Galway and Dublin must do it all over again, as the Allianz Division 1A relegation play-off ended in a draw after 90 minutes of gut-wrenching hurling.
Dublin substitute Niall McMorrow coolly sent over a 65’ at the end of extra-time to level the game 2-20 to 0-26 and force the tie to a replay after Galway’s Joe Canning had equalised in the last minute of normal time.
Canning finished the game with 12 points but Galway will be angry with themselves, having allowed Dublin back into the game after Ryan O’Dwyer, and then Alan McCrabbe, were sent off in the first period of extra-time.
Galway spent most of the first-half chasing a hard-working Dublin side that never let the Tribesmen get into their style of fast hurling. Paul Ryan keep the Dubs in the driving seat with seven first-half frees as Galway’s inexperience and ill-discipline in defence gifted Dublin many of their scores.
Cyril Donnellan and Damien Hayes did have goal-scoring chances brilliantly saved by Dublin goalkeeper Gary McGuire but Dublin had similar chances and deservedly finished the half stronger, 0-9 to 0-7 ahead.
Manager Anthony Cuninngham had made six changes to the side which lost to Kilkenny but, as has been the case all season long, the Tribesmen’s full-back line was in disarray and Conor McCormack pounced in the opening minutes of the second-half to score the game’s opening goal.
This kick-started Galway’s comeback, with Canning leading from the front. The Portumna clubman scored four points without reply before Simon Lambert stopped the rot to make it 1-11 to 0-12 points.
Canning and Niall Burke continued to eat away at Dublin’s slender lead until more shambolic defending allowed Ross O’Carroll to blast home from close range. Dublin tagged
on further scores through Treacy, McMorrow and McCaffery, and now Galway were in danger of getting left behind as the clock ticked down to 70 minutes.
But as the game entered stoppage time Canning sent over two frees before he somehow found space to hit his tenth point of the tie and level the game 2-15 to 0-21.
The first period of extra-time had barely begun but O’Dwyer was shown a red card for an off the ball incident. Referee Barry Kelly had no hesitation going for the red card but as Canning tapped over another free, Dublin were awarded a penalty after David Collins had upended Conor McCormack. McCrabbe’s effort was saved but only moments later, he too was shown a red card for a wild swipe at Collins.
Now down to 13 men, the game was Galway’s for the taking and Donnellan sent over a score at the break for a two point lead.
James Regan and Glynn also added scores for the Tribesmen but Danny Sutcliff and Plunket brought it back to one, before McMorrow kept his nerve to send the relegation play-off to a replay.