Galway United 1
Cork City 1
WHAT an absolute belting game of football that was. The fact that United ended City’s 12-game winning run might have been the thing that grabbed the headlines, but it should not take away from a brilliant performance from the home side.
Yes, United have beaten Dundalk at home to two consecutive seasons; there have been thrashings of Bray Wanderers, an 8-goal thriller with Bohemians, and away wins over Derry City and Limerick, but in terms of pure performance, that was probably United’s best display since returning to the top-flight in 2015.
The were the dominant side in the first-half, recovered almost immediately after conceding early in the second-half, and finished the game on the front foot against a visiting side that has swept all before them this season.
Some of the United players spoke before the game of how the owed City a performance after their poor display in the 4-0 defeat at Turner’s Cross back in March, but in truth they owed themselves this display.
They were ragged and wretched in Cork, rolling over in the second-half as City moved up through the gears. On Friday last, City had to move up through the gears again, but this time it was to keep in touch with Shane Keegan’s side after they were outplayed in the first-half.
Both sides had eight shots on goal over the course of the 90 minutes, and while only one of United’s was in the second-half, it was the one that counted, coming just 90 seconds or so after the visitors took the lead against the run of play. It was no more than they deserved.
“I think the first-half in particular we had a lot of chances, they certainly didn’t create as many as they did. The second-half, we knew it would be tough, we knew if they scored we had to react well.
“The gaffer said it at half-time, if they did get a goal, the reaction from us would be key thing for us. He said it after the game, the reaction, to score within a minute and a half, two minutes, was exactly what we needed, we couldn’t wait until, the 85th minute, the 90th minute, they would have been too tough to break down, we showed good character to get straight back into it,” said midfielder Alex Byrne.
Both managers made one change to their sides from their most recent games, with Byrne coming into the United midfield after David Cawley picked up an injury in the scoreless draw with Derry City on Monday night; while Garry Buckley came into a City side that hammered Finn Harps 5-0 the previous weekend in place of Jimmy Keohane.
United may have started – and finished – the night second from bottom, but they came into the game with just one defeat in their last 11, and they had conceded more than one goal in just three of their 12 league games, showing they are a difficult team to beat.
Full coverage in this week’s Connacht Tribune.