Shelbourne FC 2 (Keegan 22′, Coughlan 35′)
Galway FC 4 (Walsh 3′, Conneely 26′, 52′, Keegan 65′)
Report courtesy of theLOIblog.ie
By Michael Fay
Galway ended Shelbourne’s unbeaten league record on Friday night in front of the President of Ireland, hitting the reds net four times as they ran out 4-2 winners in the SSE Airtricity First Division.
The presidents team went one nil up straight away, when good play down the left from Galway, Derek O’Brien swung an inviting cross into the Shels box, Reds keeper Greg Murray came to collect the ball, lost out to the returning Stephen Walsh, his header looked to have been cleared off the line but assistant Paula Brady signalled for a goal, the visitors had taken a lead after just three minutes. The Tribesmen worked extremely hard early on, putting extreme pressure on Shelbourne when they were in possession.
It took Shelbourne some time to settle down, after seven minutes though they put together a lovely move down the left hand side, a neat interchange between Philip Hand, Gareth Coughlan and Conor Murphy almost got the home side in behind the Galway defence but it wasn’t to be this time.
Shels had their first shot on target after twenty three minutes, and what a strike, Jordan Keegan chesting a pass around the Galway defender to then hit a rocket from twenty five yards out left Conor Gleeson with no chance going in off the post, bringing a smile to the Shelbourne faithful and President Michael D. Higgins.
Those smiles didn’t last long, barely a couple of minutes later, a Galway corner bounced around the area and Martin Conneely was on hand to head home, the visitors had restored their lead which they had squandered for all of two minutes. Tommy Dunne’s men nearly doubled their lead straight away when right back Marty Owens hit a half volley from thirty yards out just dipping over the bar.
Shels huffed and puffed but couldn’t find the final, the passing was crisp but there was a lack of movement if front of the midfielders as Keegan and Coughlan tried to pick the lock.
The home side needed something special, and after thirty four minutes, Gareth Coughlan produced that with a stunning free kick more than twenty five yards from goal beating Gleeson hitting the same post as the first goal and creeping over the line.
Galway came out in the second half the better team, with Captain Paul Sinnott dictating the game alongside the impressive Ryan Connolly. They took the lead just after the half time break when Martin Conneely doubled his tally for the evening with another header from a corner losing his marker Lee Murtagh to restore the away sides lead.
The game was sealed moments later when substitute Jake Keegan struck an absolute beauty from twenty yards on the half volley beating Greg Murray all ends up.
With just ten minutes left it could have been worse for Shels as Ryan Connolly broke through the reds defence tried a lob just to it could have wrapped up what was an excellent performance from the Tribesmen.
Shels had a late rally with Gareth Coughlan going close twice, but it wasn’t to be for the league leaders.
Johnny McDonnell will be disappointed in the manner his side conceded all four goals, especially the first 3 all coming from crosses, but can have no complaints about the final result, the better team won in Tolka, no doubt about that.
Shelbourne FC: Greg Murray, Philip Hand, Robbie Gaul, Brian Gannon, Lee Desmond, Stephen McDonnell (Jake Donnelly 77′), Jordan Keegan (Michael Duffy 74′), Gareth Coughlan, Keith Quinn, Conor Murphy, Lee Murtagh (Dylan Cashin 66′).
Substitutes: Simon Dixon, Nathan Murphy, Stephen Sheerin, Darren Tinnelly.
Booked: Coughlan 40′, Gannon 72′)
Galway FC: Conor Gleeson, Colm Horgan, Martin Conneely, Alex Byrne, Marty Owens, Stephen Walsh (Vinny Faherty 88′), Ryan Connolly, Derek O’Brien (Jake Keegan 52′), Paul Sinnott, Ryan Manning (Jason Molloy 84′), Gary Shanahan.
Substitiues: Ross Kenny, Ger Hanley, Ross Gavin, Cian Fadden.
Booked: Sinnott 40, Shanahan 74′