All-Ireland SFC semi-final: Ruthless Dublin power through

August 11, 2018

Dublin's Jack McCaffrey gathers possession ahead of Galway's Johnny Heaney ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne

A devastating second half performance saw Dublin cruise past Galway by 1-24 to 2-12 in today's clash at Croke Park.

Just two points separated the sides at half time and Galway would have felt they should have been ahead at the break as they missed a penalty midway through that opening half.

However, they came out in the second half and hit 0-15, while their defence got on top of Ian Burke, Damien Comer and Shane Walsh to cut out any threat to them.

Dublin started brightly and raced into a 0-03 to 0-00 lead by the fourth minute and already there were question marks about Galway.

Nonetheless, what looked like a harmless long ball in was met by Damien Comer's fist who guided the ball past a stranded Stephen Cluxton and into the empty net.

It was just the score that the Tribesmen needed at this stage as Dublin were already beginning to turn the screw. To their credit though, Galway hit the next score to go ahead.

Then in the ninth minute, Galway were awarded a penalty as Comer was fouled by Johnny Cooper in the small square. Surprisingly, it was Eamonn Brannigan who has never scored a goal in the championship, stepped up to take the penalty, his low shot was well saved by Cluxton who redeemed himself from his earlier error.

Two Dublin points came in between two missed frees for Galway as the defending champions started to put their foot on the gas. 

Galway looked like the lack ideas in the forward line, but up stepped Ian Burke to take the game by the scruff of the neck. The Corofin clubman had earlier won a couple of frees before he popped over two points in the opening half and generally gave his marker Eoin Murchin a torrid time.

The sides were back level by the 24th minute and it was Burke who was the instigator of their comeback, but they suffered a blow a minute later as Niall Scully soloed in along the end line and laid the ball on a plate to the incoming Con O'Callaghan who palmed the ball to the net.

Galway outscored their opponents by 0-03 to 0-01 for the remained of the half to go in trailing by just 1-09 to 1-07 at the break.

Damien Comer punches in Galway's goal against Dublin during the first-half

Dublin scored four out of the first five points in the second half and already the signs looked ominous for Galway who looked tired.

By the 58th minute, the lead was seven points and even at this stage there was no way back for the Connacht outfit as some of their supporters started to leave the grounds.

Dublin showed their strength in depth by bringing on the likes of Michael Dara Macauley, Paul Flynn, Cormac Costello, Kevin McMenamon, Michael Fitzsimons and Dara Daly, all of who contributed handsomely.

One of the players to be replaced was the outstanding Jack McCaffrey who put Galway on the backfoot a number of times, creating a few Dublin scores.

Walsh managed to fire a late goal for Galway, but the Dubs were long home and hosed at this stage.

Galway opened the scoring inside the first minute as Paul Mannion cut in from the right and slotted over before Dean Rock scored two points from frees.

Comer's goal was followed by a Shane Walsh free to edge Galway into the lead, but the impressive Brian Howard weaved his way through the Galway defence to tap over a good score.

The penalty miss seems to spur Dublin and they kicked the next two points as Kilkenny and Brian Fenton both hit the target, which was followed by another converted Rock free.

Galway had gone eleven minutes without a score before Burke kicked his first of the day to make it 0-07 to 0-02 by the 21st minute.

Two Walsh frees  had the sides level, but O'Callaghan's goal restored Dublin's three-point lead a minute later. Burk then kicked his second point.

Kilkenny and Mannion's scores were cancelled out by Walsh and Johnny Heaney's efforts just before the break.

The second half saw Mannion, O'Callaghan, Kilkenny and Rock (free) all score either side of a Tom Flynn score for Dublin.

That opened a 1-13 to 1-08 lead by the 49th minute. Substitute Michael Daly responded for Galway, but Rock cancelled that score out with a point from play.

Galway looked dead on their feet as Dublin's subs lead by the hugely talented Costello moved 1-19 to 1-10 ahead by the 65th minute.

To their credit, the Tribesmen battled away and scored 1-02 before the final whistle, but the Dublin army marches on as the dream for a four in a row continues.

Dublin - S Cluxton; E Murchan, C O'Sullivan, P McMahon; J Cooper, J Small, J McCaffrey; B Fenton (0-2), J McCarthy; N Scully, C Kilkenny (0-3), B Howard (0-1); C O'Callaghan (1-3), D Rock (0-5, 4f), P Mannion (0-4). Subs: M Fitzsimons for C O'Sullivan, C Costello (0-3, 1f) for N Scully, K McManamon (0-2) for D Rock, M D Macauley for E Murchan, D Daly for J Small, P Flynn (0-1) for J McCaffrey.

Galway -  R Lavelle; D Kyne, S A O Ceallaigh, E Kerin; C Sweeney, G Bradshaw, J Heaney (0-1); C Duggan, T Flynn (0-1); S Walsh (1-5, 0-3f), S Armstrong, S Kelly; I Burke (0-2), D Comer (1-1), E Brannigan. Subs: M Daly (0-1) for S Armstrong, P Cooke for E Brannigan, G O'Donnell (0-1) for C Sweeney, A Varley for J Heaney, K Molloy for E Kerin, J Duane for G Bradshaw.

Referee - B Cassidy.

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