Date: 7:45 p.m. Nov. 6, 2009
Venue: Terryland Park
In reality, the result leaves Galway in limbo with rumours rife of Derry City's imminent demotion which may be rubber-stamped tomorrow. For now, Foster's side must prepare for a play-off with Drogheda
Galway were forced into a reshuffle from their draw at Tallaght Stadium, as Seamus Conneely and Sean Kelly formed the central defensive pairing for the second time this season in place of the suspended Shane Guthrie and Garry Breen. Danny Murphy sat out for Cork City after receiving his marching orders versus Dundalk, Stephen Mulcahy taking his place in Doolin's starting eleven.
Cork were quickly into their stride, and bossed the opening ten minutes without creating a chance. When they were presented with a dead-ball situation just outside the area, though, the cracks in the Galway defence began to show. Stephen O'Donnell's whipped cross forced a corner, Dan Murray's free header led to Barry Ryan palming over a Davin O'Neill effort and from the next corner, O'Neill rose unhindered to nod Cork into a deserved lead.
Doolin's men continued on the offensive, and when Kudozovic linked up with Dennehy down the left, it took Murphy's intervention to deny former team-mate Greg O'Halloran a shooting opportunity. The Tribesmen struggled to get out of their own half, Dave Cooke's 20th minute shot from long range failing to trouble McNulty.
Amazingly, though, they drew level on 25 minutes after stringing more than three passes together for the first time. Alan Murphy whipped in a terrific cross from the left which fell perfectly for Vinny Faherty to volley in from close range for his fifth goal of the season. The largest Terryland Park crowd of the season finally had something to cheer about.
They were silenced within minutes, though, as Cork hit the front once more, with Galway's defending notable by its' absence. Kudozovic again was at the heart of a flowing move, and Dennehy's effort from inside the six yard box trickled over the line to put City in the driving seat for a European spot and a healthier prize for finishing third.
Further chances were limited in the extreme before the break, as Alan Murphy went closest with a shot from 20 yards which skidded wide. Galway began to assert themselves, but with Dennehy, Kudozovic, and O'Neill looking sharp on the break, the Rebels still looked the more likely. With 45 minutes gone, Galway had dropped into the play-off spot, a position they had avoided for 99% of the season, and a change in attitude was badly needed to avoid an anxious wait for news from Abbotstown on Saturday.
Cork maintained their superiority, however, and Murray and O'Neill both had chances to extend the lead early on; Ryan making an excellent full length save to deny the striker his second of the night. With John Russell on in place of Alan Murphy, Galway began to compete on more equal terms in the centre of the field, but were unable to get the pacy Aaron Greene into the game.
They were denied a penalty when Vinny Faherty's shot was blocked, but not by a hand said referee Declan Hanney. Faherty was booked for his protestations and the severity of the Galway United appeals appeared to back up his complaints.
Galway then had a let off when Dennehy poked wide with the goal at his mercy, but Russell's promptings from midfield continued to push his side on and he began the move that brought Galway level with 17 minutes left, feeding O'Brien on the left who beat Lordan for pace before drilling in a low ball that allowed Faherty to dart in and poke home at the near post.
Knowing another goal was needed, Ian Foster cut an animated figure on the touchline, pointing and encouraging his side on. Greene forced McNulty into his first real save of the evening on 76, while Ryan had to be sharp to deny O'Donnell at the other end. The final ten minutes may have been frantic, but they failed to produce a winner, meaning Cork had achieved their aim of European football while Galway must wait for the administrators to decide their fate.
Galway United: Barry Ryan; Paul Sinnott, Seamus Conneely, Sean Kelly, Iarfhlaith Davoren; Cian McBrien, Alan Murphy (John Russell, 46), Dave Cooke (Shane Fitzgerald, 73) Derek O'Brien; Aaron Greene, Vinny Faherty.
Subs not used: Ger Hanley, John Sangi, Jason Molloy.
Cork City: Mark McNulty; Neal Horgan, Kevin Long, Dan Murray, Greg O'Halloran; Billy Dennehy, Cillian Lordan, Stephen O'Donnell, Stephen Mulcahy; Faz Kudozovic, Davin O'Neill.
Subs not used: Guntars Silagailis, Shane Duggan, Paul Deasy, Wesley Tong, Gareth Cambridge.
Referee: Declan Hanney.
extratime.ie Man of the Match: First Half - Faz Kudozovic....Second Half - John Russell.