Joe Canning, Adrian Tuohey and Johnny Coen sat out this game, and Galway had plenty of trouble finding a way to a fourth championship win of the summer against a brave Dublin at Pearse Stadium.
Micheál Donoghue’s troops added Dublin’s scalp to their championship collection as Jason Flynn’s 11 points got the home side over the line in the face of a brave Dublin comeback.
Sub Paul Winters hit two goals after his half-time introduction and with Rian McBride excellent at midfield Dublin worked their way into the lead with time running out, only for David Burke and Flynn to point Galway to the win.
This was an excellent performance from Pat Gilroy’s side, who led with six minutes remaining and were level twice after that, only for Flynn to deny them with a late, late free.
For Galway, instead of a tepid dead rubber, Donoghue’s side needed to show their fighting qualities for the first time this summer, and with Kilkenny waiting in the final they passed with flying colours.
Joseph Cooney wasted little time starting the scoring for the Tribesmen, and after Paul Ryan hit Dublin’s first point – he had already missed a free and was relieved of the duties before the break – Sean Loftus and Conor Whelan gave Galway a 0-3 to 0-1 lead by the sixth minute.
With Fiontan McGibb impressive up front Dublin kept in touch with Ryan and Rian McBride on target, but the home side hit four in a row between the 15th and 20th minutes to take control.
While he didn’t score in the opening half Niall Burke made an impact – he was one of four changes to the starting line-up – and it was his quick free in the 16th minute that gave Joseph Cooney and easy score for the Tribesmen.
Ryan and Danny Sutcliffe hit back to Dublin to trim the lead to three points, but with Ryan off target with a couple of frees, Galway hit four more points without reply to work their way into a 0-16 to 0-9 lead.
This game looked to be petering out into a straight forward Galway vitory, but Dublin emerged for the second half with a real pep in their step. Points from a Rian McBride sideline cut and Cian Boland was the perfect start, and when Skehill missed a long delivery half-time sub Paul Winters squeezed the ball over the line from a tight angle.
Dublin still trailed by three point though, but by the 48th minute they were ahead.
Flynn’s free settled Galway after the goal, but they failed to make a further impact on the back of that score. Instead Gilroy’s side hit their second goal of the game and once more Galway looked suspect at the back.
It was Jake Malone’s long delivery into space that freed Winters, but when the Galway defence opened up in front of him he buried a blistering shot into the roof of Skehill’s net.
Still a point behind, it fell to goalkeeper Alan Nolan landed to give Dublin the lead with two long range frees .
Despite Flynn edging Galway ahead again, a Treacy free and a long range Rian McBride point pushed Dublin clear again, but two late points from David Burke and Flynn’s frees rescued Galway.
Galway: James Skehill; Paul Killeen, Daithi Burke, Aidan Harte; Padraic Mannion (0-03), Gearoid McInerney, John Hanbury; Sean Loftus (0-01), David Burke (0-02); Joseph Cooney (0-03), Niall Burke, Cathal Mannion (0-01); Conor Whelan (0-03), Conor Cooney (0-02), Jason Flynn (0-11, 0-09f).
Subs used: Eanna Burke for Loftus (44), Shane Cooney for Killeen (50), Davy Glennon for Conor Cooney (68), Padraig Brehony for Joseph Cooney (70+3).
Dublin: Alan Nolan (0-02, 0-02f); Paddy Smyth, Cian O'Callaghan, Eoghan O'Donnell; Shane Barrett, Sean Moran (0-01), Chris Crummey; Rian McBride (0-04, 0-01 sl), Tomas Connolly; Jake Malone (0-01), Fiontan McGibb, Cian Boland (0-01); David Treacy (0-04, 0-03f), Danny Sutcliffe (0-01), Paul Ryan.
Subs used: Eamon Dillon for Paul Ryan (HT), Paul Winters (2-01) for Connolly (HT), Cian McBride for Boland (48), James Madden (0-01) for McGibb (66), John McCaffrey for McBride (70+3).
Referee: Diarmuid Kirwan (Cork).