The FAI Junior Cup draw wasn’t exactly kind to the minnows, and based on Sunday’s match results, the top flight teams took full advantage to hammer some of the lower division sides.
However, East United registered a first win of the season when they saw off St Patrick’s in the only all-Premier clash, while for Mervue United and Corrib Rangers it was a stroll in the park as they comfortably saw off Colga and Medtronic in one-sided encounters on a day when the Premier sides advanced in comfort.
Knocknacarra 1 NUI Galway 5
After drawing their first game of the season, newly promoted Knocknacarra have since found life difficult in the First Division.
However, single goal losses in the three following games have indicated that they are certainly competitive, and while the outcome of this FAI Junior Cup tie at Cappagh Park on Sunday might indicate differently, they certainly made the Students work for their win.
Having opened up a two goal interval advantage while facing the elements, it looked like the university side would go nap on the resumption, but while the scoreline tells one tale, the reality is that Knocknacarra certainly made more of a contest of it in the second half.
A Mikey Creane finish gave the students the perfect start on six minutes when he got the better of Lee Ralph from close range, before Tommy Bradshaw made it 2-0 with a free-kick from outside the box.
Goals aside, the visitors didn’t exactly do a lot otherwise in that opening half. The home side too lacked a cutting edge, as just David O’Malley tested Martin Mannion from a free-kick, while the goalkeeper did well to deny Keith O’Shaughnessy at the edge of the box.
The second half saw Knocknacarra show far greater urgency as the bustling Taisce Gillespie – along with Willie Condon, David O’Malley and Keith O’Shaughnessy – were making much more of an impact.
For all their possession, they seldom threatened Mannion from open play, but set-pieces always appeared to have the Students in a dither. Gillespie, Lorcan Browne, and O’Malley all threatened, before the latter struck the crossbar with an effort, with Dave Kinneen unable to finish off the rebound from close range.
The visitors showed how it should be done on 70 minutes, as a long run up by Paul Scally for a free-kick saw him lash a low effort through the defensive wall and past the unsighted Miguel Posse for a 3-0 advantage.
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.