James O'Shea 8' -
Declan Edwards 26' -
Alan Murphy 120' -
Declan Edwards 120' -
Sean Kelly 120' -
David Cooke* 120' -
Paul Sinnott 120' -
Top flight team Galway United faced an unnecessary scare and a penalty shoot-out before clinging on against A Championship neighbours Salthill Devon and moving through to the second round of the EA Sports Cup at Terryland Park tonight.
United should never have let the game get to where it did after cruising to what looked like a comfortable 2-0 half-time lead, but they allowed the A Championship team right back into it with a lacklustre and characterless second half performance. Goals in the 72nd and 78th minutes allowed Salthill to draw level, the sides playing out 30 minutes of extra time without success to enforce the shoot-out which Galway eventually won 5-3.
Salthill defender Ray Winters was the unlucky shooter to fail in his penalty attempt to effectively hand Galway the game after their five penalty takers finished with a perfect record.
United had rolled out an almost-A Championship standard starting squad, which was hardly a surprise – the only real talking point being the appearance of John Russell in the starting team. It was the Galway United vice captain’s first game back for the top side in his steady return from injury, having previously taken part in the A Championship game against Sligo the weekend prior. Reserve ‘keeper Ger Hanley got a run against his former club, while striker Vinny Faherty and midfielder Sean Kelly were on the bench and defenders Garry Breen and the injured Seamus Conneely were both rested.
Russell’s return was felt almost from the outset as a header from an Iarfhlaith Davoren cross flew just wide of goal after just four minutes of action. It didn’t take much longer for United to inflict the first damage though, Jay O’Shea calmly curling in a free kick from just outside the box on seven minutes, ‘keeper Marty Mannion so confounded that he did not even move to try and intercept it.
Declan Edwards grabbed his second goal for Galway in the 22nd minute, following on from his successful strike against Drogheda on Friday night. He provided the finishing touch after O’Shea had flicked it through to Davoren, who dragged it wide of the goal before crossing it back to the feet of a flying Edward at the right post.
United were firmly in the driving seat, peppering Mannion over the next few minutes, O’Shea, Edwards and Russell all going close, before Paul Sinnott rattled one off the crossbar. Jason Molloy should have had Galway’s third on the cusp of half-time when left with just the Mannion to beat, but pushed it just wide from close range, meaning it remained a 2-0 advantage at the break.
The one-way traffic continued on resumption. United made a raft of substitutions early in the half, both O’Shea and Russell coming off, along with Davoren, although it did little to swing momentum.
Salthill were not about to give up without a total fight though and retaliated through substitute Enda Dunne on 72 minutes. Shane Browne put the ball through and a Galway defensive error saw Dunne left with just Hanley to beat from directly in front of goal. Momentum was beginning to turn and the surprise equaliser came just six minutes later from Marcen Maranck. It was justified revenge on United who had been sitting in cruise control for the early moments of the second half, failing to afford Salthill much respect.
Mikey Gilmore floated one just over the bar as Salthill went looking for their third, Edwards also trying to get a shot off from between two defenders as the game entered injury time, but putting it over the top left corner, before Padraig Sutton signalled the end of regular time.
Shots were exchanged across the bow in the opening minutes of extra time, Edwards going close for Galway before Sean Murphy forced a high save out of Hanley from a long range free kick, but the opening 15 minutes passed without fruition for either team. The next 15 minutes were equally barren of action, Salthill were reduced to 10 men with three minutes left after Ryan O’Donnell received his second yellow card, but Galway could not take advantage of those last few minutes with an extra man, forcing the game to penalties.
Galway United: Ger Hanley; Mark O’Toole, Shane Guthrie, Paul Sinnott, Iarfhlaith Davoren (Sean Kelly 63); Jay O’Shea (David Cooke 63), John Russell (Michael McGrath 63), Alan Murphy, Niall Walsh; Declan Edwards, Jason Molloy.
Subs not used:
Salthill Devon: Marty Mannion; Ray Winters, Gearoid O’Leidhin, Sean Murphy, James Whelan; Ryan O’Donnell, Adrian Gregg (Enda Dunne 61), Robbie Porter, Marcen Maranck, Mikey Gilmore, Shane Browne.
Subs not used:
Referee : Padraig Sutton.