Galway United 2 Cork City 1
CORK City were denied promotion back to the Premier Division after Galway United came from behind to inflict the Rebel Army’s first league away defeat of the season at Eamonn Deacy Park on Friday night.
Barry Coffey had given the visitors early in the second half, but two goals in two minutes from Wilson Waweru and Charlie Lyons means that City will at least have to wait until at least their next home fixture on 7 October against Wexford before they can be crowned champions.
The game will not only be remembered for the football on display but also for the moments that followed after Coffey’s goal with referee Oliver Moran almost abandoning the game due to supporters invading the pitch and flares being set off in the stands.
Colin Healy would have been pleased with how his players started the game. His young side showed little nerves in the early stages of the match and settled the better of the teams. City looked to pass the ball on the ground whereas Galway tended to be more direct in their approach. Matt Healy and Ruairi Keating in particular looked composed in possession.
As the half aged; Galway began to improve in the game with the Tribesmen opting for shorter rather than longer passes.
Aaron Bolger started to get more involved in the game. The City midfielder was the player dictating the tempo for the away side. Bolger had his team's first effort on target when he tested Conor Kearns with a low drive.
City were within inches of taking the lead when Ally Gilchrist saw his headed effort come crashing back off the crossbar. The defender will be disappointed not to have scored after he had managed to find himself free just outside the six-yard area. From the rebound; Hakkinen’s tame strike was comfortably dealt with by Kearns.
City showed their first sign of nerves when David Harrington spilled the ball from a Galway corner. Luckily for the goalkeeper, Gilchrist was on hand to block several Galway strikes and make sure the game remained scoreless. Harrington was called into action again when Ronan Manning tried his luck with a curling shot but it didn’t trouble the City keeper.
City took the lead five minutes into the second half. Cian Bargary was quick to pounce on a mistake from Max Hemmings, before laying the ball to Coffey whose effort took a heavy deflection to give Kearns little chance in the Galway goal.
Dramatic celebrations followed the goal with a large number of supporters entering the pitch. There were also flares set off by some fans which caused almost a six-minute delay in the game. During the stoppage; the referee appeared to threaten to abandon the match.
When play did resume, City went close twice to go further ahead. First Matt Healy almost reproduced another memorable moment at Eamonn Deacy Park but saw his striker hit the crossbar, before Coffey’s effort went inches wide.
John Caulfield responded to City’s dominance by introducing two substitutes, one of which had the sides level in the 70th minute. Waweru found himself unmarked inside the City penalty area from a Stephen Walsh knockdown and the substitute showed good composure to finish low into the bottom corner of the net.
The home side went ahead two minutes later when Cork native Lyons produced a moment of magic to overhead kick an inswinging cross beyond Harrington.
Waweru should have added to his tally late in the game but the striker saw his strike going just wide of the goal.
Kearns; Finnerty, Portilla (Henry 65), Lyons; Manning (Waweru 65), O’Keeffe, Rowe, Hurley, Hemmings, McCarthy; Walsh.
Harrington; Coleman, Gilchrist, Hakkinen; Crowley, Bolger, Coffey, Healy, Bargary (McGlade 89); Murphy (Britton 87), Keating.