Galway Utd advanced in the EA Sports Cup after a first round win over the Mayo League at Eamonn Deacy Park on Monday night courtesy of a first half Padraic Cunningham treble.
Galway made nine changes to the side that suffered a first defeat of the season away to Derry City last Friday night as defenders Paul Sinnott and Stephen Walsh were the only survivors to Tommy Dunne’s re-shuffled pack. Mayo featured former Sligo Rovers and Bohemians favourite Joseph N’Do as their player/manager.
One of those changes flew out of the blocks as young striker Padraic Cunningham announced his return to first team action with a match winning hat-trick inside the opening 16 minutes as the Mayo League side struggled in the oppening half.
Cunningham picked up a pass after just two minutes and ran at the Mayo defence, who backed off, before he unleashed an unstoppable strike into the bottom corner past a bemused Mark Duffy.
He doubled his tally on 13 minutes as he bundled home Eric Foley’s corner from the left after some poor defending from the visitors. Three minutes later and he had a hat-trick bagged as he coolly tapped home Conor Melody’s ball after some excellent work from the winger had created the opportunity.
Mayo finally got up the other end just before the half hour mark when left winger Danny Broderick forced a save from Kevin Horgan, while Cunningham forced Duffy into good save at his near post as he went looking for a fourth.
Three up at the break Dunne introduced another youngster after the break as former Salthill Devon player 16 year old Evan Murphy replaced captain Paul Sinnott for the second period, while Mayo introduced Stevie Ryan and JP O’Gorman.
Cunningham was quickly into action as he brought another save from Duffy, while the Mayo keeper also denied Conor Melody with another smart save.
Mayo did improve for the second period and reduced the deficit just past the hour mark as captain Conor Byrne played a lovely ball through the middle to release substitute JP O’Gorman and he slotted the ball into corner past Kevin Horgan for 3-1.
The busy Duffy advanced smartly to deny Jesse Devers after Eric Foley had played him in on the right, while the keeper also pushed away a Devers well struck free-kick on 74 minutes. Dunne introduced another debutant as young Andrew Connolly was introduced for his senior bow as he replaced Jesse Devers for the final quarter.
Ruairi Keating had a header from a Marc Ludden cross deflected away for a corner with ten minutes remaining, while Kilian Cantwell fired wide from the resultant set piece. Mayo ensured they didn’t concede again as they got a lot of players behind the ball and defend well as Galway tried hard to add to Cunningham’s first half hat-trick without succeeding.
Tommy Dunne will be happy to have advanced with the added bonus of getting game time into his squad players with the added bonus of Cunningham shinning on the night with a quick fire 16 minute first half hat-trick.
Galway United: Kevin Horgan; Cormac Raffery, Paul Sinnott (Evan Murphy 46), Stephen Walsh, Marc Ludden; Jesse Devers (Andrew Connolly 75), Killian Cantwell, Eric Foley, Conor Melody; Padraic Cunningham, Ruairi Keating.
Subs not used: Conor Winn (GK), Colm Horgan, Gary Shanahan, Ryan Connolly, Vinny Faherty.
Booked: Killian Cantwell (57)
Mayo League: Mark Duffy, Joe Loughran (Stevie Ryan 46), Sean Kelly, Sean Morrissey, Cillian McGlade; Conor Byrne, Keelan McDonnell (JP O’Gorman 46), Joseph N’Do, Danny Broderick; Gary Concannon, Pat Fitzgerald (Brian Gallagher 79).
Subs not used: Andrew Cunnanne, Peter Quinn, Paddy O’Donnell and Ian Corry
Referee: Padraigh Sutton
Attendance: 400 (Estimate)
Extratime.ie Player of the Match: Padraic Cunningham (Galway Utd)