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Galway Utd fail to fire and pay the penalty in shoot-out

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Galway United's Paul Sinnott and St. Patrick Athletic's Killian Brennan.

Galway United 0

St Patrick’s Athletic 0

After extra-time St Pat’s win 4-3 on penalties

A bit of a farcical end to a disappointing night, and the disappointment wasn’t just confined to the final outcome, as Galway United’s dreams of a first piece of major silverware in almost 19 years were shot down in a shoot-out.

After 120 minutes of action failed to produce a single goal, the destination of this year’s EA Sports Cup went down to the lottery of penalties, and visiting ’keeper Conor O’Malley saved the efforts of both Jake Keegan and Andy O’Connell to ensure the cup travelled back with St Patrick’s Athletic to Dublin.

It was the third final United had lost in its history, and the second in a penalty shoot-out: the club also suffered spot-kick sadness against Dundalk in the 1981 League Cup final. Mind you, the victors seemed intent to give United another crack at success – the cup belonged to Pats when O’Malley’s saved O’Connell’s effort, but midfielder Greg Bolger started walking forward to take a 6th penalty for the visitors.

There were no celebrations from the Pats players either, and it required referee Sean Grant to intercept Bolger to confirm the shoot-out was over and that Pats had, in fact won.

O’Malley was named as the sponsor’s man-of-the-match, a selection which smacked a little of laziness for while he pulled off some good saves, and was the shoot-out hero for the visitors, Conor Winn was more than a match at the other end.

The big ’keeper made a couple of top-drawer saves, the pick of which was in the 77th minute when he threw himself to his right to claw away James Chamber’s 30-yard dipping effort, a save which saw both benches get to their feet to applaud.

However, it was two centre-backs who really caught the eye, with United’s Kilian Cantwell and Kenny Brown of St Patrick’s Athletic the stand-out players. Brown won every aerial challenge in the Pat’s penalty area, though you have to question United’s persistence in lumping the ball forward when Brown was so dominant in the air.

Down the other end of the pitch, Cantwell had less of an aerial threat to deal with, but he was excellent on the ground, making a number of crucial blocks, while his distribution was decent as well.

For United’s players, disappointment at failure to win the cup will be matched with regret at not playing anywhere near their potential. The same starting XI that had romped to a 4-0 lead over Longford Town after 70 minutes just two weeks ago seemed to let the occasion get to them. They needed to get stuck into the visitors from the start, lay down a marker that this was their turf and there would be no welcome for their opponents, but that never materialised, and the hope has to be that they can pick themselves up for the league run-in, which sees them hovering precariously just outside the relegation play-off spot.

It is rare to get a classic in a final: more often than not, the game turns into a battle, and that was the case on Saturday night, especially in the first-half, which was a largely forgettable 45 minutes of action as both sides struggled to get a passing game going, despite the excellent condition Noel Connolly and his crew had the pitch in.

The first chance of note fell to United in the fourth minute when Enda Curran got on the end of Jason Molloy’s corner, but Aaron Greene blocked his goal-bound effort. Cantwell hooked the ball off the toe of the raiding Morgan Langley in the 17th minute as the American got a sight of goal; while Winn gathered Greg Bolger’s effort midway through the half at the second attempt.

Cantwell timed his tackle to perfection again on the half-hour mark to once again dispossess Langley – such was the job he did on St Pat’s lone frontman, Langley was replaced by a far-from-fit Christy Fagan just after the hour mark.

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

CITY TRIBUNE

Dropped points leaves Utd losing touch with Cork City

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Galway United's Charlie Lyons tries to halt the progress of Wexford FC's Ger Shortt during Friday evening's Frst Division tie at Eamonn Deacy Park. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

Galway United 2

Wexford FC 2

IT might be just as well that Galway United have drawn UCD in the next round of the FAI Cup as it will give the Tribesmen a taste of what might come in the promotion play-off final later in the year.

UCD or Finn Harps will be the Premier Division side in that play-off, and United look set for that lottery of a route to promotion for a third straight year after these two dropped points on Friday night left them with a lot – maybe too much – to do to catch Cork City.

It was a belter of a game of football, but Wexford will have been the least disappointed of the two sides as they edged a shade closer to Treaty United in the battle for the final play-off spot.

United, on the other hand, fell to now be three points behind City, and with the Leesiders having a game in hand, and also a vastly superior goal difference (+41 as opposed to United’s +29), they have one hand on the league trophy, and the other reaching for the Brasso.

Stephen Walsh was scoring his 15th goal of the season on Friday night, while Rob Manley was making it four goals in five games since joining from Bray Wanderers, but it still wasn’t enough to claim the three points against a visiting side that got their reward for approaching the game in such a positive fashion.

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

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CITY TRIBUNE

Salthill serve up a strong finish to take derby spoils

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Bearna's Murcha Iarsach getting the better of Salthill/Knocknacarra's Cathal Sweeney during Saturday's Senior Football Championship clash at Pearse Stadium. Photos: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

Salthill/ Knocknacara 2-15

Bearna 0-12

Eanna O’Reilly at Pearse Stadium

A very strong fourth quarter from Salthill/Knocknacara saw them see off the challenge of a Bearna side who will have regrets about a game in which they created plenty of scoring chances, but lacked the efficiency of their opponents in front of the posts.

John O’Mahony’s Salthill side struggled to gain dominance of this contest for long spells before their greater accuracy in front of goal began to tell in the second half. An impressive fourth quarter performance put Bearna to the sword, but O’Mahony will know they have plenty to improve on going forward.

The manner in which Bearna opened up the Salthill defence on a couple of occasions in the first half was notable. Salthill were lucky not to concede two goals, when both Oisín Ó Garmaile and Pádraig Ó Diolúin hit the woodwork with shots in the first half. The city men could easily have been behind at half time, rather than going in with a four point lead.

Bearna’s shooting profligacy ultimately caught up with them and undermined an early second half comeback. Three consecutive points saw them reduce the deficit to the minimum, but a couple of scorable frees were also missed, at a time when the momentum was in their favour.

Ultimately, Daithí Ó Domhnallaín’s side were outscored by 1-8 to 0-6 in the second period. Salthill were far more economical, while their use of possession was also superior to Bearna’s throughout the match.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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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 United face tough task in Waterford on potentially defining weekend

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Division tie against Wexford FC at Eamonn Deacy Park. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

THIS could be a defining weekend in the chase for the First Division title, as Galway United make the long trek to take on a Waterford FC side that also faces league leaders, Cork City, on Monday, in the second of two homes Munster derbies this weekend for the Leesiders.

United need to get the job done themselves in the RSC this Friday (7.45pm) before worrying how City fare at home to Treaty United on the same night, and against Waterford on Monday – and anything other than a win will mean it won’t really matter how Cork get on.

“Waterford, they are a team challenging for the title, whether they can keep up or not I don’t know, but they are in there, they are a very good team as we have seen, and they beat [cup holders] Pats [St Patrick’s Athletic] in the cup, it is another massive match for us,” United manager, John Caulfield, said of this Friday’s opponents.

Truth be told, while Waterford may be third in the table, they are 12 points behind City and are not involved in the title race, but that won’t mean they will just roll over to have their bellies tickled on Friday, and while United have the edge in the head-to-head between the sides this season, they have been thrilling, hard-fought battles.

United’s first home game of the season saw Waterford race into a 2-0 lead by the break, only for goals from Stephen Walsh and the since-departed Jordan Adeyomo (gone to Longford) to rescue a point for United.

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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