League Report: Dundalk FC 0 - 2 Galway United


John Caulfield's Galway United left Oriel Park with all three points on Friday night Credit: Eddie Lennon (ETPhotos)

Dundalk slumped to a 2-0 defeat at home to Galway United courtesy of first half goals from Ed McCarthy and Aodh Dervin.

The Tribesmen arrived at the Carrick Road venue on the back of a narrow defeat at home to St Patrick's Athletic last weekend and their two enforced changes saw the injured Garry Buckley and suspended Stephen Walsh replaced by Aodh Dervin and Rob Slevin.

Meanwhile, Dundalk remained unchanged following a battling draw at Tallaght Stadium and a number of players made their home debut for the club.

Amongst their number was netminder George Shelvey who impressed against Shamrock Rovers in the season opener. However, the Nottingham Forest Academy youngster was picking the ball out of his net inside the opening quarter hour.

A clever pass from the recalled Dervin found David Hurley in space on the right hand edge of the Dundalk penalty area and his teasing delivery was turned into the net by the onrushing Ed McCarthy. The winger finding the target once more against the Lilywhites, having netted in their 4-0 FAI Cup victory last season.

Things got worse for the home side soon after as that man Dervin once again caused problems for the Dundalk rearguard. Having announced his arrival with a couple of bone crunching tackles in the opening moments, the former Longford Town midfielder made a positive imprint on the scoreboard for John Caulfield's men with half an hour on the clock.

His deft header from a teasing left wing Regan Donelon delivery flew across Shelvey and into the back of the net to send the hundred or so away fans into delirium. Shortly before the break, the westerners almost added to the misery for the home fans but Hurley’s poked effort kissed the base of the post and was pounced on by a grateful home goalkeeper.

In an effort to redress the scoreboard, Dundalk Head Coach and Galway native Stephen O’Donnell brought on Scottish striker Cameron Elliott in place of defensive midfielder Zak Bradshaw at the interval. Last season, the attacker's arrival inspired a turnaround against Cork City at the same ground in May where two goals in injury time saw Dundalk claim all three points.

On this occasion, however, the impact wasn't as profound and Galway United were able to keep their hosts at arm's length for most of the second half - goalkeeper Brendan Clarke’s sprawling full length dive to his right to deny Paul Doyle’s drive in the 92nd minute the first time the 38 year old was really stretched. 

Previously he had denied Daryl Horgan in the first half after the winger had found space in the Galway United box but the effort wasn't as efficient as the jinking run which had allowed its creation.

In truth, space anywhere on the field was at a premium for Dundalk with Galway’s intensity impressive throughout the field- Karl O’Sullivan led the line in the absence of a more traditional number nine and his ability to press Dundalk while in possession was a feature of the game throughout.

George Shelvey, who had impressed with his command of the penalty area on debut in Tallaght Stadium last weekend, was forced to rush his distribution with the ball at his feet thanks to the hard yards put in by O’Sullivan, Ed McCarthy and David Hurley across the 90 minutes.

As a result, whatever rhythm Dundalk were trying to put together from the back was constantly being disrupted- whether that from the aforementioned trio or the combative duo of Dervin and Louth native Conor McCormack deeper in the engine room- forcing creative midfielder Scott High into coming deep into his own half to find space from which to try and set a tempo.

To their credit, Dundalk never stopped trying to punch holes in the Galway rearguard and Archie Davies- as to be expected given the attacking numbers he posted last season- was responsible for a number of teasing crosses which posed questions for the experienced visiting defence. However, despite the introductions of Paul Doyle, debutant attacker Ciaran McGuckin and the pacy duo of Robbie Mahon and Sam Durrant, nothing Dundalk put together troubled the scoreboard operator on a disappointing night for the majority of the 3122 supporters in attendance.

Dundalk next travel to Bohemians looking for a repeat of their victory the last time the two sides met in the league while Galway United host fellow promoted side Waterford as both sides hunt a second successive victory on the back of plundering three points from their visit to Louth opposition this weekend.

Dundalk: George Shelvey; Mayowa Animasahun (Paul Doyle 77), Andrew Boyle, Zak Bradshaw (Cameron Elliott 46), Archie Davies, Jamie Walker; Robert Benson (Robert Mahon 77), Scott High, Daryl Horgan, Ryan O'Kane (Samuel Durrant 65); Jamie Gullan (Ciaran McGuckin 65).

Subs not used: Ross Munro, Zak Johnson, Louie Annesley, Hayden Muller.

Booked: None.

Sent off: None.

Galway United: Brendan Clarke; Killian Brouder, Regan Donelon, Colm Horgan, Robert Slevin; Vincent Borden, Aodh Dervin (Al Amin Kazeem 72), David Hurley (Patrick Hickey 83), Conor McCormack, Karl O’Sullivan (Tom Costello 90); Edward McCarthy (Leo Gaxha 90).

Subs not used: Joe Wright, Jeannot Esua, Conor O'Keeffe, Francely Lomboto, Maurice Nugent.

Booked: Robert Slevin (44), Killian Brouder (69).

Sent off: None.

Referee: Gavin Colfer.

Attendance: 3,122

extratime.com Player of the Match: Karl O’Sullivan