WITH Mervue United looking to be in an unassailable position at the top of the Premier Division, the chase is on for the runners up position.
On Sunday morning, four second half goals helped Hibernians to a 4-0 victory over St Patrick’s in Bohermore. The home side were rapid out of the blocks on the resumption and goals by Keith Ward, Jason McDonagh and Ronan Caldwell had them three up by the hour mark before Dave Smith wrapped up the scoring in the closing stages for the second placed side.
St Bernard’s maintained their impressive form with a 4-2 win over East United. The sides were level at the break as Mike Tierney and Mark Lydon exchanges the goals, but the home side pulled away courtesy of efforts by Jason Finn and Craig Kennedy (two). Alex got a late consolation effort for the visitors.
Despite Gary Forde giving Athenry the lead at home to Corrib Rangers, goals in each half by David Goldbey and John O’Brien helped the City side to a 2-1 away victory in Moanbawn.
The promotion race is intensifying with table toppers Corrib Celtic the only certainties to go up from about five candidates at the moment.
One side making a real burst from the lower half of the table are Corrib Rangers B and two recent wins have marked them down as distant title contenders. On Sunday, they inflicted a first defeat of the league campaign on Corrib Celtic as a goal by player manager Ollie Rafferty gave them a 1-0 win in Annaghadown.
In midweek, goals by David McDonagh and Geoffrey Power helped Rangers B to a 2-0 away win over West United. Corrib Celtic were also in action on Thursday and goals by Mike O’Malley, Laurence Forde, Shane Concannon and Chris Greaney powered them to a 4-1 victory over Salthill Devon.
The weekend also marked a first league win of the campaign for bottom side Mervue United B as they emerged 4-2 winners against Colemanstown United. Badly depleted for the away contest, they gave a goalkeeping debut to striker Emlyn Coyne and after all these years in action, he might have found his true position.
Barry Connolly is another veteran who has scored a lot of goals down the seasons and, on Sunday, his classic finish from inside the box ensured a good day for the visitors as he notched the fourth. Dermot Warde (two) and Eoghan O’Boyle also found the range, while Damien Wynne and Gary O’Grady took the scoring honours for the home side.
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.