Andrew Dempsey reports from Stradbrook Road
Ten-man Galway United secured what may prove to be three of their most important points this season with a 99th minute win over Cabinteely.
Cabo, who dominated the final twenty minutes of the game, were dealt a sucker punch right at the death as Stephen Christopher netted a late winner for John Caulfield’s side.
The former Cobh Ramblers attacking midfielder in saw his incredibly timed free-kick find its way into the top corner of the net to secure a crucial win on the road for the Tribesmen.
Galway United came into the game off the back of a four-game winning run that has seen the Tribesmen move to within six points of Cabinteely – and they are now just three off.
In a quick opening to the game, it was the visitors who shaded affairs, going close twice through winger Shane Doherty.
The American left-sided winger first blazed over the bar in the 8th minute before he was to then head over a minute later from a Mikey Place cross into the box.
However, despite edging the game, Galway coughed up the first real chance of the game, but Cabo could not turn home from a set-piece.
Steven Kinsella’s corner was met with plenty of confusion in the Galway defence as Thornton went close, but his shot was cleared off the line by Killian Brouder.
Cabo remained a threat from set-piece scenarios and went close again through Kevin Knight, but the former Leicester City academy product could only nod his effort wide of goal.
The lively Doherty then shot over the bar after he was found by a low ball across the face of goal from Place.
Cabo grew into the game as the half wore on, and they went close to taking the lead in the 28th minute, but Thornton saw his long-range shot crash off the Galway United post.
As the half looked to be petering out, the Tribesmen incredibly should have scored on three occasions – but they were denied by the crossbar and two superb Chambers saves.
Firstly, captain Shane Duggan saw his shot hit the top of the bar, and moments after – it was Curran’s turn to go close, but he was thwarted by the outstretched hand of Chambers.
But Chambers was to perform his most impressive act of the half just seconds before the break, denying Sam Warde from point-blank range after Galway looked to be denied a spot-kick after a challenge on sub Carlton Ubaezuonu.
Galway began the second half in the same manner that they finished the first as Christopher saw his long-range shot smack off the outside of Chambers’ post.
The former Cobh Ramblers man then went close twice with two rasping shots that both swerved wide of the Cabo goal.
However, with just over twenty minutes to play – the game turned right on its head following the dismissal of Marc Ludden for a second bookable offence.
Galway then retreated into a more defensive shape, although Cabinteely could not manage to convert one of their many half-chances into goals.
And as the game looked to be ending in a scoreless draw, there was the latest of late drama to come in the 99th minute as John Caulfield’s side grabbed the winner.
Moments before, Shane Barnes went close for Cabo – and following a strange series of events – the hosts soon found themselves defending a late-free kick at the death.
Christopher saw his free-kick creep under the crossbar despite the best efforts of keeper Chambers to claw the ball away from danger.
The goal was met by scenes of wild celebrations from the Galway United backroom team and players as they ground out a somewhat fortuitous win.
The result now sees Galway United move to within three points of Cabinteely and they are now level on points with UCD – although they do have an inferior goal difference to that of the Students.
Cabinteely: Corey Chambers; Kevin Knight (Alex Aspil, 90+6), Conor Keeley, Jonny Carlin; Dylan Thornton, Paul Fox, Keith Dalton, Mitchell Byrne; Steven Kinsella (Kieran Marty Waters 57), Jack Connolly, Luke Clucas (Shane Barnes 57).
Subs not used: Peter Quinlan, Zak O'Neill, Vilius Labutis, Lloyd Buckley.
Booked: Dylan Thornton (81), Kieran Marty Waters (86), Jonny Carlin (90+8).
Sent off: None.
Galway United: Kevin Horgan; Killian Brouder, Kevin Farragher, Marc Ludden, Jack Lynch; Stephen Christopher, Sam Warde (Maurice Nugent 79), Shane Duggan; Enda Curran (Wilson Waweru 79), Shane Doherty (Timmy Molloy 27) (Carlton Ubaezuonu, 42), Mikey Place.
Subs not used: Matthew Connor, Vinny Faherty, Donal Higgins.
Booked: Marc Ludden (55), Mikey Place (64), Marc Ludden (67).
Sent off: Marc Ludden (67).
Referee: Alan Carey.
ExtraTime.ie Player of the Match: Stephen Christopher (Galway United).