SALTHILL DEVON 0
SHAMROCK ROVERS 2
JASON BYRNE AT DEACY PARK
SUBSTITUTE Billy Dennehy was the hero for Shamrock Rovers at Eamonn Deacy Park on Friday night as the Kerryman saved the Hoops’ blushes with two goals to deny battling Salthill Devon.
This was Trevor Croly side’s first visit to the banks of the Corrib since the demise of Galway United in 2011, and former United man Karl Sheppard was the man to pick out Dennehy on 62 minutes, much to the relief of the travelling support, before the reserve sealed his brace.
In the opening minute, James Chambers fired an early warning to Salthill Devon when his crisp free kick flashed over the bar. Subsequently, Sean O’Connor crossed to Jason McGuinness but his header was cleared off the line by Jamie McGlynn.
Devon continued to frustrate the Hoops as each member of John Brennan’s side put in a monstrous effort, with Jakub Tomanica and Craig Harding at the core of good spells of Devon possession.
On 20 minutes, O’Connor sent another corner low to the waiting Ronan Finn at the edge of the box but his drive also flew just over the bar. Enda Curran and Stephen Rodden then supported each other well in another spell of Salthill possession as the travelling support grew uneasy.
In Rovers’ latest attempt to create an opening, Sheppard played a neat ball over the top aimed at Thomas Stewart, but Devon skipper Robbie Gaul was on hand to clear.
Devon were 14/1 to advance to the third round before kick-off and on the half hour mark they almost grabbed a shock lead when Craig Harding won a free kick from around 30 yards from goal, and Enda Curran’s bullet smashed off the crossbar.
Two minutes later another Rovers corner was whipped in by O’Connor but it was headed over by James Chambers, before O’Connor had a decent effort himself from a free kick which went narrowly wide.
As half time approached Devon were still ticking along nicely – but were almost punished for cheap giveaway when O’Connor picked up the loose ball and had another go, but again failed to hit the target.
On the stroke of half time, Devon nearly shocked the visitors once again when Curran’s deflected effort took a fierce dip and almost landed in the net, only for Conor Powell to be in the right place to hook it over the bar.
After the restart, Shamrock Rovers seemed to really up the tempo and the search for a goal was increased. Four minutes in, Jason McGuinness found himself at the back post but his low came off the upright and frantic Devon cleared.
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.