Galway United 3
Cobh Ramblers 0
Galway United secured a well-deserved victory over Cobh Ramblers last night at Eamonn Deacy Park.
This win sets up a tantalising top-of-the- table clash against Cork City next week-end. With first-placed City on 49 points, one ahead of Galway, there will be a lot at stake in the title race at Turners Cross.
Ramblers manager Shane Keegan handed a start to new signing and the returning Cobh man Charlie Fleming, while there was a first-team debut for young goalkeeper Darragh Burke.
Galway had former Ramblers men David Hurley and Charlie Lyons in the starting eleven, as was Alex Murphy for the final time ahead of making the move to Newcastle United.
Burke was called into action to make a decent early save following a deflection in the second minute.
Ramblers started well in the early stages, passing the ball neatly and keeping their shape well. An example of this was in the 12th minute, when Conor Drinan and Jake Hegarty looked to play a quick combination on the edge of the Galway box, but James Finnerty cleared the danger.
Galway looked to try and stamp their authority on proceedings. In the 18th minute, the home side got a shot away through Manu Dimas which sailed high and over the crossbar.
As the home side looked to up the pressure, Hurley floated in a decent ball from a free kick on 25 minutes, but Stephen Walsh was unable to hit the target via a deflection.
Just shy of the half-hour mark Cobh would have been happy with how proceedings were going.
However, Galway went into the lead with 29 minutes played on the clock. With his 11th league goal of the season, Stephen Walsh was on hand to finish into the back of the net with a close range header from Ed McCarthy’s right footed cross.
Ramblers looked to hit back right , with James O’Leary driving forward well before seeing a low shot saved easily by Galway keeper Kearns.
Galway though were looking to turn the screw even more with Dimas blasted over the crossbar in the 37th minute,
On the stroke of half time United nearly got a second through Lyons, who saw his effort from point-blank range blocked down and cleared by the Cobh defence.
Despite Ramblers contributing to a competitive opening half, it was Galway that held the advantage at the half time break.
Walsh almost got another United goal in the early stages of the second half, shooting just wide after Lomboto teed him up.
Despite Galway’s control of the contest, while the advantage was only at one Ramblers always a moment of quality away from stunning their hosts.
In the 66th minute Galway did get a second goal of the game. It was a goal on his debut for Rob Manley, courtesy of a close range header from a cross into the box by Alex Murphy.
On 82 minutes United got a third. Walsh was on hand to poke the ball home from close range, after Manley saw his initial strike saved well by Burke.
Hurley went close to getting a fourth Galway goal against his former club, with the Cobh shot stopper again saving well.
Next up for Ramblers is a home Munster derby clash against Waterford at St Colman’s Park next Friday night.
At the same time, Galway will be in Turners Cross to face City in a game which could prove decisive in the First Division title race.
What an interesting evening it should be for Galway boss John Caulfield, against the club where he brought much success to as a player and more recently as a manager
GALWAY UNITED: C Kearns; C O’Keeffe, S Walsh, C Lyons, M Dimas, D Hurley, J Finnerty, F Lomboto, C McCormack, E McCarthy, A Murphy.
Subs: M Hemmings for Dimas (HT), R Manley for Lomboto (56), G Boylan for Hurley, M Rowe for McCormack, M Russell for Murphy (all 86).
COBH RAMBLERS: D Burke; C Fleming, B Frahill, J Abbott, D O’Connell, J Hegarty, C Drinan, D O’Sullivan Connell, S McGrath, J O’Leary, H Mbayo.
Subs: B O Brien-Whitmarsh for O’Connell, L Desmond for O’Connell (both 68), J Kavanagh for O’Leary (80).
Referee: Eoghan O’Shea