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Galway FC edge closer to promotion

Keith Kelly

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Galway FC are just 90 minutes away from promotion to the Premier Division after a stunning last-gasp 2-1 win over UCD in the Belfield Bowl on Monday night.

Trailing to a Timmy Murphy goal with a minute remaining, Tommy Dunne’s side scored twice in the space of 60 seconds to take a firm grip on the play-off, and justify their tag as favourites for promotion.

While the visitors were installed as clear favourites, there is a big step-up in class from the First Division to the Premier, no matter how poorly the top-flight side has fared over the season, and that was clear in the first-half of Monday’s game.

While Galway FC bossed the majority of the game against Shelbourne in Tolka Park on Friday night, they had to play second fiddle for most of the opening 45 minutes in Belfield. The Tribesmen side were on the backfoot from the start, and while they came more into the game as the half wore on, it was UCD who looked more threatening in front of goal.

The visitors struggled to get out of their own final third of the pitch for the first 10 minutes, but Conor Gleeson was never tested and it was Galway FC who carved out the first chance, Ryan Connolly delivering a free-kick to the back post which was met by Gary Shanahan, but his diving header was well off target.

The winger did go closer two minutes later when a fine move down the Galway left flank resulted in Ryan Manning rolling a ball in behind the defence for Jake Keegan, who drilled a ball to the near post, but Ian Ryan got in ahead of Shanahan to concede a corner.

The home side opened the scoring in the 18th minute with what was their first shot on target, and it came from a defensive error by Galway FC. Conor O’Donnell punted a goalkick towards the left flank, and Mark Langtry just beat Colm Horgan to the ball.

Paddy Barrett was covering and appeared to have matters under control, but a slip allowed Gary Burke to nip in and win possession. He played the ball back to the angle of the box for Timmy Molloy, and the Galway native sent a daisy-cutter past Gleeson and inside the far post.

O’Donnell was quick off his line to deny Shanahan three minutes later, but UCD continued to pose the bigger threat, and it took a flying save from Gleeson to prevent them from doubling their lead after Conor Cannon turned on a sixpence and let fly from 15 yards.

Paul Sinnott and Keegan both had efforts from distance, but neither packed any power and O’Donnell gathered comfortably, with a flurry of bookings late in the half the only real incidents of note as the half-time whistle approached.

Whatever assistant manager Leo Tierney said in the visitors dressing room had the desired effect, as Galway FC were a transformed side in the second half and, if UCD had bossed the opening 45 minutes, then the second period certainly belonged to the visitors.

They completely outplayed their hosts, with Manning twice going close in the first five minutes, with the home side relying on trying to catch Galway FC on the break as they struggled to get out of their own half.

Galway FC had won in the FAI Cup here earlier in the season, but while they dominated the second half, they were struggling to turn possession into real chances, although as the half wore on, the UCD goal came more and more under threat.

Manning was denied by O’Donnell in the 76th minute, and when the resulting corner was whipped in, the ‘keeper managed to claw Gary Shanahan’s header onto the crossbar.

Barrett spilt the UCD defence with a perfectly-weighted ball for Jake Keegan in the 83rd minute, but when the American striker skied his effort with only O’Donnell to beat, it looked like the visitors would have nothing to show for their efforts.

But then came that frantic, stunning final few minutes. They pulled level in the 89th minute when Marc Ludden launched a trademark long throw into the UCD penalty area. Barrett beat O’Donnell in the air to head goalwards, and while Ian Ryan hooked the ball clear on the line, the assistant referee flagged to indicate the ball had crossed the line.

The Galway FC fans were still celebrating when their side took the lead just 60 seconds later. Connolly fizzed in a corner from the left which UCD failed to clear, and Manning claimed possession with his right foot before firing home in a crowded penalty area with his left to snatch the winner.

UCD were on the ropes, and Galway FC could have added a third two minutes into injury time but O’Donnell saved smartly from Shanahan. However it is the First Division side who are now firm favourites to cap a brilliant debut season by claiming promotion when they host the Student sin the second leg in Eamonn Deacy Park on Friday night (7.45pm).

 

 

 

 

CITY TRIBUNE

Horgan in the history books

Keith Kelly

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DARYL HORGAN

DARYL Horgan became the first Galwegian to score a senior men’s international goal when grabbing the fourth goal for the Republic of Ireland in their 4-1 friendly win over Andorra last Thursday.

