Vinny Faherty 8' -
Unconvincing and a little sloppy, Galway FC overcame the visit of Finn Harps on Monday evening to reach the quarter finals of the EA Sports Cup. And although it certainly wasn't their best display of the season, the fans will have been happy that they did enough to weather the storm.
Starting quite brightly in their new maroon kits, the men from Connacht took the lead from as early as the eighth minute through former Galway United legend Vinny Faherty.
After a beautiful effort on goal from exciting American prospect Jake Keegan pinged off the woodwork, Faherty gratefully tapped home the rebound from six yards to give the spectators a nice Bank Holiday treat.
But that was to be the extent of the net-shaking as the match – aside from one or two moments of skill - developed in to a rather scrappy, uninspired affair.
With eight changes in total made for the tie, manager Tommy Dunne was out to give some fringe players a moment to shine. But they rarely looked comfortable in their new roles. And Harps took the opportunity to rattle their vastly altered hosts with some decent play at times.
In particular, their right back James Doherty was a delight to behold as he did his best to cause as many problems as possible for Galway's left-back Colm Horgan.
Garnering four chances in total, he looked the most likely player on the park to find a way back in to the match for the visitors, but he simply couldn't find a way to rattle the net.
He came closest of all in the 43rd minute after cutting in on his favoured left foot to fashion a chance, but he failed to hit the target and Galway's 'keeper breathed a sigh of relief.
Then in the 30th minute, Harps' no.10 Josh Mailey had Ger Hanley beaten with a well-struck long-range effort, but he was cruelly denied by the post – and unlike for the Galway goal, there were no lingering team-mates to take advantage of the rebound.
All in all, Harps will have felt dismayed at the final whistle as they certainly deserved to at least pull themselves level.
In truth, a lot of the hosts' chances ended in dead-ends as the new-look starting XI failed to gel as Dunne would have liked, but it will still prove to be a vital building block in their progress for when they're needed in the future.
Colm Horgan, Keegan and Derek O'Brien's combination down the left flank before half-time that ended in the ball bobbling frustratingly out of play was precisely the type of unfortunate error that seemed to dog their efforts.
And with the Donegal outfit in the ascendancy, it looked as though they might just grab the goal they so desperately needed. But the breaks just weren't going their way.
And when Ipswich youth product Carol Tiofack was denied a free-kick after going down under a challenge just outside the box on the left, manager Ollie Horgan was visibly irate on the sidelines.
Galway looked re-invigorated after Ryan Connolly came on, but even his free-kick in 86th minute couldn't find the target. And when Harps' Mailey played Paul McVeigh in with the showdown coming to an end, it was clear this was going to be Galway's day – if only marginally.
So, the Tribesmen march on to the quarter finals while Horgan's charges, although showing encouraging signs of progress, continue to stumble.
Galway FC: Ger Hanley; Marty Owens, Alex Byrne, Cian Fadden, Colm Horgan; Gary Shanahan, Shane McGinty (Paul Sinnot 82), Sean Gavin (Ryan Connolly 72), Derek O'Brien (c) (Stephen Walsh 70); Jake Keegan, Vinny Faherty.
Subs not used: James Keane (gk), Marc Ludden, Jason Molloy, Martin Conneelly
Finn Harps: Shaun Patton; James Doherty (Chris Flanagan 84), Caoimhin Bonner, Packie Mailey (c), Johnny Bonner; Carel Tiofack, Graham Fisher (Darragh Black 69), Mark Forker (Pat McCann 84), Gareth Harkin; Paul McVeigh, Josh Mailey.
Subs not used: Conor Winn (gk), Ruairi Keating, Ciaran Coll, Tommy Bonner.
Referee: Ray Matthews
Extratime.ie Man of the Match: James Doherty (Finn Harps)