League Report: Galway United 0 - 1 Shamrock Rovers

Rob Slevin

Rob Slevin Credit: Paul Dolan (ETPhotos)

Paul Corcoran reports from Eamonn Deacy Park

Shamrock Rovers secured their first win of the season when they snatched a 0-1 win against Galway United at Eamonn Deacy Park on Friday night.

It was another spirited and strong performance by the home side, but the Hoops left Galway with the three points after a goal by Johnny Kenny late in the game.

There was one change to the Galway United side from their scoreless draw with Drogheda United last weekend – Al Amin Kazeem made his first start for the Tribesmen with Regan Donelon dropping to the bench.

Rovers also had one change after they drew with Sligo Rovers last weekend, Aaron Greene dropped to the bench with Darragh Nugent making the starting eleven in Galway.

It was United on the front foot in the opening ten minutes, Ed McCarthy was weaving his way through the Rovers defence on numerous occasions and even forced Roberto Lopes into a bad challenge, the defender picked up a yellow for his trouble.

Brendan Clarke was tested in the 16th minute when Rovers played some lovely passes around the edge of the box to give Graham Burke a sight of goal – he fired a venomous shot at goal with the goalkeeper just managing to block the ball.

They went close again in the 19th minute when Dylan Watts struck a corner amidst a chorus of boos in front of the home fans and found the head of Josh Honohan, but his effort went inches over the bar.

It was nearly disaster for Galway in the 23rd minute when a nice Rovers ball over the defence nearly found Burke, there was confusion between Clarke and Kazeem with the goalkeeper left sprawling on the ground but the left back recovered well with a forceful challenge to deny the Ireland international.

The Tribesmen had their fist shot on target in the 26th minute when McCarthy again broke up the field at pace, he played the ball back to the advancing Vince Borden, but his long-range effort was too weak to trouble Leon Pohls.

Burke played a clever pass through the defence in the 35th minute to Rory Gaffney who was just onside in the box, the Galway native was at a tight angle however and he powered his ball wide of the goal.

United’s defence held strong throughout the first half with Rob Slevin impressing with a number of well-timed headers and challenges, particularly in the 41st minute when he pulled off a perfect last ditch sliding challenge on Darragh Burns who had received the ball in the box.

There were shots by McCarthy and substitute Aodh Dervin early in the second half as the Tribesmen sought to put the visitors under more pressure but at the other end there was a sharp exhale of breath as Gaffney swivelled on the edge of the box and unleashed a shot that went narrowly wide.

McCarthy again showing off his abilities on the ball on the hour mark as he held off his man to turn and spray the ball deep and out to the right to allow Dervin a shot on goal, but the midfielder’s effort flashed across the goal.

United neutralised the Shamrock Rovers threat well up to the 65th minute but there was danger from a Dylan Watts corner as it landed in the box with Killian Brouder reacting just quickly enough to flick the ball away. It fell to Lopes however with Clarke having to make the blind save in the crowded box.

The Tribesmen won a free-kick in a good location with ten minutes to go when substitute Conan Noonan caught McCarthy with a bad challenge and Dan Clearly followed up with a shove on Kazeem to ensure Galway didn’t get further – both picking up bookings.

David Hurley provided a lovely delivery into the box with Stephen Walsh rising to head the ball in a busy goal mouth, but his effort dribbled just wide of the goal from a lovely freekick delivery by David Hurley.

But it wasn’t to be a good night for the home side – just four minutes later Watts played a long ball into the path of Darragh Burns who got to the endline and squared the ball with Johnny Kenny drilling the ball into the back of the net for his first goal of the season.

The Tribesmen need to dust themselves down as they prepare to face Derry City in two weeks while Rovers prepare for a Dublin Derby against Bohemians.

Galway United: Brendan Clarke; Killian Brouder, Al Amin Kazeem, Conor O'Keeffe, Robert Slevin; Vincent Borden (Patrick Hickey 89), David Hurley, Edward McCarthy (Francely Lomboto 89), Conor McCormack, Karl O’Sullivan (Aodh Dervin 30); Stephen Walsh.

Subs not used: Joe Wright, Regan Donelon, Jeannot Esua, Maurice Nugent, Leo Gaxha, Tom Costello.

Booked: None.

Shamrock Rovers: Léon-Maurice Pöhls; Daniel Cleary, Lee Grace, Pico; Graham Burke, Darragh Burns (Seán Hoare 89), Joshua Honohan (Conan Noonan 71), Darragh Nugent (Johnny Kenny 71), Markus Poom, Dylan Watts; Rory Gaffney (Aaron Greene 79).

Subs not used: Toms Leitis, Lee Steacy, Cian Barrett, Trevor Clarke.

Booked: Pico (5), Daniel Cleary (80), Conan Noonan (90).

Referee: Paul McLaughlin.

Attendance: 4,000 (estimate)

extratime.com Player of the Match: Graham Burke (Shamrock Rovers)