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Ballinasloe Town strike late to lift Connacht Junior Cup



Ballinasloe Town              2

Westport United              1

Mike Rafferty in Lecarrow

JUST like Martin Luthar King, Ballinasloe Town manager Enda Concannon had a dream and the night before the Connacht Junior Cup final he dreamt that his team won two one with the winner coming with the last kick of the game.

And what a man of vision he is – for with the contest deep in injury time, Liam Lynch steered an Alan Duffy cross beyond replacement goalkeeper Michael Gibbons to give the Town a dramatic winner in Lecarrow on Sunday.

It gave them just their second success in the competition following their 2004 triumph over Manulla and it was achieved in the most difficult manner possible.

After starting well and doing all the early pressing, they were caught with a sucker punch as Martin Geraghty steered a home a 7th minute header to give the Mayo visitors the lead in their first attack of the afternoon.

It took Ballinasloe some time to find their feet afterwards, but a penalty awarded for handball and scored by Daragh Concannon left matters tied at 1-1 and gave a fairer reflection on proceedings.

It wasn’t a contest where the respective goalkeepers were overworked as clear chances were few and far between, but a contentious moment arrived on 66 minutes when David Horkan flicked on a Joe Lawless free kick, but the linesman’s flag was quickly up to rule out Pat Fitzgerald’s stunning volley from just behind the cover. It was certainly a marginal call.

Then with the clock winding down with just two minutes remaining, accidental contact in the Westport area resulted in goalkeeper Gary Cunningham and Ballinasloe substitute Shane Duffy clashing.

After a protracted 13 minute delay, both players were replaced, with Cunningham suffering a finger injury and as a result of that hold up, the second-half was an hour long

It was during this spell that Ballinasloe produced the winner on 58 minutes. Daragh Concannon, who collected the Man of the match reward, started the move in central midfield before releasing Alan Duffy down the left.

After making a huge amount of ground and cutting in from the flank, he slid a low delivery across the face of goal and with perfect timing Lynch arrived to fire a low effort back across keeper Gibbons for a dramatic late winner. 

For Ballinasloe and Lynch it made his costly return from Toronto well worth it as the striker had emigrated to the Canadian City just two weeks previously.

The finalists, who had seen off two Galway League sides in the semi finals, produced contrasting starts as Ballinasloe were much more assertive from the kick off.

Indeed within ten seconds, Gary Egan and Alan Duffy had combined to set up Lynch, but the impressive Martin Geraghty got across to block his close range effort.

 Geraghty was one of the game’s outstanding performers and along with Shaun Tagg gave the Town front-runners very little latitude but, in fairness, the Ballinasloe central defensive duo of Mike Lynch and Peter Keighery were equally efficient in an outstanding performance.

Mark Duffy had an early effort blocked while visiting goalkeeper Cunningham was inspiring all around him as he came and claimed everything with authority and confidence all over his area.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.



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

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Doyle bags hat-trick in Galway WFC romp



Paul Corcorcan

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.

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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.

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