Andrew Dempsey reporting from Stradbrook
It was a game of ifs, buts and maybes at Stradbrook this Sunday afternoon as Cabinteely will see themselves as incredibly unfortunate not to have come up with at least a point against promotion chasing Galway United in South Dublin.
Goals from defenders Robbie Williams and Marc Ludden saw Galway come out on top in a game that the Tribesmen could have easily fallen to a defeat in. Keith Dalton scored a late, yet controversial consolation goal for Cabo.
An eventful first half was instigated by Luke Clucas who saw his long-range effort from thirty yards skew wide of Tadhg Ryan’s goal in an eventful opening ten minutes to the first half at the South Dublin venue.
Despite the even nature of the opening exchanges, it was Galway United who struck first as Robbie Williams buried a bouncing ball home in the Cabinteely box as Ryan Connolly’s threatening delivery was not dealt with well at all by a shaky Cabinteely back five.
The goal kicked Cabo into life and they really should have scored at least one of their fantastic clear-cut chances as they pinned back the Galway United attacks with some relentless speed and pressure up until Marc Ludden’s strike in the 39th minute.
Cabinteely’s first major chance of note in the first half saw striker Joe Doyle have a great chance to equalise in the 16th minute but his stinging effort from just outside the box whistled over Tadgh Ryan’s net in Cabo’s first real chance of the half.
Dean Casey was up next with a big chance as he saw his one-on-one effort well saved by former Huddersfield Town man Tadgh Ryan in the 20th as Galway United’s slender one-goal looked very slim as the mid-way point of the first half came along.
Luke Clucas was next up as his one-on-one opportunity was wasted against Ryan in the Cabinteely goal as he fired his ferocious shot straight down the throat of a relieved Galway United netminder as Cabinteely intensified their efforts looking for an equaliser.
Next up was Joe Doyle who arguably had the best chance of the half for Cabo as he saw his tap-in, which looked destined for the net, blocked away by some desperate last-ditch defending from United centre-back Stephen Walsh on the half hour mark.
Doyle went close later on in the 34th minute but he saw his tame effort smack into Tadgh Ryan’s side netting after Conor Earley released the former Cabinteely schoolboy clean through on goal.
Despite all their dominance, it was Galway who grabbed that all important second goal as Marc Ludden tapped home close range to establish a bit of daylight between the pair at the South Dublin.
The move stemmed from some industrious work by Alan Murphy at the edge of the Cabinteely penalty area as he found the feet of Eoin McCormack who chipped in a delightful ball to the back post that Gary Shanahan flicked towards the onrushing Ludden who poked home from close range.
That was really that in terms of action for the first half as Galway United took a quite fortunate two-goal lead into the half-time interval at the home of Blackrock College RFC.
The second half started in a rather low-key affair as both sides looked to establish their own styles of play upon one another as neither side really settled into the half well as half-chances were the order of play after the restart.
Similarly to the first half, it was Cabinteely who had all the major chances of note as Karl Byrne and Eoin Stokes threatened Ryan in the Galway goal, which ultimately came to no avail for the home side.
Galway very nearly put the result beyond doubt as the towering presence that was Alan Murphy could have seen his effort on Stephen McGuinness’ goal just about skew wide as Cabo were very nearly caught out by Ryan Connolly’s delivery that bounced into the path of the 36-year-old on the edge of the penalty area.
The introduction of Kieran Marty Waters changed the scope of the Cabinteely attacks as they looked more and more threatening as the half wore on as the former Shamrock Rovers man looked to be the man capable of hitting the back of the net for Pat Devlin’s inconsistent side at Stradbrook.
As the game headed towards its natural conclusion, Cabo were handed an unlikely lifeline as Keith Dalton tapped home from close range after a controversial series of events. It appeared as if Ryan picked up a back pass and Luke Clucas was the quickest to react as he passed the ball onto Dalton who finally gave the home crowd something to shout about.
Cabo threatened late on as they sought an unlikely and improbable late equaliser, but it was all in vain as an efficient Galway United held out for a massive three points as Shane Keegan’s side will be looking forward to Friday night’s crucial home clash against Drogheda United at Éamonn Deacy Park.
Cabo on the other hand will be left licking their wounds here but they will undoubtedly be encouraged by their spirited display against a side that have been tipped for great things come the end of the season as they look forward to a mouth-watering South Dublin Derby home clash against UCD at Stradbrook on Friday night.
Cabinteely: Stephen McGuinness; Karl Byrne, Dean Casey (Keith Dalton, 85), Jack Tuite, Conor Keeley, Kevin Knight; Andy O’Reilly (Jack Watson, 72), Conor Earley, Eoin Stokes, Luke Clucas; Joe Doyle (Kieran Marty Waters, 64).
Subs not used: Jamie Broderick, Anthony Dolan, Sean Hyland, Eoghan Morgan.
Booked: Jack Tuite (73).
Sent Off: None.
Galway United: Tadhg Ryan; Marc Ludden, Maurice Nugent, Danny Furlong, Ryan Connolly, Eoin McCormack (Carlton Ubaezuonu ,86), Alan Murphy, Alex Byrne (Conor Barry, 86), Robbie Williams; Gary Shanahan, Stephen Walsh.
Subs not used: Stephen Kenny, Conor Layng, Arek Mamala, Ronan Manning, Conor Melody.
Booked: Alex Byrne (80), Eoin McCormack (65).
Sent Off: None.
Referee: Jason Mannix
Attendance: 250 (Estimate)
Extratime.ie Man of the Match: Tadgh Ryan (Galway United)