Shelbourne 1 (Dylan Connolly)
Report courtesy of extratime.ie
Shelbourne brought their unbeaten record to Deacy Park on Friday night and even they will be astonished that they came away with it intact and three points in the bag, with a 93rd minute heartbreaker of a goal – their only serious attempt on target in the whole game.
Michael Elwood was a late replacement for Martin Conneely in the heart of the Galway FC defence, who did not pass muster in the warm up, and he had a fine game throughout.
Shels threatened first after just ninety seconds when Murphy and Connolly combined, but Marc Ludden managed to get a foot in and the danger was averted. Two minutes later a half chance fell to Stephen Walsh but he blasted over following mistake by Adam O’Connor.
Galway forced the first corner of the game after 14 mins when Marc Ludden’s long throw caused panic in the Shelbourne rearguard. Molloy’s corner was punched clear by Murray. Four minutes later Shels attacked menacingly down their left but Colm Horgan was more than a match for Philly Hand and he saw the ball out for a goal kick.
Jake Keegan flicked a header goal wards following a corner after 23 minutes, but it did not have enough power to trouble the Shels goal. Almost immediately Philly Hand almost put through his own goal and Ryan Connolly’s subsequent corner only needed a touch, but the ball beat everybody and was cleared.
Galway FC really need a player with a strikers snout for goal and that deficiency proved very costly.
Lee Murtagh replaced Conor Murphy for Shelbourne on 36 mins and within a minute he was yellow cared for a clumsy foul on Elwood. In between Ryan Connolly had a decent chance but hesitation led to his shot being blocked. Connolly had orchestrated much of what Galway did in the opening half.
Galway forced their eighth corner of the half on the stroke of half time and Jake Keegan got on the end of Molloy’s in-swinger but could not direct it on target, leaving the sides level at the break but with the home side more than holding their own.
Galway started the brighter in the second period and pushed forward at every opportunity, but too often their furthest forward man was left in isolation and several loose balls were not capitalised on.
Jordan Keegan hobbled off for Shels after 49 minutes and was replaced by Darren Tinnelly. Galway enjoyed a real ‘purple patch’ soon after with Ryan Manning blasting a shot over from 25 yards. Manning is a star in the making and is always ready to have a go, but the home side could not seem to get him on the ball near enough to the goal to provide a real threat.
Two minutes later Ryan Connolly’s shot was deflected just wide by Keegan but the flag was up for offside as the home side continued to press
Shelbourne replaced Willo McDonagh with Stephen McDonnell on 56 minutes and within a minute he saw yellow for a foul on Ryan Manning. Ryan Connolly’s resultant free was headed goal wards by Mike Elwood but Greg Murray managed to claw it onto the post and out for a corner.
Shelbourne had another let off when the subsequent corner was taken of the line by Murphy when Adam O’Connor’s attempted clearance was heading into the net. Greg Murray was in action again soon after, blocking Ryan Manning’s shot with his legs.
Dylan Connolly had a break out half chance easily dealt with by Gleeson on the hour mark – the visitors only attempt on target up to that point – and Vinny Faherty was introduced for Keegan five minutes later as the home side went in search of the elusive lead goal.
Ryan Connolly delivered another of his great frees into the box on 67 minutes, but Elwood could not get his head on it and the chance was lost.
The final twenty minutes of the game saw the home side press forward but, try as they may, Galway could get enough men up in support to pick up numerous loose balls. Tragedy then struck for Galway in the 93rd minute when Dylan Connolly picked up a poor half clearance and smacked the ball into the bottom corner for an improbable winner which sent the vocal Shels contingent into raptures.
This loose play at the death was perhaps the only poor play by the home rearguard all night, but at that stage they should have been ahead and will rue the missed chances. Tommy Dunne will have to find a way to get his fullbacks further forward and his midfield up in support of the front two more quickly.
Overall however there was much to admire about the Galway performance in an entertaining game. Shelbourne got out of jail in this one, but they are likely to lead the pack as the season progresses and on this performance Galway FC will not be too far behind them.
Galway FC: Conor Gleeson, Marc Ludden, Colm Horgan, Cian Fadden, Mike Elwood, Paul Sinnott, Jason Molloy (Gary Shanahan 84′), Ryan Manning, Ryan Connolly, Jake Keegan (Vinny Faherty 65′), Stephen Walsh.
Substitutes not used: Noel Varley, Marty Owens, Shane McGinty, Ger Hanley, Sean Gavin
Shelbourne FC: Greg Murray, Brian Gannon, Philip Hand, Adam O’Connor, Lee Desmond, Keith Quinn, William McDonagh Stephen McDonnell 51′), Gareth Coughlan, Dylan Connolly, Conor Murphy (Lee Murtagh 37′), Jordan Keegan (Darren Tinnelly 49′).
Substitutes not used: Shane Dolan, Simon Dixon, Michael Duffy, Nathan Murphy
Referee: Anthony Buttimer
Extratime: Man of the Match: Ryan Connolly (Galway FC)