Horgan, introduced as a 66th minute substitute for Ronan Curtis, got on the end of Jason Knight’s 89th minute cross to stoop low and send a diving header into the back of the net to cap a brilliant 26-minute cameo for the winger in what was his 13th senior international appearance.

The Knocknacarra native had just five minutes earlier sent in the cross from which Knight made it 3-1 to sighs of relief in the Irish camp – they had fallen 1-0 behind after 52 minutes, before a brace of goals from Troy Parrott in the 58th and 61st minutes put the Boys in Green in front and spared Stephen Kenny’s side the embarrassment of losing to a ski resort.

Horgan is one of seven Galwegians to win a senior men’s international cap – David Forde (24 caps), Alan Lee (10), Aaron Connolly (6), Greg Cunningham (4), Ryan Manning (4), and the late Eamonn ‘Chick’ Deacy (4) are the others – but he is the first to find the back of the opposition net.

He was joined from the bench last Thursday by Manning, and both players also started on the bench in Budapest on Tuesday night in the scoreless draw with Hungary, with both again being introduced in the second-half, Horgan in the 56th minute to win his 14th cap, followed by Manning in the 85th minute to win his fourth cap.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

 

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CITY TRIBUNE

Galway WFC bring an end to their away woes in Cork

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Chloe Moloney who was one of Galway WFC's goal scorers in their away win over Cork WFC at Turners Cross on Saturday.

Cork City WFC 0

Galway WFC  2

By Mike Rafferty

AFTER firing blanks in their three previous away games, Galway WFC got back to winning ways when aided by two opening half goals and a first clean sheet of the season, they were worthy winners of this Women’s National League contest at Turners Cross on Saturday.

Two early headed goals by Chloe Moloney and Aoife Thompson gave them a cushion that was seldom threatened as the home side were outmaneuvered as new Galway WFC manager Stephen Lally picked up the first win of his reign.

As in previous games, the visitors were without some of their more established names, but the performances of Ruth Fahy, Lucia Lobato and Thompson helped turn an impressive performance into a worthy win. Cork goalkeeper Abby McCarthy was by far the busier of the two custodians and some good shot stopping in the early exchanges kept her side in the game.

However, there was little she could do when Galway WFC took the lead on 21 minutes, Chloe Moloney attacking a Shauna Brennan corner in a crowded box and powerfully heading home for a 1-0 advantage.

Just three minutes later, they added a second and again Brennan was at the heart of it when seeing off a challenge on the right flank, before delivering a deep cross that was powered into the bottom corner by the flying Thompson with a diving header.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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CITY TRIBUNE

Connacht soar in final game to clip the wings of Ospreys

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Connacht’s Ben O’Donnell, who has Ultan Dillane in support, is tackled by Rhys Webb of the Ospreys during Friday's Rainbow Cup tie at the Sportsground. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

Connacht 26

Ospreys 19

Rob Murphy at the Sportsground

THE Connacht team finished Friday’s final game of the season with a flurry of fierce and well timed tackles as they held off the Ospreys and secured the win. While they did that, the Fields of Athenry bellowed from the Clan Terrace creating a surreal, almost absurd atmosphere at a near empty Sportsground. The roar that followed from the handful of souls in the stands was an appropriate end to a strange season like no other.

The singing and the shouting had come from the non selected players who had all gathered in a corner of the terrace for the game, making sure that there was no doubt for those out on the field that the game and the result meant something. Overall of course, this result is just a mark on the ledger, a soon to be forgotten triumph in a season that included far too many defeats at their Galway venue.

If all that wasn’t strange enough, all the scoring happened in the first half. Connacht notched four tries, the Ospreys managed three yet it was the second half that proved to be the most compelling and captivating as the visitors from Wales came up against a brick wall. Connacht’s tackling was superb while their maul defence proved to be critical. The visitors had arrived needing and expecting to get a bonus point win to stay in contention for a place in the Rainbow Cup final, but would leave shell shocked.

The Rainbow Cup as a competition has predictably turned out to be a disaster for the PRO14 organisers. While there has been some misfortune with late season postponements because of Covid and the South African sides have been limited on travel, the format of a straight league with teams playing six fixtures was never going to inspire enthusiasm or create a fair and balanced tournament. As it stands, Benetton might get to the final without having to play any of the top six sides.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

 

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