Hurley the hero for United as table toppers win again

Athlone Town    0

Galway United   1

By Mike Rafferty in Athlone

A late header by David Hurley proved to be the difference as Galway United got past a committed home side in Athlone on Friday night and, in the process, the First Division leaders increased their advantage at the top of the table to 16 points.

With second placed Waterford not in action as their away contest against Limerick was called off due to a waterlogged pitch, John Caulfield’s charges took full advantage but it was a real endurance test before they finally breached the home rearguard.

Now just like in Cobh the previous week, United started slowly and it took the agility of Brendan Clarke – who was keeping his 14th clean sheet of the season – to keep them in the game as Athlone peppered United’s goal in the early exchanges. However, as the visitors gradually grew into the game, only some poor finishing or in some cases the lack of it, presented little reward with home custodian Enda Minogue having a comfortable evening despite all that was going on about him in the penalty area.

Ultimately it all came down to a smashing header from Hurley, who was scoring against the Midlands outfit for the third game in succession. He eventually found space in the box to power home a smashing cross delivered by Conor O’Keeffe to make it 1-0 on 85 minutes. The outcome made it  11 games unbeaten for the Tribesmen, as they continue to set the standard at the top of the table.

The missed chances was something that was not lost on manager John Caulfield afterwards. “Look it was a brilliant win. I thought we were really good. Now you can see why Athlone are in the play-offs and they started really well, but we managed. However, we missed some glorious chances in both halves. We kept the pressure on, kept creating and missing. Eventually we got the breakthrough with a fantastic winner and it was a reward for our performance. We are in control of our own situation, so we have to forget about everyone else and continue to do what we are doing.”

United made two changes to the team that shared the spoils with Cobh Ramblers the previous week, with Ronan Manning and Oisin O’Reilly starting, as Rob Slevin and Francely Lomboto dropped to the bench.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.


For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune:

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