
“It’s as if you’re seen as ruining it if you give frees.”
Canning was confirmed as a Galway starter only after training on Thursday night and, after an unconvincing opening half (his first of this league), the Portumna man exploded like a firework show, shooting a remarkable six points from play in the second period.
He did so only when released from the vice-like grip of a Dublin full-back line in which Peter Kelly and the rampant Niall Corcoran both gave day-long exhibitions. At centre-forward, Canning proved unmarkable, hitting a succession of scores, each one an essay in perfect striking. And Galway needed every one. They had opened with a ferocity that was the antithesis of their recent collapse in Kilkenny and, in the first nine minutes alone, Gary Maguire was called upon to save brilliantly from Cyril Donnellan and Damien Hayes.
The physicality of both sides brought a degree of stalemate and neither had hurled with any freedom as they went down the tunnel, Dublin leading 0-9 to 0-7.
Canning’s switch to the ’40’ changed everything. Suddenly, Joey Boland was under pressure and, after a couple of alternatives were tried, Daly recalled Liam Rushe from the attack to try and contain a man now proving elusive as the wind.
Dublin, critically, had goaled four minutes after the resumption, Conor McCormack beating Fergal Flannery at his near post after great work by Simon Lambert. The Canning show had Galway level eight minutes later and, when Johnny Coen pointed in the 54th minute, Galway led for the first time since Damien Hayes’ second-minute opener.
But there is a steel in Daly’s Dublin and, just three minutes later, Corcoran brilliantly cut off a Galway attack, setting in train a movement that culminated with Paul Ryan putting in Ross O’Carroll for another Dublin goal.
Now it was Galway’s turn to locate whatever resided within their ribcages. The game ebbed one way, then the other. Over the next 12 minutes, Ryan, David Treacy, McMorrow and John McCaffrey all had points for Dublin; Canning (two) and Hayes reciprocated for Galway.
Slipping into injury time, the Dubs were three to the good and, seemingly, home.
But two Canning frees set up a grandstand finish and, with 74 minutes on the clock, an Oisin Gough delivery was intercepted by Tony Og Regan who fed Iarla Tannian. There was just one conceivable target and Tannian found it, Canning — now positioned at full-forward — gunning out to the left wing, collecting and supplying a rudimentary finish.
Kelly then came to the fore with his dismissal of O’Dwyer just two minutes into the first period of extra-time and, when McCrabbe was then rightly ordered off for a strike on David Collins, Dublin were — perhaps — ready to invoke memories of ’83 when their footballers beat the same opposition with just a tidy dozen.
In between, McCrabbe had a penalty saved and, when Jonathan Glynn put Galway two to the good in the 85th minute, it looked over. But Daire Plunkett got one back for the Dubs and then McMorrow — with Dublin’s two first-choice free-takers in the stand — nailed the late ’65 to dig out a remarkable escape.
“I’m thrilled,” said Daly. “Thirteen men when all seemed gone, to show that character … ”
His opposite number, Anthony Cunningham, was no less bullish. “That’s as good as a month’s training for us,” he said. “It sets us up for the championship. That was great character from this young team and we’d be looking for the Galway support to get behind them and have patience. It’s not going to be plain sailing.
“I mean we’d be disappointed we didn’t close it out against 13 men, but Dublin are a top-four team. They’re bringing a huge physicality to the game and that’s something we want to emulate.”
Man of the Match: Niall Corcoran (Dublin)
SCORERS — Dublin: P Ryan 0-9 (8f, 1 ’65’), D Sutcliffe 0-3, N McMorrow 0-3 (1f, 1 ’65’), C McCormack, R O’Carroll 1-0 each, A McCrabbe (’65’), J McCaffrey, S Lambert, D Treacy, D Plunkett 0-1 each. Galway: J Canning 0-12 (6f), N Burke 0-5 (4f), D Hayes, C Donnellan 0-2 each, D Burke, C Cooney, J Coen, J Regan, J Glynn 0-1 each.
DUBLIN — G Maguire 8; R Trainor 6, P Kelly 8, N Corcoran 9; P Schutte 7, J Boland 6, S Durkin 7; J McCaffrey 6, M Carton 7; C McCormack 6, R O’Dwyer 6, L Rushe 7; R O’Carroll 6, D Sutcliffe 7, P Ryan 7. Subs: S Lambert 8 for Trainor (25), D Treacy 7 for O’Dwyer (48), A McCrabbe 5 for Carton (55), O Gough 6 for Schutte (60), N McMorrow 8 for McCormack (65), D Plunkett 6 for Ryan (76), R O’Dwyer for McCaffrey (70), M Quilty 7 for Boland (70), P Carton for O’Carroll (85), E Dillon for Treacy (85), (both not on long enough to rate) .
GALWAY — F Flannery 6; K Hynes 7, D Collins 7, G O’Halloran 7; N Donoghue 6, F Moore 7, T Og Regan 8; D Burke 8, B Daly 7; C Cooney 6, N Burke 7, C Donnellan 8; D Glennon 6, J Canning 9, D Hayes 8. Subs: J Coen 7 for Donoghue (31), I Tannian 7 for Daly (h-t), J Regan 6 for Glennon (55), P Brehony 6 for Cooney (59), B Burke 5 for N Burke (68), P Shiel for Hynes (81), J Glynn for B Burke (85), N Burke for D Burke (89) (all not on long enough to rate).
Ref — B Kelly (Westmeath)
– Vincent Hogan