Galway United managed to get past Cockhill Celtic by the narrowest of margins in a largely forgettable EA Sports Cup tie at Deacy Park on Monday evening.
Cockhill's Gerry Gill put through his own net early in the second half and it proved the only goal as the Donegal side, who had James Bradley sent off late on, fell short of mustering a leveller.
The opening half started in lively fashion, but quickly settled into a tepid affair even with both sides trying hard to create openings.
It is probably understandable that Galway would be a bit disjointed, as they made eight changes from Friday’s league game, and Cockhill were primarily concerned with being competitive.
The only shots on target in the opening half were for Galway from Marc Ludden and Alan Murphy and were capably dealt with by Lee McCarron.
The only other notable incident saw Galway’s debutant Adam Rooney picked up a yellow card for a rash challenge just before the half hour.
Almost all the second-half drama was confined to the opening five minutes.
First, Cockhill tried to introduce Ronan Doherty for McDermott only to realise that the sub had not been included on the card and so he could not partake – after some chat with the fourth official, Martin Doherty came on instead.
Galway took the lead on 50 minutes thanks to a Gerry Gill own goal. Gill got his head to a United free kick, only to see it loop over his keeper. This was tragic for Gill, easily Cockhill’s best player, who also shipped an injury but saw out the game manfully.
Cockhill skipper James Bradley was shown a red card for a lunging tackle, injuring himself in the process, on Alex Byrne with 12 minutes to go and we saw the unusual spectacle of a red card being shown to a player being carted off on a stretcher.
Galway United march on thanks to their back up players – that in itself, will have been useful to manager Shane Keegan.
Cockhill Celtic can be well pleased with their efforts, competing well although they rarely threatened the Galway goal.
Galway United: Arek Mamala, Maurice Nugent, Gary Kinneen, Adam Rooney, Stephen Walsh, Alex Byrne, (Ryan Connolly 80) Stephen Kenny, Alan Murphy, Conor Layng, Ronan Manning, Marc Ludden (Conor Melody 70).
Subs not used: Connor Gleeson (gk), Conor Barry, Eoin McCormack, Carlton Ubaezuonu, Gary Shanahan.
Booked: Adam Rooney (28).
Cockhill Celtic: Lee McCarron; Ryan Varma, Paul McDermott (Ryan Kelly 32), Jason Breslin, Peter Doherty, Oisin McColgan; Gerard McLaughlin, Malachy McDermott (Martin Doherty 46), James Bradley, Pal McKinney; Gerry Gill
Subs not used: Darragh McDermott, Gavin Cullen, Donal Doherty.
Booked: Ryan Varma (71).
Sent off: James Bradley (80).
Referee: John McLoughlin.
Attendance: 400 (estimate).
Extratime.ie Player of the Match: Alan Murphy (Galway United).