Salthill Devon 1
Athlone Town 2
Jason Byrne at Drom
Last month Athlone Town came to Galway and robbed Mervue United of a win with a dubious stoppage time penalty. On Friday night at Drom, Salthill Devon were made suffer by the same side, as once again Roddy Collins left the City of the Tribes with points his team simply did not deserve.
Both teams fought hard, both had chances and both deserved to walk away with what would have been a fair point each, before another last-gasp goal saw the Midlanders cruelly rob Salthill of a precious point thanks to Philip Gorman’s header in the 90th minute. John Brennan and co must be wondering what exactly it is they must do to find some luck.
Star man Derek O’Brien was forced to watch from the sidelines due to suspension, with Jakub Tomanica returning from a ban to take his place on the right flank.
Devon started brightest, and the first incident of note was Athlone keeper Paul Skinner picking the ball out of the net in the ninth minute. Tomanica picked up a loose ball deep in the Athlone and ignored the screams of Enda Curran crying for the ball to wonderfully ping it into the top corner after making a fool of Roddy Collins junior.
Minutes later Athlone had their first meaningful effort in the form of a Mark Hughes free-kick which curled wide; while a dangerous Barry Clancy free in the 20th minute was headed clear by Brian Geraghty, who was looking solid at centre-half.
Athlone were on the prowl for an equaliser again a minute later when Tomanica lost the ball to Garbhan Coughlan, who crossed for Philip Gorman, but Devon skipper Robbie Gaul promptly won it back with a solid sliding tackle.
At the other end Willie Enubele broke free and with Curran making a central run, Enubele opted for goal himself but his tame effort failed to really trouble Skinner, who caught with ease.
Curran then curled a free kick within range inches wide, as he looked eager to bag a goal against the side he scored a hat-trick against in the 3-3 draw between the sides back in March.
Athlone had the final chances of the half – firstly Gary Clancy’s effort was tipped over by James Keane, and then Clancy played in Hughes but again Geraghty was at hand to win the ball back for Devon who led 1-0 at the break.
However, Athlone drew level 10 minutes after the break when Ian Sweeney scored for the third game in a row, his shot from the edge of the area catching Keane by surprise to sail into the bottom right corner.
For more, read this week’s Connacht Sentinel.
Lomboto’s late strike earns United share of the spoils
Galway United 2
Athlone Town 2
GALWAY United had to twice come from behind against basement side Athlone Town on Monday night to snatch a draw that was, on balance, probably a little harsh on the visiting side.
Completely outplayed in the opening 45 minutes, United had an absolute howler from visiting goalkeeper, Aaron Myles, to thank for going into the break on level terms; and then needed an equaliser five minutes from time to claim a draw against a side that came into the game having lost all four games they had played this season.
Alan Murphy’s side already find themselves nine points behind the league leaders just four games into the season, and a major improvement is needed if they are to finish in the top half of the table and inside the play-off spots.
Their central midfield was way off the mark on Monday night – both Maurice Nugent and Sam Warde were hauled ashore before the final whistle – and having abandoned the 4-4-2 formation which delivered some decent results near the end of last season, they are struggling to get quality ball into the opposition box.
With Shane Duggan expected to return to central midfield after suspension for this Saturday’s trip to Cobh Ramblers, it might be time to go with some out-and-out wingers and get some cohesion in the side.
The first couple of half chances on Monday fell to the home side, but Mikey Place didn’t get any power behind his second minute effort; while Marc Ludden was well off target subsequently.
The visitors, who had the opening half’s best player in their ranks in the guise of Galway native, Ronan Manning, went close a couple of times themselves in the ninth minute, United surviving thanks to Cian Murphy getting a block on Adam Lennon’s shot; while Kevin Horgan pulled off a ‘worldie’ to deny Joel Coustrain from the subsequent corner.
By that stage, the visitors were starting to get on top, and they took a deserved lead in the 22nd minute when Manning’s corner from the left was met by Taner Dogan at the back post to head home as the United marking was, not for the first time this season, shambolic at a set-piece.
Tempers were starting to fray a little, with both sides having two players finding their way into the notebook of Dublin referee, Oliver Moran, before United were gifted an equaliser in the 41st minute.
Full report in this week’s Connacht Tribune
Doyle bags hat-trick in Galway WFC romp
GALWAY WFC notched a second win in a row in the Women’s National League when they defeated Limerick 6-1 at the Markets Field on Sunday afternoon.
A McKenna Doyle hat trick and goals from Sadbh Doyle, Chloe Singleton and Aoife Thompson helped the Galway women to a resounding win. Five of the six goals for Galway were assisted by Lynsey McKey during what was a stellar performance by the experienced midfielder.
Galway WFC are back in action at Eamonn Deacy Park tomorrow (Saturday, kick off 3pm) when they welcome league leaders Peamount United.
See full match report in City Tribune Sport.
Cup offers United chance to boost morale
HAVING insisted all year that Galway United’s First Division campaign has been about developing their young talents, manager Alan Murphy has admitted this Sunday’s first round FAI Cup tie against Leinster Senior League side, Collinstown at Whitehall Stadium (2pm) is about winning.
United have not recorded a competitive victory since mid-May, when they came from behind to see off Longford Town 2-1 in a First Division fixture at Eamonn Deacy Park. That win came courtesy of two Vinny Faherty goals.
Since then, they have lost eight of their twelve outings, with their four draws coming against Cabinteely, Bray Wanderers, Athlone Town, and the First Division’s bottom team, Wexford Youths, who have won just two First Division fixtures this season.
However, this weekend’s Cup game against a non-League of Ireland outfit could provide a much-needed morale boosting victory for his charges.
“It would,” acknowledged Murphy. “Even to be in the next round of the FAI Cup would be huge; it would be huge for this group of inexperienced players that I have really. I mean, every game is a brilliant chance for these guys to get another little bit of experience, and to experience a different challenge, and this weekend will provide exactly that.
“I have said, week in, week out, this is a development year and these players need experience but this weekend is probably a little bit more about winning than it has been all season because of the fact you will be out of the competition if you don’t win,” he said.
Se full preview in City Tribune Sport.