Salthill Devon 2
Finn Harps 1
Jason Byrne at Drom
Salthill Devon battled to just their second win of the season at Drom on Friday night as they produced a shock to stun Finn Harps.
For once it was Devon who netted a late winner thanks to substitute Mikey Gilmore, after Enda Curran gave the hosts the lead from the penalty spot early in the second half, only for Michael Funston to level for Peter Hutton’s men.
Curran flashed a low free kick inches wide of the mark in the opening minute, and seven minutes later Tommy Bonner’s effort for the visitors forced a comfortable save from Ronan Forde.
With 10 minutes on the clock, veteran Harps hitman Kevin McHugh was beginning to see more of the ball and he found space in the box only to be foiled by youngster Alex Byrne, who is in the middle of his Leaving Cert exams.
Moments later McHugh found a gap again on the right, but his cross was coolly intercepted by Colm Horgan who cleared the danger as the rain pelted down on Drom and the small band of spectators.
Evan Preston-Kelly then blocked down another attempted cross from McHugh and as the half-hour mark approached, Harps spurned a glorious chance to take the lead when Johnny Bonner’s cross fell to Keith Cowan but he completely missed the ball and Devon cleared again.
A minute later Tommy Bonner stood over a free kick on the right flank and played it short along the surface for Marc Brolly, but his low drive was straight at Forde, who held it well.
Devon were working hard, particularly in the middle, to keep the Donegal outfit at bay and the other end Jean Biansumba attempted a cross aimed at Curran, but Harps ’keeper Ciaran Gallagher was alert to cut out the danger.
On the counter Johnny Bonner’s cross was caught by Forde in a similar move, before Brolly was set free by Johnny Bonner and with just Forde to beat his shot was superbly stopped by the Devon number one when the visitors should have gone ahead.
Four minutes after the restart Devon edged in front when Gallagher advanced and upended the advancing Curran and Andrew Mullally pointed to the spot, despite frantic protests from the visitors.
Curran stepped up to calmly slot it to Gallagher’s left for his sixth goal in four games as the rain began to disappear from the sky.
For more, read this week’s Connacht Sentinel.
Galway United’s chance to close gap on table-toppers Shels
Friday the 13th – unlucky for some – and Galway United will be hoping it is an unlucky night for runaway leaders Shelbourne on Friday evening. Shels, who are currently 10 points clear of second place United, are still unbeaten in this year’s First Division with 12 wins and six draws to their name.
The Tribesmen go into this week’s pivotal fixture after a disappointing 3-2 defeat against Cork City last Friday at Eamonn Deacy Park. The game had a ‘hit-and-run’ feel to it as Colin Healy’s side snatched all three points with ten minutes to go which ended United’s seven-game unbeaten league run.
BY TOM BYRNE
Even so, United replaced Treaty United in second place on goal difference after the Limerick outfit were defeated 4-1 by Cabinteely at the Markets Field.
Shelbourne have been the team to beat this season as they look odds-on to win this season’s First Division with nine games to go. Ian Morris’ side were hampered by a number of Covid cases in their squad for last week’s game against UCD, where they drew 0-0 at the UCD Bowl. It is expected that they will have players returning for their crucial clash against United at Terryland.
The two clubs have faced each other on 75 occasions. Shelbourne being victorious the more often with 39 wins, United defeating the north-Dubliners 17 times and 19 games ending in stalemate. United have hit the Shels net 86 times while the 2019 First Division winners have scored on 132 occasions against United.
The two teams played out a 0-0 draw at Eamonn Deacy Park in the first game this season, while Shelbourne had the upper hand in the reverse fixture when they overcame United 4-0 at Tolka Park in May.
Goal friendly Shels have struck 36 goals in 18 games so far this campaign, with former Shamrock Rovers man Ryan Brennan bagging ten of those. United will look to Wilson Waweru and Ruairi Keating for their main source of goals, with the latter hitting the net on seven occasions this season. Waweru brought his goal tally to six last week when he scored United’s first equalising goal against Cork City.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the soccer preview, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.
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.