- LOI17 North
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Galway FC registered their first competitive win as late second half goals from Marty Owens and sub Jake Keegan finally saw the home side overcome their Mayo neighbours at Eamonn Deacy Park on Tuesday night in the EA Sports Cup.
The home side dominated possession from the off forcing three early corners, while defender Mike Elwood struck the side netting in the opening minute and Jason Molloy fired a free-kick just off target. The visitors were competitive throughout but lacked a serious cutting edge up front as Ger Hanley had very little to deal with in contrast with his opposite number Gary Cunningham who saw a busy night.
Tommy Dunne made nine changes to his starting eleven as only Marc Ludden and Molloy survived with Stephen Walsh, Ryan Manning and Derek O’Brien, who all missed the 1-0 defeat by Longford on Friday through suspension, making their debuts.
O’Brien did well on 19 minutes breaking into the box and taking the ball around Mayo keeper Cunningham but couldn’t force the ball home from a tight angle as defender Peter Bourke got back to clear the danger.
Stephen Walsh then wasted another opportunity when Shane McGinty;s pass released him through the middle but the advancing Cunningham blocked his effort with Bourke clearing the loose ball. With Ryan Manning showing his passing range, something Galway could have done with badly against Longford, he found O’Brien on the left but the winger’s effort just missed the target.
Just before the break O'Brien skipped past right back Stephen Ryan and picked out Stephen Walsh but he headed straight at Cunningham, while former Mervue Utd player Benny Lavelle fired Mayo’s only decent effort wide of Ger Hanley’s goal as the half ended scoreless.
Galway looked to up the ante in the second half but found Mayo keeper Cunningham in fine form as he denied Manning, on three occasions, Molloy and Shane McGinty with excellent stops in the opening 20 minutes.
He produced a wonderful flying save to push a Manning 35 yard free-kick, heading for the top corner, away for a corner on 49 minutes. He frustrated Manning again six minutes later turning a low effort away for another corner and then tipped Molloy’s effort over his crossbar as the home side forced a number of early second half corners.
Cunningham came out on top against Manning once again past the hour mark after Marc Ludden set up the young striker, while McGinty was also denied by the keeper with another fine stop on 69 minutes.
Just when it looked like Cunningham was having one of those nights, the home side finally and deservedly made the break through with fifteen minutes remaining. A good move saw Walsh off load to sub Jake Keegan and his run drew the defensive cover as he squared the ball to the unmarked Owens who slotted past the Mayo keeper.
Keegan had liven up the home sides attacking threat on his introduction and he added a second seven minutes from time after beating a number of Mayo defenders and finishing brilliantly into the corner with a low drive past Cunningham.
Lavelle tested Ger Hanley late on as the home keeper was forced into a good reaction to ensure a clean sheet on the night with the Mayo sides first and only shot on target.
Cunningham produced one final save to cap a fine performance as he denied McGinty a late third goal for the home side in injury time.
Galway FC: Ger Hanley; Marty Owens, Mike Elwood, Cian Fadden, Marc Ludden; Noel Varley, Shane McGinty, Derek O’Brien (Jake Keegan 66); Jason Molloy (Colm Horgan 66), Ryan Manning, Stephen Walsh.
Subs not Used: Ronan Forde (GK), Alex Byrne, Paul Sinnott, Ryan Connolly, Vinny Faherty.
Booked: Fadden (47), McGinty (64), Keegan (81).
Mayo League: Gary Cunningham; Stephen Ryan (Sean Morrissey 81), Peter Bourke, Andrew Neary, Joe Lawless; Brendan Lavelle, Daniel Gorman, Patrick Fizgerald, Philip Keegan; David Hoban (Jamie Cawley 78), Ronan O’Boyle (JP O’Gorman 65)
Subs not Used: Sean Fahy (GK), Chris Rowland, Theron Coghill, Andrew Leahy.
Booked: Hoban (25), Ryan (76).
Referee: Robert Hennessey (Limerick)
Attendance: 150 (estimate)
www.extratime.ie Man of the Match: Ryan Manning (Galway FC) - Showed great vision with his passing and only a smart performance from Mayo keeper Gary Cunningham denied him a goal or two.