Last-gasp Johnny Heaney point denies Dublin victory against Galway

Galway 0-13 Dublin 0-13

Johnny Heaney rescued a draw for Galway with the last kick of the game today in a pulsating clash with All-Ireland champions Dublin at Pearse Stadium, Salthill, writes Declan Rooney.

The hosts led 0-10 to 0-5 at half-time but Dublin made the most of the strong wind in the second half as Cormac Costello’s injury-time free looked to have won it for Jim Gavin's men before Heaney’s heroics ensured the spoils were shared.

The throw-in was delayed by 10 minutes as the last of the 10,050 strong crowd filtered through the gates of Pearse Stadium but Dublin wasted little time in registering their first score as Ciarán Kilkenny pointed after just eight seconds.

Dean Rock doubled Dublin’s lead with a free on seven minutes before Galway came to life as the hosts kicked five unanswered points in as many minutes.

Barry McHugh got them off the mark with a free in the eighth minute. From the kick-out, Seán Armstrong intercepted a Dublin pass and fed Adrian Varley but his powerful shot went over the bar with only Evan Comerford to beat in the Dublin goal.

A pointed ’45 from McHugh put Galway in front before two brilliant long-range points from Shane Walsh and Peter Cooke put Kevin Walsh’s charges 0-5 to 0-2 up after 13 minutes.

Paddy Andrews stemmed the tide briefly with a well-taken point to bring it back to a two-score game. But two McHugh frees and a point from Gary O’Donnell saw the Tribesmen lead 0-8 to 0-3 with 10 first-half minutes remaining.

Kilkenny was the pick of the Dublin forwards in the first half and he kicked his second point on 32 minutes. Galway responded through McHugh and Cooke before Kilkenny closed the gap to five in injury time.

Dublin had the luxury of the breeze in the second half and points from Rock (free) and the excellent Kilkenny saw them reduce the deficit to three points after 43 minutes.

Galway introduced Eamonn Brannigan and captain Damien Comer in the second half in search of more scores but the hosts spent most of their time defending as Dublin dominated possession.

Jonny Cooper slotted a point from long range on 54 minutes before a free from Paddy Small brought the visitors to within a point of Galway.

Galway needed a response and they duly got one as Comer and O’Donnell both posted inspirational scores from distance to make it 0-12 to 0-9 with nine minutes remaining.

Conor McHugh closed the gap with a free on 67 minutes before Eoghan O’Gara was shown a straight red card for an off-the-ball strike on Seán Andy Ó Ceallaigh.

But their numeric disadvantage mattered little as Costello (2) and Kilkenny looked to have seen Dublin to victory before McHugh fed Heaney for the vital score.

Scorers

Galway: B McHugh 0-5 (0-3f, 0-1 ’45), P Cooke 0-2, G O’Donnell 0-2, S Walsh 0-1, A Varley 0-1, D Comer 0-1, J Heaney 0-1

Dublin: C Kilkenny 0-5, D Rock 0-2 (0-2f), C Costello 0-2 (0-2f), P Andrews 0-1, J Cooper 0-1, P Small 0-1 (0-1f), C McHugh 0-1 (0-1f),

Galway: R Ó Beoláin; D Wynne, S Ó Ceallaigh (D Kyne 76, black card), E Kerin; G O’Donnell, J Duane, C Sweeney; T Flynn, C Duggan; P Cooke (J Heaney 50), P Conroy, S Walsh (D Comer 46); A Varley (E Brannigan 41), S Armstrong (S Kelly 57), B McHugh.

Dublin: E Comerford; M Fitzsimons, P McMahon, D Byrne; E Lowndes (B Fenton 36), J Small (A McGowan 67), J Cooper; M MacAuley (E Ó Conghaile 59), J McCarthy; C Reddin (C McHugh 50), C Kilkenny, P Andrews; C Basquel, D Rock (C Costello 48, black card), P Small (E O’Gara 63).

Referee: Joe McQuillan (Cavan).

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