Skip to Content
Dublin , Ireland - 29 June 2024; Paul Mannion of Dublin in action against Jack Glynn of Galway during the GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship quarter-final match between Dublin and Galway at Croke Park in Dublin. (Photo By Harry Murphy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)
Harry Murphy/Sportsfile via Getty Images

Galway Boots Dublin Out Of All-Irelands With Historic Upset

Galway used a second half nobody knew they had in ‘em on Saturday to edge dynastic Dublin, 0-17 0-16, in the All-Ireland football quarterfinals before about 50,000 fans at Croke Park. 

Galway hadn’t beaten host Dublin head-to-head in the annual national championship tournament since 1934. And Dublin, the most experienced and decorated squad in the land, had won seven of the last nine Sam Maguire Cups—including an unprecedented six in a row from 2015 to 2020—and was expected to cruise to yet another title this season. 

But, that’s why they play the games. 

Even after a sluggish and for them sloppy first half, Dublin held a four-point lead, 0-11 0-7. But some sort of magic words were surely said or ingestibles ingested inside Galway’s locker room during the break, given the bravado and proficiency with which the underdogs played the final 35 minutes. Galway’s Céin D'Arcy blasted the ball over the bar from about 40 meters out at the 60-minute mark to tie things up, 0-14 0-14, and by the time his mate in maroon Johnny Heaney kicked Galway to their first lead of the second half with just three minutes remaining, victory was seeming like destiny. Galway fans and the sizable anybody-but-Dublin faction inside the massive and historic stadium went euphoric when a desperation and potentially game-tying boot from Dublin forward Con O’Callaghan, himself a winner of six All-Ireland medals, went wide and the final whistle blew. 

It’s damn near impossible to overstate the David v. Goliathness of Galway’s triumph, But here’s local homers Ollie Turner and Barry Cullinane, calling the action for Galway Bay FM radio, doing their best at game’s end. (Warning: Taylor Swift reference. But it's great!)

The Tribesmen go against Donegal on July 14 for a spot in the final. Dublin goes home for the year, and will doubtless spend the offseason facing questions about whether the time has come to break up the greatest football team in the GAA’s 140-year history. 

Dublin’s wasn’t the only momentous loss in the Gaelic games realm of late. The same day as Galway’s upset, a funeral was held for Mícheál Ó Muircheartaigh, who for seven decades served as the voice of Irish sports. He was 93 years old. 

I got to meet and even get a lesson on the nationalistic importance of sports from Ó Muircheartaigh at Croke Park in 2019. The man often described as the Vin Scully of Ireland more than lived up to the legend. (Scully, for those wondering, was also Irish.) He seemed to speak in couplets while retelling the tale of the massacre of football fans inside the stadium in 1920 by a British military squadron, and pointing out the very spot on the Croke Park pitch where player Michael Hogan was murdered.

Ó Muircheartaigh memorials were included in lots of news reports on the Galway/Dublin match. Panelists on the popular weekly Gaelic sports wrap-up show, The Sunday Game, agreed he would have loved to call such a historic upset. The show ended with some famous lines he once delivered about the hopeful melancholia that overcomes him at the end of a football season, words the losing lads of Dublin might take to heart this week: "It's like closing in something,” Ó Muircheartaigh said, “but you're already looking forward to the resurrection. And like the flowers that grow after the flowers dying with the frost in the winter, the new ones will come, if you're lucky enough to be around for them." 

If you liked this blog, please share it! Your referrals help Defector reach new readers, and those new readers always get a few free blogs before encountering our paywall.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter