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Mervue back in title hunt after impressive comeback success



Mervue Utd moved back to third in the First Division table as they came from a goal down to claim a vital away win and deny Longford Town the opportunity of regaining top spot after a well-deserved 3-1 win at the City Calling Stadium on Saturday evening



Despite Longford taking the lead against the run of play through David O’Sullivan in the opening half, Johnny Glynn’s side bounced back to level matters through Gary Shanahan within four minutes and then went on to score twice in three second half minutes to record only a second away win of the season.


Mervue should have taken the lead on 18 minutes as Willo McDonagh’s poor headed clearance went straight into the path of Stephen Walsh but he overhit his attempted lob with just goalkeeper Chris Bennion to beat.


An early injury to defender Ross Kenny saw Tom King enter the fray after 20 minutes as Glynn had to reshuffle his defence. Shanahan went close just before the half hour mark when he shot wide from a good position following an excellent cross-field ball from Marc Ludden.


Derek O’Brien fired straight at Connor Gleeson after O’Sullivan’s blocked effort broke to the winger inside the box before the home side hit the front. Gary Shaw delivered a perfect cross from the right wing to pick out O’Sullivan who had pulled away from his marker to powerfully head beyond Gleeson on 37 minutes for his 17th goal of the season.


Mervue responded well and were back level when the home side failed to clear Jason Molloy’s corner and Ryan Manning’s shot was deflected onto the post with Shanahan tapping home the loose ball from two yards.


Walsh set up Manning with a neat piece of play two minutes after the resumption but Bennion saved the youngster’s effort, while Gleeson gathered a Keith Gillespie volley at the other end. Bennion did well saving another Manning shot on 55 minutes and a minute later Shanahan saw his low shot from the edge of the box hit the outside of the post.


Bennion produced another top drawer save on 66 minutes when he pushed away Manning’s low freekick from just outside the box after Walsh had been hauled down. Gleeson saved another Gillespie shot and Longford’s Corrie Treacy headed away a dangerous Jason Molloy cross from under the crossbar as the game was hanging in the balance.


Shanahan tested Bennion once again as the keeper came out on top after 74 minutes but four minutes later the visitors hit the front in style. Molloy picked up possession in midfield before moving across the park and releasing a beautiful ball for Shanahan to run onto from the left and he brilliantly lobbed the advancing Bennion for 2-1.


A stunned Longford were 3-1 down three minutes later as the tireless Walsh finally got his reward when Shanahan turned provider, releasing the striker through the middle, and he fired into the corner past Bennion with nine minutes remaining to seal the points.


It was almost 4-1 before the end as the visitors continued to push for more goals as Walsh laid the ball into the path of Gary Curran but the midfielder dragged his shot wide of Bennion’s left hand post.


This result really opens up the First Division title race as Longford’s nine point lead has now evaporated and only four points separate the top four in the First Division.



Galway United’s chance to close gap on table-toppers Shels



Friday the 13th – unlucky for some – and Galway United will be hoping it is an unlucky night for runaway leaders Shelbourne on Friday evening. Shels, who are currently 10 points clear of second place United, are still unbeaten in this year’s First Division with 12 wins and six draws to their name.

The Tribesmen go into this week’s pivotal fixture after a disappointing 3-2 defeat against Cork City last Friday at Eamonn Deacy Park. The game had a ‘hit-and-run’ feel to it as Colin Healy’s side snatched all three points with ten minutes to go which ended United’s seven-game unbeaten league run.


Even so, United replaced Treaty United in second place on goal difference after the Limerick outfit were defeated 4-1 by Cabinteely at the Markets Field.

Shelbourne have been the team to beat this season as they look odds-on to win this season’s First Division with nine games to go. Ian Morris’ side were hampered by a number of Covid cases in their squad for last week’s game against UCD, where they drew 0-0 at the UCD Bowl. It is expected that they will have players returning for their crucial clash against United at Terryland.

The two clubs have faced each other on 75 occasions. Shelbourne being victorious the more often with 39 wins, United defeating the north-Dubliners 17 times and 19 games ending in stalemate. United have hit the Shels net 86 times while the 2019 First Division winners have scored on 132 occasions against United.

The two teams played out a 0-0 draw at Eamonn Deacy Park in the first game this season, while Shelbourne had the upper hand in the reverse fixture when they overcame United 4-0 at Tolka Park in May.

Goal friendly Shels have struck 36 goals in 18 games so far this campaign, with former Shamrock Rovers man Ryan Brennan bagging ten of those. United will look to Wilson Waweru and Ruairi Keating for their main source of goals, with the latter hitting the net on seven occasions this season. Waweru brought his goal tally to six last week when he scored United’s first equalising goal against Cork City.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the soccer preview, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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Connacht Tribune

Lomboto’s late strike earns United share of the spoils



Galway United 2
Athlone Town 2

GALWAY United had to twice come from behind against basement side Athlone Town on Monday night to snatch a draw that was, on balance, probably a little harsh on the visiting side.
Completely outplayed in the opening 45 minutes, United had an absolute howler from visiting goalkeeper, Aaron Myles, to thank for going into the break on level terms; and then needed an equaliser five minutes from time to claim a draw against a side that came into the game having lost all four games they had played this season.
Alan Murphy’s side already find themselves nine points behind the league leaders just four games into the season, and a major improvement is needed if they are to finish in the top half of the table and inside the play-off spots.
Their central midfield was way off the mark on Monday night – both Maurice Nugent and Sam Warde were hauled ashore before the final whistle – and having abandoned the 4-4-2 formation which delivered some decent results near the end of last season, they are struggling to get quality ball into the opposition box.
With Shane Duggan expected to return to central midfield after suspension for this Saturday’s trip to Cobh Ramblers, it might be time to go with some out-and-out wingers and get some cohesion in the side.
The first couple of half chances on Monday fell to the home side, but Mikey Place didn’t get any power behind his second minute effort; while Marc Ludden was well off target subsequently.
The visitors, who had the opening half’s best player in their ranks in the guise of Galway native, Ronan Manning, went close a couple of times themselves in the ninth minute, United surviving thanks to Cian Murphy getting a block on Adam Lennon’s shot; while Kevin Horgan pulled off a ‘worldie’ to deny Joel Coustrain from the subsequent corner.
By that stage, the visitors were starting to get on top, and they took a deserved lead in the 22nd minute when Manning’s corner from the left was met by Taner Dogan at the back post to head home as the United marking was, not for the first time this season, shambolic at a set-piece.
Tempers were starting to fray a little, with both sides having two players finding their way into the notebook of Dublin referee, Oliver Moran, before United were gifted an equaliser in the 41st minute.

Full report in this week’s Connacht Tribune

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Doyle bags hat-trick in Galway WFC romp



Paul Corcorcan

GALWAY WFC notched a second win in a row in the Women’s National League when they defeated Limerick 6-1 at the Markets Field on Sunday afternoon.

A McKenna Doyle hat trick and goals from Sadbh Doyle, Chloe Singleton and Aoife Thompson helped the Galway women to a resounding win. Five of the six goals for Galway were assisted by Lynsey McKey during what was a stellar performance by the experienced midfielder.

Galway WFC are back in action at Eamonn Deacy Park tomorrow (Saturday, kick off 3pm) when they welcome league leaders Peamount United.

See full match report in City Tribune Sport.

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