Galway United FC
Fri 27 Jun 2014
0 - 3
Don Cowan - Goal (10')
Mark Salmon - Goal (40')
Gary Shaw - Goal (60')
At a GlanceFriday night witnessed a crucial top-of-the-table First Division clash as second-placed Galway FC went down 3-0 against third-placed Longford Town at Eamonn Deacy Park.
Friday night witnessed a crucial top-of-the-table First Division clash as second-placed Galway FC went down 3-0 against third-placed Longford Town at Eamonn Deacy Park.
With the stakes high after the two-week domestic break, both sides were hungry to resume with a big win, especially as league-leaders Shelbourne were expected to overcome the challenge of Wexford Youths.
But it was the Midlands side who were the more fired-up, approaching the tie with more vigour and purpose – and they looked fantastic value for the win.
Controlling the midfield, Mark Salmon, in particular, had a great game to keep Galway's midfield generals quiet with a towering performance.
Dominating the majority of the first half, Tony Cousins' charges stormed to an early lead from as early as the 10th minute through their right-winger, Don Cowan.
After Galway had given the ball away cheaply just outside the 18-yard box, the play was shifted out wide to the left-hand side where Lorcan Shannon was lurking. His cross in to a crowded penalty area was connected with by the physical wide-man to give them a deserved lead.
And it was Cowan who was the star man for the first 25 minutes. He gave both Galway full-backs Colm Horgan and Marc Ludden a torrid time as he continued to switch wings, although he did eventually fade out of the game as his early bursts of pace caught up with him.
His tricky runs to bamboozle the defenders, as well as his sheer strength, allowed him to carve open chances on a number of occasions.
The one he made in the 19th minute to pull the ball back inside the box to Kevin O' Connor was characteristic of his early display. Unfortunately for him, Longford's no.11 was denied expertly by Conor Gleeson in the Galway goal.
Roused by the home support, Tommy Dunne's men tried to fight back with an immediate response to the concession of an early goal.
Marc Ludden's long throw-in from deep in Longford territory bounced past everyone to fall to the head of Galway's Gary Shanahan, but their no. 17's effort on goal bobbled harmlessly away from danger.
And, in truth, it really was end-to-end stuff for most of the match as the men from Connaacht refused to give in.
A great chance came Galway's way on the half-hour mark after Ryan Connolly floated in a decent free-kick to give Lonford custodian Paul Hunt something to think about. But Marc Ludden's header flashed marginally over the bar.
The drama continued in the 35th minute, with the hosts still in the tie, as there were appeals for handball from the crowd after Connolly fired an absolute belter back into a densely-populated box.
The referee, however, was having none of it and he waved play on.
Just before the break, in the 41st minute, Longford managed to double their lead through Mark Salmon as he produced a screamer that had Gleeson beaten all ends up.
Chesting the ball down from a pass, he connected expertly with it from 25 yards to send the travelling supporters wild; it truly was a sumptuous goal.
Galway began the second half with renewed vigour as they continued to chase down a draw – Gary Shanahan, in particular looked good for the first 15 minutes following the restart.
His positive run down the right flank to beat Glen O' Connor before fashioning a pass in to Stephen Walsh underlined how eager he was to make an impact, but the finishing just wasn't there.
Then, the killer blow arrived just a few minutes later as Gary Shaw tucked away their third goal with a tidy finish in to the bottom right-hand corner to guarantee a hugely important three points that sees Longford keep the pressure on Shelbourne at the summit as well as leapfrogging Galway.
Galway FC: Conor Gleeson; Colm Horgan, Martin Conneelly (Derek O' Brien 61), Alex Byrne, Marc Ludden (Marty Owens 79); Gary Shanahan (Vinny Faherty 67), Paul Sunnot, Ryan Connolly, Jason Molloy; Jake Keegan, Stephen Walsh.
Unused subs: Ger Hanley (gk), Robbie Egan, Aaron McDonagh, Padraic Cunningham.
Longford Town: Paul Hunt; Jamie Mulhall (Noel Haverty 84), Pat Sullivan, Pat Flynn, Glen O' Connor; Lorcan Shannon (Etanda Nkolo 77) , Kevin O' Connor, Mark Salmon, Don Cowan (Peter Hynes 64); David O' Sullivan, Gary Shaw.
Unused subs: Chris Bennion (gk)
Referee: Andrew Mullally
Extratime Man of the Match: Mark Salmon (Longford Town).