Galway FC 1 Finn Harps 0
Galway FC are through to the quarter-finals of the EA Sports League Cup, but a largely second string made hard work of it against Finn Harps in Eamonn Deacy Park yesterday evening.
If Friday night’s performance against Waterford United in the league was of the ‘sublime’ variety, then this was from the ‘sloppy’ range as the home side were grimly holding on to Vinny Faherty’s early goal for large stretches of the game.
Tommy Dunne made eight changes to the side that defeated Waterford United in the league on Friday night, with only Colm Horgan, Alex Byrne and Faherty retained from that starting XI as the manager opted to give his extended squad a run.
In something of a gamble, be opted to start both Sean Gavin and Shane McGinty in the heart of midfield, and given the fact they were up against a Harps side that packed midfield in a 4-5-1 formation, the inexperienced duo struggled early on.
However the early nerves looked to have been settled with an early goal courtesy of Faherty. Jake Keegan made space on the left to hit a dipping volley from 20 yards which beat Shaun Patton but hit the far post, but it pounced back in to the danger area and Faherty side-footed home from eight yards.
The visitors did enjoy more possession than any other side that has visited Eamonn Deacy Park this season, and as the half wore on they looked more and more of a threat. Paul McVeigh – who was proving a right nuisance for the Galway defence – went close in the 25thminute when he was picked out in the box by James Doherty, but his connection was poor.
Three minutes later and McVeigh got sight of goal again, applying the slightest of touches to Johnny Bonner’s corner from the right, but Horgan was on hand to clear off the line. Young Doherty regularly got forward from full-back for the visitors, but tried his luck from distance on three occasions, but each time his effort flew well over Ger Hanley’s crossbar.
Josh Mailey was allowed to advance from midfield on the half-hour mark, strolling past the challenges of Shane McGinty and Cian Fadden before letting fly from 20 yards, but while his shot had Hanley beaten, it crashed back off the base of the post.
The visitors were cutting through the Galway midfield at will, but Hanley’s goal survived until half-time, although the home side did threaten late-on through Derek O’Brien, the captain for the night putting in a couple of good crosses from the left, but there was no-one at home to get on the end of them.
Galway improved in the early stages of a second half that was largely played 20 yards either side of the half way line, and they offered more of a threat when Stephen Walsh and Ryan Connolly were introduced to the action.
Walsh was on the pitch for less than a minute when he got on the end of a Faherty pass, but his shot from 20 yards was comfortably saved by Patton. Still, it was the first shot on goal by the home side in that second half.
The introduction of Paul Sinnott helped shore-up the over-run Galway midfield, and chances were at a premium but McVeigh should have forced the tie into extra time two minutes into injury time when Mailey picked him out in the box, but with time and space, he fired wide from 12 yards.
“It wasn’t the best performance we have had this year, but in saying that we are in to the quarter-final of the league cup; we had a lot of players get game time; we kept a clean sheet, so overall you can’t be too disappointed when that happens,” Dunne said after the game.
“We took a bit of a chance in a sense that a lot of lads who got a start tonight hadn’t been featuring, you could see some of them getting a bit ‘leggy’ around the 60 minute mark, and two games in a weekend is tough for guys too
“That said, to get the two wins this weekend helps from momentum side of things, the lads are putting a lot of time and effort into it, we’ll be hoping we can go to Tallaght next Sunday and pick up three points – if you’ve any aspirations of keeping up with Shels, I think we might have to pick up three points,” he said.
So Galway FC join Derry City, Dundalk, Shamrock Rovers, Cork City, and the winners of the ties between Wexford Youth and Cobh Ramblers; Longford Town and Mervue United; and Bohemian FC and St Patrick’s Athletic.
Galway FC: Hanley; Owens, Fadden, Byrne, Horgan; Shanahan, Gavin (Connolly 72), McGinty (Sinnott 82), O’Brien (Walsh 71); Keegan, Faherty.
Finn Harps: Patton; Doherty (Flanagan 85), C Bonner, Mailey, J Bonner; Tiofack, Fisher (Black 70), Forker (McCann 85), Harkin; McVeigh, Mailey.
Referee: Ray Matthews (Midlands).
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.