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Soccer

Forde thrilled with the ‘night of his life’

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CIARAN TIERNEY

THE Galway native did not want the night to end. After waiting until he was 33-years old before making his competitive debut for the Republic of Ireland, it was no wonder that goalkeeper David Forde savoured every moment of Ireland’s draw with England at Wembley Stadium on Wednesday night.

He had come a long way, via Galway United, Derry City, Barry Town, West Ham United (where he never managed to break into the first time) and Cardiff City before establishing himself as first choice ‘keeper at London club Millwall.

The route has been tough at times, so no wonder he felt it was a dream come true as he soaked in the atmosphere after holding a star-studded home attack to just one goal in front of 80,126 fans at Wembley Stadium.

The Inishannagh Park native was superb on Wednesday night, making a number of key saves as England chased a win in the closing stages, and he could hardly have been faulted for the Frank Lampard goal which levelled the tie on 22 minutes.

Suddenly, all the worries about finding a long-term replacement for Shay Given seemed misplaced among the Irish contingent, who were delighted by the Galway man’s assured performance between the posts in what was the fourth Wembley appearance of his professional career.

Forde had been there before for two play-off finals, and Wednesday’s win banished the memories of Millwall’s 2-0 defeat to Wigan Athletic in last month’s FA Cup semi-final at the famed London venue.

But this was different. He was playing for his country against England, the ‘old enemy’, in the first fixture between the two countries in 18 years. The kind of game he dreamed of playing in when he first kicked a ball around the Westside as a youngster, or when he would watch an FA Cup final at home on television. He could feel it in the atmosphere before the game, this was far more than just an end of season friendly.

“It was always going to be like that, with England taking on Ireland. It was a really good end of season game and Wembley is a very special place,” he told Tribune Sport from his Dublin hotel yesterday afternoon.

“Growing up as a kid in Galway, watching the games on television, I’d always dreamed of playing there. We’d watch the Cup finals  at home and it’s incredible to think I’ve now played there four times.

“But last night’s game was really something special. I was delighted with my own performance in what was such a big game. The atmosphere, the noise, was special and you’d forget it was only a warm-up for the Faroe Islands game next Friday. It was incredible to run out in front of more than 80,000 fans and to stay unbeaten against that England team.”

 

Soccer

Lomboto’s late strike earns United share of the spoils

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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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CITY TRIBUNE

Doyle bags hat-trick in Galway WFC romp

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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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CITY TRIBUNE

Cup offers United chance to boost morale

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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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