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Galway FC on the brink of clinching promotion after late first leg exploits

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Galway FC's Ryan Manning shows his delight after scoring a dramatic late winner against UCD in the SSE Airtricity League promotion/relegation first leg play-off in Belfield on Monday night. Photo: David Maher/Sportsfile.

GALWAY FC’s match-winning hero against UCD in Belfield has a simple game-plan for Friday night’s second-leg of the promotion final in Eamonn Deacy Park (7.45pm): “Keep a clean sheet and we’re promoted.”

Ryan Manning struck a 90th minute winner on Monday night in the first-leg of the promotion final, a goal that came just 60 seconds after Paddy Barrett had equalised for the Tribesmen to put them in the driving seat to cap a fairytale debut season in the Airtricity League by winning promotion to the Premier Division at the first time of asking.

Speaking to Tribune Sport after the final whistle, the Republic of Ireland U-19 international said the side deserved at least a draw from the game given their second half performance, but acknowledged that securing the win has given the side a great chance of securing promotion.

“We left it late to get a few goals but over the course of the game I thought we deserved a goal. The first half they had one or two chances and scored early, but in second half I felt we got in a good few times and were unlucky not to score early on.

“But then at the end one came and then the second one just happened to fall for me in the box and 2-1 is a good result to take back to Terryland on Friday. But if those goals didn’t come at the end and we had lost 1-0, we’d be saying we only need one goal to get back in it. That is the situation for UCD now, but a clean sheet is all we need, it’s as simple as that,” Manning said.

Galway FC were second best for the opening 45 minutes on Monday night, but they were a side transformed after the half-time break as they had their hosts pinned in their own half for the vast majority of the second-half.

It was a stunning turnaround, but assistant manager Leo Tierney – who was directing operations from the dugout as Tommy Dunne served the second of a two-game ban – said there was only some minor adjustments needed for that change in fortune.

“We just sorted out a few little issues at half-time that we felt were causing us a problem, and the lads were super in the second-half. I thought in the first half we looked a bit tired because we had travelled for two tough games and they were at home, but once we got over that and started playing again, we were very good.

“The key message was composure – we needed to keep our composure, and play the way we have been playing all season. We knew if we kept playing we would create chances, and once we settled down and we kept playing as a team – because we are a team, and that’s what we’re all about – we created chances, and thankfully we took two of them,” he said.

Paddy Barrett set them on the way to a dramatic win with an 89th minute header, and he said the players knew they were capable of a better performance than their first-half showing.

“We came in at half-time and sat down and just needed not to panic. We new that from Friday night when we went one down, we knew not to panic as we have the ability to come back, and once we play like we can play, we’ll always create chances and thankfully we created the chance late on and scored,” he said.

Tommy Dunne is taking a cautious tone for Friday night, saying that the tie is only at the half-time stage yet, but he praised his side’s belief in rescuing last Monday night’s game.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

CITY TRIBUNE

Galway Utd to use last three league games to get players match-fit for play-offs

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Killian Brouder in action against Athlone Town back in May - if fit, he will feature against the Midlands outfit in Eamonn Deacy Park tonight. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

Galway United manager John Caulfield is taking a ‘softly-softly’ approach to United’s final three games of the regular season as he lets one eye glance towards the end-of-season play-offs and an escape route after five seasons of hell in the First Division.

Last week’s draw with Treaty United has not mathematically ended United’s hopes of catching Cork City for the title, but with the Leesiders six points ahead with three games remaining – and a far superior goal difference – it is only a matter f time before they are officially crowned champions.

In truth, United’s title hopes ended with back-to-back defeats to Waterford and Bray Wanderers in August – and to be fair to him, the United manager admitted as much at the time – so he has been using the game since to prepare for the play-offs, preparation that will continue this evening with the visit of Athlone Town to Eamonn Deacy Park (7.45pm).

Town are the only side United have beaten in every meeting this season, with a 3-0 win on the Dyke Road back in May sandwiched between 2-1 and 3-1 wins in Lissywoolen in March and July respectively.

As has been his habit before every game this season, Caulfield insists that his side are in for a tough game this evening. Athlone are second from bottom of the table, with just five wins all season, and a whopping 40 points behind United, so while they might provide stiff opposition, there really is no excuse for not winning comfortably tonight, even if United use the game as a stepping stone for the play-offs.

“We have a number of weeks to get more a few fellas more game time and get ready for the play-offs,” he said after last Friday’s draw in Limerick.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Galway United get out of jail thanks to dubious spot kick

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David Tarmey with his parents, Seamus and Sabina, and Brian O’Riordan, the chairman of Cregmore/Claregalway, his former club, after he signed his first professional contract with Galway United.

Treaty United 1

Galway United 1

 THE thinking heading into this game in Limerick last Friday night was that Galway United would use the opportunity to make a statement of intent with regards to the upcoming promotion play-offs, especially given the likelihood of facing their hosts again in knockout football at the end of this month.

Instead, all we got was an incoherent mumble from a visiting side that seems to be lurching from one game to the next, one that needed a ridiculous penalty decision to go in their favour late in the game to rescue a point against their hosts.

Failure to win last Friday means it is just two wins in the last their last eight league games, which is hardly the form needed to come through the gruelling, protracted play-off series and climb out of the purgatory of the First Division.

They finished fifth in 2020, scraping into the play-offs on goal difference ahead of Cobh Ramblers, but after beating Bray Wanderers in the semi-final, they then lost to Longford Town in the final.

Last year saw a second-place finish in the table but an immediate failure in the play-offs with defeat to Bray Wanderers in the semi-finals; and unfortunately, they look to be going backwards this season as with Waterford winning both at the weekend and in a rearranged game on Monday night, United have now slipped to third in the table.

They do still have three games to play as opposed to two for Waterford, but given recent displays, it is difficult to have too much confidence in overhauling the Blues in the table.

For more, read this week’s Galway City 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

Friend in bullish mood ahead of big battle with Munster

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Connacht's Director of Rugby Andy Friend who is expecting a big display against Munster at the Sportsground on Friday night.

TWO teams which have made wretched starts to the season will hope to kick-start their campaigns this Friday as Connacht host Munster when they meet in the Sportsground (7.35pm).

The visitors have at least got a win under their belt, flattering to deceive against perennial basement side Zebre in a 21-5 win in Cork last weekend, but Connacht head into the game propping up the table with nothing to show for their three games to date.

All three of those games have been on the road, as work continued on replacing the grass pitch at the Sportsground with a synthetic surface, and that is now ready to be unveiled on Friday for a game which Connacht simply have to win if their league season is not to be declared a write-off before the kids have even gone trick-or-treating.

“We want to be a team that plays fast and this [new synthetic pitch] allows us to be fast. This is a massive investment by Connacht Rugby, and I think a brilliant investment, and let’s hope Friday night is the first of many wins on it,” a bullish Andy Friend, Director of Rugby at Connacht, said in his pre-match press conference this week.

It has been a tough start to the season for Connacht: they were trounced 36-10 in Belfast by Ulster on the opening weekend of the season, and followed that with two defeats in South Africa, losing 38-15 to defending champions, the Stormers, and then going down to a 28-14 defeat to last year’s runners-up, the Bulls.

That has left Connacht as the only side in the table without a point, with all three of their opponents to date picking up the maximum five points on offer. Friend knows that has to change, and fast, and he feels there is no better game than the visit of their southern neighbours to get the season off to a belated start.

For more, read this week’s Galway City 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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