Following the demise of the Mervue United’s U-17 and U-18 sides in the closing stages of national competitions in recent weeks, the series of disappointments continued over the weekend when the Galway Youths hardly got out of the starting blocks as they exited the FAI Inter League at the semi-final stage in Eamonn Deacy Park on Sunday.
Expectations were high for a talented bunch, and while a first-half no-show was followed by improved third quarter, a much more clinical Wexford side were merited winners as two late goals killed off any potential comeback.
In Western Hygiene Supplies Premier League action, NUI Galway moved six points clear of the relegation area with a comfortable success over Hibernians, while Athenry maintained their distant challenge behind Mervue United and Corrib Rangers, with a home success over East United.
Galway League 2
Wexford League 3
A decent qualifying campaign led to reasonable expectations of a second national success at this level, but from the early exchanges it was clear that this was not going to be a good day at the office for these lads.
The selection consisted totally of players from Mervue United and Salthill Devon, and they appeared to have the quality required to achieve success, but from the off they were playing second fiddle to a visiting side who last tasted success in this competition in 2008.
Only poor finishing on the behalf of the visitors, and good goalkeeping by Peter Healy, kept any balance in an average contest, with just Padraig Cunningham testing Dylan Owens in any sort of a token home attacking motion in the first-half.
Cunningham always appeared isolated in attack, with Conor Barry playing too far off him, while Ryan Manning appeared isolated wide on the left. As a result, the home side seldom attacked with any authority or in any great numbers and therefore the performance suffered.
Generally outclassed in midfield, the home cause wasn’t helped by the loss through injury of Richard Fahy on 32 minutes and hopes of a scoreless half were ended in additional time, when Stephen McGuire attacked a far post cross by Ryan Nolan to make it 1-0 at the break.
For more, read this week’s Connacht Sentinel.
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.