Paul Corcoran reports from Eamonn Deacy Park
Galway United dumped Athlone Town out of the EA Sports Cup first round for the second year in a row after the home side ran out 2-0 winners in Eamonn Deacy Park on Tuesday night.
Second half goals from Alberto Cabanyes and Wilson Waweru were enough for the Tribesmen to progress into round two of the competition.
A dour first half saw very little in the way of real chances at either end but the opening 45 was punctuated by a handful of half chances.
Waweru nodded the ball inches wide in the 16th minute after a lovely lobbed through ball from Dylan Sacramento.
A couple of minutes later a Timmy Molloy free-kick fooled everyone but blazed through the box and wide of the goal.
Sacramento took a pop from a free-kick in the 23rd minute and stung the hands of Aaron Myles, although the goalkeeper was never really under pressure.
Thankfully the second half provided far more entertainment from the outset.
It took just five minutes of the second period for the home side to take the lead with a great team move.
Waweru took the ball towards the Athlone baseline before turning back while under pressure, the forward then played a cheeky back heel to the overlapping Marc Ludden.
Ludden streaked the ball across the goal mouth to where Cabanyes was waiting, and the Spaniard tapped the ball into the net.
Athlone, to their credit, worked hard all game and managed to give Schlingerman his first proper test of the game with a rasping shot from Jordan Carrol drawing a diving save from the goalkeeper.
The hosts doubled their lead in the 66th minute with Cabanyes getting involved once again, although this time the midfielder was the provider.
He took the ball down the right flank deep into the Athlone half before striking a lofted cross into the box, Waweru took the ball on and with his first touch guided it into the bottom left corner of Athlone’s goal.
United came inches away from netting a third time in the 87th minute after Vinny Faherty fancied his chances from a tight angle.
His shot went over the head of Myles but continued on and looped just wide of the far post.
Galway held on for the rest of the game to progress in the competition, with the visitors failing to cause much trouble for the home side’s backline during the 90 minutes.
Galway United: Mícheál Schlingermann; Kevin Farragher , Marc Ludden (Timo Parthoens, 52), Cian Murphy , Maurice Nugent ; Shane Duggan , Donal Higgins (Jack O'Connor, 61), Timmy Molloy, Dylan Sacramento; Alberto Cabanyes , Wilson Waweru (Vinny Faherty, 69).
Subs not used: Stephen Christopher, Christopher Horgan, Cian Mulryan, , Carlton Ubaezuonu.
Booked: Kevin Farragher (29), Shane Duggan (79), Timo Parthoens (83).
Athlone Town: Aaron Myles ; David Brookes , Jordan Carroll , Evan O'Connor , Tumelo Tlou , Evan White ; Jordan Carroll (Harry Cornally, 61) , Joshua Keane Quinlivan (Adam Lennon, 52), Isreal Kimazo ; Dean George (Mamoud Mansaray, 69), John Morgan .
Subs not used: Joe Carmody, Darcy Lawless.
Booked: John Morgan (22), Tomelo Tlou (79), Evan White (79). Harry Cornally (89)
Referee: Damien MacGraith
Attendance: 300 (estimate)
ExtraTime.ie Player of the Match: Alberto Cabanyes (Galway United)
Did you enjoy this article? If so, please consider becoming a patron of extratime.com for just €4 a month to help us cover running costs.