Allianz HL D1B: Galway overcome Dublin
Allianz Hurling League Division 1B
GALWAY 1-20 DUBLIN 1-14
By Paul Keane at Parnell Park, Dublin
All-Ireland champions Galway piled on the misery for struggling Dublin at Parnell Park, pulling off an anticipated win to keep their own promotion challenge well on track.
Micheal Donoghue's side rarely hit top gear though still had enough to claim their fourth consecutive win in Division 1B, setting up a winner takes all final round promotion clash with Limerick.
Jason Flynn's 1-9 haul proved decisive in the spring sunshine at the Donnycarney venue where Dublin rallied in the second-half but were were always playing catch up.
Pat Gilroy's side had fought back to within two of the league title holders with 53 minutes on the clock thanks mainly to Paul Winters' free-taking.
But 1-1 from Flynn including a 57th minute goal put the Tribesmen in the clear again and they closed out with four points in a row to win with some to spare.
The result leaves Dublin in a sticky position and they must beat Laois next Sunday in Portlaoise to avoid a relegation play-off and reach a league quarter-final.
In truth, it wasn't a classic contest with Galway registering 15 wides and the quality and intensity is likely to raise a couple of notches when they play Limerick in that promotion decider.
Both sides came into the contest with contrasting records; Galway unsurprisingly defeating Antrim, Laois and Offaly and Dublin claiming their only win in Antrim.
The hosts enjoyed a good record at home against Galway in previous seasons and beat the Tribesmen when they last visited in the league, almost exactly two years ago.
But Dublin have struggled so far under Gilroy and, without the Cuala contingent who are preparing for next month's AIB All-Ireland club final, have lacked a vital cut and thrust.
Bookmakers tipped Galway to win by at least seven points and even without key duo David Burke and Joe Canning they reached that margin by the 24th minute when they led 0-9 to 0-2.
Flynn, one of three late additions to the lineup with Aidan Harte, Joseph Cooney and Davey Glennon making way, scored four of those early points.
Dublin's top scorer Paul Winters converted a couple of frees for them but a four-in-a-row of Galway points left the holders 0-13 to 0-4 clear.
Dublin were in real trouble but grabbed a vital lifeline when they struck 1-1 in first-half injury-time to cut the gap to just 0-13 to 1-5 at the break.
Their goal came from Danny Sutcliffe who fetched superbly in the air and, after a solo run through the middle, shot low to the right corner of Galway's net.
The hosts were better in the second-half and drew a succession of frees that Winters converted though never got closer to Galway than two points.
They were three back with 66 minutes on the clock but Galway finally put the result beyond doubt with points from Flynn, Brian Concannon, Cathal Mannion and Niall Burke.
Scorers for Galway: Jason Flynn 1-9 (0-6f), Cathal Mannion 0-4, Sean Loftus 0-2, Padraig Mannion 0-2, Niall Burke 0-2, Brian Concannon 0-1.
Scorers for Dublin: Paul Winters 0-9 (0-8f, 0-01 65), Danny Sutcliffe 1-1, Fiontan MacGib 0-1, Tomas Connolly 0-1, Ronan Hayes 0-1, Cian Boland 0-1
GALWAY: James Skehill; Adrian Tuohy, John Hanbury, Jack Grealish; Shane Cooney, Gearoid McInerney, Padraig Mannion; Johnny Coen, Sean Loftus; Conor Cooney, Cathal Mannion, Niall Burke; Conor Whelan, Jason Flynn, Brian Concannon. Subs: Davey Glennon for Concannon (12-15), Eanna Burke for Loftus (45), Glennon for Cooney (59).
DUBLIN: Alan Nolan; Paddy Smyth, Bill O'Carroll, Eoghan O'Donnell; Darren Kelly, Chris Crummey, Shane Barrett; Tomas Connolly, Fiontan MacGib; Paul Crummey, Conal Keaney, Danny Sutcliffe; Paul Winters, Ryan O'Dwyer, Ronan Hayes. Subs: Liam Rushe for O'Dwyer (42), Fionn O Riain Broin for P Crummey (47), Cian Boland for Keaney (60), James Madden for Kelly (63), Paul Ryan for Rushe (68).
Referee: John Keenan (Wicklow).