League Report: Galway United 3 - 0 Drogheda United


Stephen Walsh scored a brace for Galway United on Thursday night. Credit: Thomas Flinkow (ETPhotos)

Paul Corcoran reports from Eamonn Deacy Park

Galway United returned to winning ways with a 3-0 win over Drogheda Untied at Eamonn Deacy Park on Thursday night.

John Caulfield made two changes to his side after their 2-0 loss to Derry City last week. Rob Slevin missed out through injury while Aodh Dervin dropped to the bench with Garry Buckley and Stephen Walsh starting the game.

Drogheda United came into the game on the back of a scoreless draw with St Patrick’s Athletic with Kevin Doherty opting to begin the game with the same starting eleven as last week.

The visitors had a chance in the third minute as Evan Weir stood over a free-kick – the midfielder struck one of his trademark shots with Brendan Clarke failing to smother the ball, Jeannot Esua reacting well to clear the ball for his net minder.

But six minutes in it was the home side that hit the front, Karl O’Sullivan taking the ball down the right flank before floating a ball into the box where the visiting defence had failed to track the movement of Stephen Walsh with the striker nodding home his fourth league goal of the season.

Walsh was also contributing some defence from the front for John Caulfield’s men when he put an abrupt stop to a Drogheda breakaway with a crunching challenge on Zishim Bawa a quarter of an hour into the game. Bawa ultimately making way for Frantz Pierrot in the 23rd minute due to a knock.

Drogheda were in on the attack with some great link up play between Luke Heeney and Bawa, who was waiting on the edge of the box, he laid the ball off for Adam Foley who had Weir set up for an easy goal only for Esua to read the game well once again to intercept and flick the ball behind in the 21st minute.

Galway’s talismanic striker showed some beautiful skill in the 36th minute when he left Andrew Quinn on the ground with a lovely flick of the ball on his way into the box, the home side clipped the post in the resulting attack as the visitors failed to deal with the ball with referee Neil Doyle eventually calling a foul against the home side to Kevin Doherty’s relief.

Doherty sprung Warren Davis from the bench at half-time in an attempt to change his side’s fortunes with a change of shape as centre back Andrew Quinn departed the field. Drogheda began the second half somewhat stronger although failed to create any major chances in the early stages of the second period.

The change was to no avail as the home side doubled their advantage just after the hour mark. Buckley had a header well saved by Andrew Wogan from a lovely cross by Ed McCarthy, the ball rebounded back into the path of Walsh who tapped the ball into the net for his second goal of the night.

Galway prepared for all eventualities when Weir stood over another free-kick in the 75th minute with a big wall, and a maroon shirt lying behind the wall. The Tribesmen know the threat Weir poses with a dead ball but this time the midfielder struck the wall, and the home side denied the visitors.

John Caulfield cleared his bench in injury time as he brought Kyle Fitzgerald on for his senior debut for the club – the youngster getting a shot off on target after linking up with fellow sub Leo Gaxha shortly after they entered the fray.

The Tribesmen weren’t quite finished however, Conor O’Keeffe intercepting a wayward ball in the final minute and racing all the way into the box with the ball before placing it into the bottom corner to send the Galway fans home happy.

As the teams head into the mid-season break tonight’s result is a tough one for Kevin Doherty’s men as they drop to the bottom of the Premier Division with Dundalk winning against Sligo Rovers tonight.

Galway United: Brendan Clarke; Killian Brouder, Jeannot Esua, Al Amin Kazeem, Maurice Nugent; Garry Buckley (Patrick Hickey 66), David Hurley (Kyle Fitzgerald 90), Edward McCarthy (Conor O'Keeffe 84), Conor McCormack, Karl O’Sullivan (Francely Lomboto 84); Stephen Walsh (Leo Gaxha 90).

Subs not used: Joe Wright, Aodh Dervin, Wassim Aouachria.

Booked: None.

Drogheda United: Andrew Wogan; Luke Heeney, Conor Kane, Jack Keaney, Andrew Quinn (Warren Davis 46), Evan Weir; Zishim Bawa (Frantz Pierrot 23), Ryan Brennan, Adam Foley (Killian Cailloce 59), Matthew O’Brien (David Webster 74); Darragh Markey.

Subs not used: Finn Moore, Hayden Cann, Evan Haddock, James Byrne, Emre Topcu.

Booked: Matthew O’Brien (48).

Referee: Neil Doyle.

Attendance: 1,500 (estimate)

extratime.com Player of the Match: Stephen Walsh