League Report: Galway United 2 - 1 Finn Harps
Published: May 19, 2017

It was a gruelling and physical affair in Eamonn Deacy Park on Friday night but Galway United just nicked the win right at the death beating Finn Harps 2-1.


Both sides were propping up the League of Ireland Premier Division heading into Friday night but with much different fortunes on the pitch as of late— Galway United were unbeaten in eight games in all competitions while Finn Harps had lost their previous five without scoring a single goal.


However, it was Harps who went close first. Caolan McAleer drilled a ball across the Galway goal and Ciaran O’Connor was in perfect position to head the ball home into the net but Lee Grace, who has been in impeccable form for The Tribesmen so far this season, just got back to head the ball away from danger.


Galway United nearly found themselves behind again later in the half when Kilian Cantwell hammered the crossbar with a header when he connected with a Patrick McCourt free kick, The Tribesmen just managed to bundle the loose ball away from their goalmouth.


Harps fancied their chances in the 27th minute when the Donegal side played a dangerous ball across the Galway box. Players were queuing up to have a go but the ball fell to Barry Molloy who smacked the post from outside the box. United’s goalkeeper Conor Winn was caught flat footed by the rebounding ball and bundled it into his own net.


In terms of football very little happened during the rest of the first half with Finn Harps dictating the game in a physical sense with right back Damien McNulty getting a yellow card for his reckless challenge on Kevin Devaney, referee Ray Matthews finally booking the defender after several unpunished challenges.


Harps started out the second half with almost all of their bodies behind the ball but the Donegal side still had the first opportunity when Gareth Harkin managed to break away and blaze a shot at the Galway goal but Winn was able to tip the ball behind.


Moments later Ciaran O’Connor found himself in a one on one situation but Conor Winn was able to get down and save the shot. The ball fell straight to Danny Morrissey but the goalkeeper again did well to stand up against the shot.


United finally got their first clear cut chance ten minutes into the second half. Colm Horgan pushed up on the right flank crossed a great ball into Ronan Murray. The striker hit a snapshot toward Ciaran Gallagher but he sent the ball just wide of the goal.


The Tribesmen finally got an equaliser after being frustrated by Ollie Horgan’s men for much of the game. With over seventy minutes gone David Cawley was dragged down in the box by Danny Morrissey. The referee hesitated but to the crowds delight he awarded the home side the penalty. Ronan Murray stepped up and sent the ball to the left hand corner to score his fifth league goal of the season.


In the final ten minutes Harps manager Ollie Horgan got increasingly animated leading to both the linesman and the fourth official having a word with the manager. Finally referee Ray Matthews had enough and sent the manager to the stands.


Vinny Faherty had a late chance to win the game on his return from injury after Ronan Murray played a fast cross across the box but the striker couldn’t keep his header down.


Faherty got his chance for redemption in injury time though. Marc Ludden crossed another ball in but this time Faherty made no mistake deftly hitting his header over Ciaran Gallagher in the Harps goal for the winner.


United’s second win of the season finally lifts them out of the relegation zone before they travel to face Shamrock Rovers on Monday night. Harps suffered their sixth loss on the trot, however, and Ollie Horgan’s men will have to wait until they meet St. Patrick’s Athletic on Monday to stop the rot.


Galway United: Conor Winn; Colm Horgan, Marc Ludden, Lee Grace, Stephen Folan (Paul Sinnott, 90); Gavan Holohan, David Cawley, Kevin Devaney, Gary Shanahan (Conor Melody, 60); Ronan Murray, Padraic Cunningham (Vinny Faherty, 60).

Subs not used: Ciaran Nugent, Alex Byrne, Aaron Conway, Jesse Devers.

Booked: Stephen Folan (60), Ronan Murray (74), Colm Horgan (77)


Finn Harps: Ciaran Gallagher; Damien McNulty, Ethan Boyle,  Ciaran Coll, Kilian Cantwell; Barry Molloy (Jonny Bonner, 63), Caolan McAleer (Michael Funston, 85), Gareth Harkin, Sean Houston; Patrick McCourt (Danny Morrissey, 35), Ciaran O’Connor.

Subs not used: Harry Doherty, Packie Mailey, Gareth Doherty, Simon McGlynn.

Booked: Damien McNulty (29), Ciaran O’Connor (63), Danny Morrissey (74), Gareth Harkin (81)


Referee: Ray Matthews.

Attendance: 1,009

Extratime.ie Man of the Match: Ronan Murray

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Paul Corcoran

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