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Soccer

Galway teams can’t cope with step up in class

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Keith Kelly 

GALWAY interest in this year’s FAI Cup competition ended on Friday night as both Mervue United and Salthill Devon suffered 2-0 defeats which leaves them to concentrate on the league – for possibly the very last time – for the rest of the season.

When the draw was made the clash of Bray Wanderers and Mervue United looked the most likely to produce a shock result, as Bray were floundering at the bottom of the top flight, while Mervue were enjoying their best-ever start to a campaign.

However, in the weeks since that draw was made, Bray have turned their season around with three wins out of four in the league, while at the same time that Mervue have hit a mini-slump with three defeats on the bounce going into last Friday night’s clash in the Carlisle Grounds – and any hope of that shock result manifesting were ended midway through the first-half when the home side had opened a two goal cushion to assume total control of the tie.

“I’m disappointed, but certainly not disheartened. Bray are a very good side, they have shown that with their recent results, and they are certainly a far better team than Longford Town, who are leading our division.

“There was a big gulf there between the sides, but my lads never gave up, they kept trying, they kept working hard, and they’ll learn from playing against of Bray’s experience, of playing against the likes of Jason Byrne and Gary Dempsey,” Mervue manager Johnny Glynn said after the game.

Mervue were missing a few experienced players of their own, with Gary Curran (knee) and Marc Ludden (stomach bug) both ruled out; while Glynn decided that, having told Noel Varley he was being rested for the tie, it would have been wrong to turn to him in light of Ludden’s absence.

However the absence Mervue most felt on Friday night was Mike Elwood, who has emigrated to the US – the game would have suited his physicality, and you suspect two-goal strike Jason Byrne would not have had matters so easy with Elwood shadowing him.

“We had a very young team out there, and they did well. Gary Shanahan was full of running, his end product wasn’t what it should be, but he is just hitting peak fitness now as he didn’t have a pre-season, so I’m expecting him to continue to improve.

“Ryan Manning did well when he came on, the only thing is we didn’t get the ball to him often enough. I thought we looked most threatening when playing the ball to feet, but we didn’t do it often enough. You have to give credit to Bray as well, they are a very good team who played a patient game and had their homework done.

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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