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big win Dublin pull off inspired show to shock Galway and take deserved place in Leinster SHC final

Dublin 1-18 Galway 1-14

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Chris Crummey shoots to score Dublin's first goal, despite pressure from Galway's Fintan Burke, during the Leinster Senior Hurling Championship semi-final at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile

Chris Crummey shoots to score Dublin's first goal, despite pressure from Galway's Fintan Burke, during the Leinster Senior Hurling Championship semi-final at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile

Chris Crummey shoots to score Dublin's first goal, despite pressure from Galway's Fintan Burke, during the Leinster Senior Hurling Championship semi-final at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile

It tends to be when you least expect them that Dublin produce these seismic upsets.

And it’s true to say that expectation was not something with which Dublin were overburdened with going into this All-Ireland SHC.

Now they’re back in a Leinster final, their first in seven years, after doing a job on Galway, many people’s tip for Liam MacCarthy, in Croke Park.

For all Galway’s errant first half shooting, Dublin’s win was absolutely merited.

They controlled the closing moments of this game. They responded to the winding blow of a Galway goal with one of their own.

They defended both methodically and heroically.

The first half was gripping only for those who like their hurling hard and low-scoring.

The wind swirled in Croke Park, but that couldn’t fully explain Galway’s inability to score in the first half or their reluctance to shoot from distance.

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A general view of action during the Leinster GAA Hurling Senior Championship semi-final match between Dublin and Galway at Croke Park recently. Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile

A general view of action during the Leinster GAA Hurling Senior Championship semi-final match between Dublin and Galway at Croke Park recently. Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile

A general view of action during the Leinster GAA Hurling Senior Championship semi-final match between Dublin and Galway at Croke Park recently. Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile

Joe Canning, the man perched on immortality – just 12 points shy of Henry Shefflin’s championship scoring record before the game – was particularly culpable.

Eventually, he was the man who got Galway moving. But by half-time, he could have had Shefflin in his wing mirrors.

Say what you want about Canning’s performance in the first half today, but there was great variety in his first half misses.

He had two goal efforts saved by Alan Nolan. He hit two wides from play, two from ‘65s, one free and one from a line ball.

Galway used him to try and lure Eoghan O’Donnell out from Dublin’s goal but Mattie Kenny’s team stayed stoically in their defensive positions, picking up whichever Galway attacker happened to float into their orbit.

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It meant that Galway could force occasional mismatches. But also, that Dublin always had players in position, protecting the goal.

Nolan, meanwhile, was doing a fine job of that all by himself.

Other than the two Canning efforts – from Galway’s first two attacks of the match – he tipped another from Joseph Cooney into safety late in the half as Dublin lulled.

Mostly, the defences were on top.

Dublin had plenty of decent possession in potentially fertile territory but mostly came out beaten in their duels with the Galway defenders.

Shane Cooney and Darren Morrissey were particularly impressive in that regard.

At full-back, Gearóid McInerney was stuck to Ronan Hayes, ensuring Dublin’s inside danger man won no ball clean and then, more often than not, coming out of the subsequent ruck with possession.

And yet, for all that, Dublin were still able to work enough scores from long range to work a lead.

Daire Gray, as he has done all year, scored superb long range efforts from his sweet spot on the left wing.

Riain McBride hit another from range.

And so at the break, we were left in the bizarre scenario of Dublin, despite not having played particularly well, leading by two points – 0-8 to 0-6.

Galway meanwhile, had clocked 12 wides.

The thinking in Croke Park at that stage was there had been a glitch in the matrix.

A kink in the expected outcome that would quickly be worked out.

By the 40th minute, Dublin had stretched their lead out to five points. The shock was on.

Or so it seemed until Conor Whelan’s goal.

All afternoon, Whelan looked the likeliest man to cut loose.

In fairness, he finished his chance well in the 43rd minute. But the vision and the pass from Cathal Mannion that set it up were sublime.

Again, we assumed Galway would use their bounce to jump clear.

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Dublin's Danny Sutcliffe in action against Pádraic Mannion of Galway. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

Dublin's Danny Sutcliffe in action against Pádraic Mannion of Galway. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

Dublin's Danny Sutcliffe in action against Pádraic Mannion of Galway. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

But after Éanna Murphy smothered Hayes’ shot, Dublin’s best goal chance of the match, they methodically worked another.

Oisín O’Rorke, in his first involvement since replacing Cian O’Sullivan, found possession in a pocket of space in the corner.

Hayes instinctively took his man away from goal, leaving Chris Crummey space to amble into.

O’Rorke’s cross was the perfect height and weight. Crummey narrowed his angle with a step to the right but squeezed a shot inside the post.

Dublin were clear.

If they were looking for signs fate would conspire against them, the loss of Eoghan O’Donnell to a hamstring injury was probably a persuasive one.

But they kept Galway at a safe distance.

Sutcliffe was immense hammering over two huge scores to calm them.

In defence, they were solid and composed and more than a match for Galway’s vaunted attack.

And against all expectations, the way they tend to pull off these hijackings, Dublin are back in a Leinster final.

Scorers – Dublin: D Burke 0-6 (4f), C Crummey 1-0, D Sutcliffe 0-3, D Gray 0-2, A Nolan (f), C Burke, R McBride, C Boland, C O’Sullivan 0-1 each. Galway: J Canning 0-6 (4f, 1 ’65), C Whelan 1-2, E Niland (1f) 0-2, P Mannion, C Mannion, C Cooney, A Harte 0-1 each.

Dublin: A Nolan; P Smyth, E O’Donnell, C O’Callaghan; D Gray, L Rushe, J Madden; R McBride, C Burke; D Burke, C Crummey, D Sutcliffe; C Boland, R Hayes, C O’Sullivan. Subs: M Schutte for Boland (31 inj), O O’Rorke for O’Sullivan (52), A Dunphy for O’Donnell (58 inj), J Malone for Madden (68), P Crummey for C Crummey (72), F Whitey for Hayes (75).

Galway: E Murphy; S Cooney, G McInerney, D Morrissey; F Burke, D Burke, P Mannion; S Loftus, C Mannion; J Canning, C Cooney, A Touhy; J Cooney, C Whelan, B Concannon. Subs: David Burke for Touhey (34), E Niland for Loftus (h-t), TJ Brennan for F Burke (57), A Harte for J Cooney (61), N Burke for C Cooney (67).

Referee: J Murphy (Limerick).

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