A disappointing night all round for Galway United tonight as they slumped to a 3-1 loss at home to Donegal amateurs Cockhill Celtic. A weakened United side failed to create many chances as the away side converted when given the opportunity. Two goals from Paul McKinley either side of half time added to William O’Connor’s headed finish one minute after Galway’s opener was enough to ensure the away side triumphed on a tough night for the home side.
Both sides started brightly but the injury to Galway midfielder Gary Curran after two minutes meant that a reshuffle was needed early on as Neil Keane came on to partner Yoffe in attack. Already without key player Maher, Ryan and Fleming this was a huge blow to the home side. On the positive side Moore and Yoffe seemed to work well together and when Keane was sent through the Celtic defence his cut back was finished by Yoffe from two yards out.
The next fifteen minutes would decide Galway’s fate as the Donegal side came charging back, winning a free kick from just after the restart the ball was swung in from the left and knocked back across goal leaving William O’Connor to finish unmarked from two yards. Not content with their solitary goal the away side pushed forward and got their rewards just before half time as a corner was initially cleared but then sent back into the box for Paul McKinley to rise highest and head the ball into the far corner.
A reshuffle at half time did little to alter Galway’s fortunes as they failed to make their early pressure count in the second half. From a Moore corner Sean Kelly sent the ball across the goal only to see it scrambled away as no Galway player could make contact.Cockhill Celtic were looking dangerous on the break and finished the game off five minutes into the second half when Gerry Gill played a great ball into the box from the left with great pace and was met by the head of McKinley once again to finish powerfully into the net leaving Sinnott and Winn helpless to stop it.
The visitors began retreating into their own half as United began to push on. Galway were unable however to create any meaningful chances and as the half wore on it seemed it would be the away side if any who would score the next goal. A mix up at the back between stand-in keeper Winn and Walsh ended with the keeper booting the ball off McKinley thirty yards from goal only for it to dribble towards goal and eventually wide.
A resolute and dogged Cockhill side did inevitably tire towards the end of the second half but their grit and determination was enough for them to see the game out comfortably as they reduced the home side to pumping long balls into the box which a strong Celtic backline had no problem dealing with.
Speaking after the game a disappointed Sean Connor said “I needed to see what I had underneath the first twelve or thirteen players that I think are good enough at this level and could they compete and they didn’t, and that was compounded by the senior players left in the team probably had some of their worst performances since they’ve been here”. He also went on to add that “Neil Keane had popped his shoulder and that Gary Curran is a major doubt” for Friday’s derby clash against Sligo.
A well deserved win for the Donegal side will have hurt the confidence of this young Galway team but it may also help them learn they have to battle much harder if they are to stay in the League.
Galway United: Conor Winn; Shaun Kelly, Paul Sinnot, Keith Duffy (Rory Gartlan, 45), Stephen Walsh; Karl Moore, Gary Curran (Neil Keane, 2 (Shane Keogh, 58)), Sean Kelly, Gary Kelly, Alan Murphy, Joseph Yoffe.
Subs Not Used: Greg Fleming, Darragh Duggan, Anthony Havelin, Paul Smith.
Cockhill Celtic: Stephen Conroy; Kieran Mcloughlin, William Mcloughlin, John McEvoy, William O'Connor; Malachy Mcdermot, James Bradley, Liam O'Donnell, Paul McKInney (Aiden O’Donnell, 83); Mark Moran (Derek Doherty, 66), Gerry Gill.
Subs Not Used: Alan Fletcher, Shane Gallivan, Michael O'Connor.
Referee: Brendan Kelly.
Man Of The Match: William O’Connor (Cockhill Celtic).