Andrew Dempsey reports from the UCD Bowl
An Aodh Dervin inspired Longford Town moved one step closer to the top-flight thanks to a superb 2-1 win over Galway United.
Town stalwart Karl Chambers gave the Red and Black the lead, before Dervin struck in the 81st minute to all but seal the deal for Longford.
However, they did have to survive a late barrage of Galway pressure, but Killian Brouder’s late consolation was not enough to save United’s bacon.
Longford will now face the ninth placed Premier Division side as a result, while Galway’s incredible promotion hunt has come to an end.
After the drama of last weekend’s playoff games for both sides, Longford were unchanged, with Galway making one alteration.
Town saw last week’s extra-time hero Dean Byrne once again started on the bench after a recent injury, while Joe Gorman – who scored a brace – also retained his spot in the team.
Galway on the other hand saw a start for Mikey Place, with the suspended Stephen Christopher missing out after a recent card picked up against Drogheda United.
Town started the game well, and they had the first effort on goal, but wing-back Aaron McNally could only see his effort saved by Galway keeper Michael Schlingermann.
And they continued to impress early doors – with their closest effort on goal coming in the 15th minute through Dylan Grimes.
The former Shelbourne winger saw his shot cannon off the United crossbar, as Town forced the early initiative.
Town went close again through midfielder Aodh Dervin – but the Longford native could only see his effort skew wide of goal.
But Galway slowly grew into the game – but their only threat came from set-pieces. Their closest chance saw Place have his header saved by Town keeper Lee Steacy.
As the half moved toward s the half-hour mark, the game slipped into a degree of sloppiness – with neither side able to capitalise on the breaks in play.
However, Town were not to be denied as the half-time whistle approached as Karl Chambers gave them the lead.
Chambers poked home at the back after Schlingermann flapped at an Aaron McNally cross into the box to score his second goal of the season.
The Tribesmen came out a far superior side in the early stages of the second-half – with subs Wilson Waweru and Carlton Ubaezuonu impressing.
Despite that, the Red and Black had the best chance of the opening ten minutes of the half – but McNally blazed over the bar.
Rob Manley went on a great burrowing run through the heart of the Galway defence to tee the ball up to the ex-Dundalk under-19, but he was unable to convert.
For all their endeavour, Galway had little threat – with Longford once again going close in the 66th minute.
However, forward Manley could only head wide from a superb Shane Elworthy cross – needing treatment for his troubles although.
Galway created more chances as the full-time whistle neared, with midfielder Sam Warde shooting over the bar after a Marc Ludden throw-in fell into his path.
And with just under ten minutes to play, Town midfielder Dervin made sure of the win as he hammered home from thirty yards out.
Grimes fed the ball into the path of the Town midfield maestro who ended whatever slim chance Galway had of promotion.
The Tribesmen however made a fist of it at the death, as Killian Brouder netted an 88th minute consolation.
But it was not to be for United who saw their valiant promotion hunt come to an end, but for Longford – they are one step closer…
Galway United: Mícheál Schlingermann; Killian Brouder, Marc Ludden, Jack Lynch, Maurice Nugent; Shane Duggan, Timmy Molloy (Conor Barry 46), Sam Warde (Vinny Faherty 85); Enda Curran (Wilson Waweru 46), Shane Doherty (Francely Lomboto 79), Mikey Place (Carlton Ubaezuonu 54).
Subs not used: Conor Barry, Kevin Horgan, Christopher Horgan.
Booked: Mikey Place (45), Shane Duggan (59).
Longford Town: Lee Steacy; Joe Gorman, Joseph Manley, Michael McDonnell; Karl Chambers (Matthew O'Brien 73), Aodh Dervin, Shane Elworthy, Dylan Grimes (Dylan Hand 86), Aaron McNally (Niall Barnes 86), Dean Zambra; Rob Manley.
Subs not used: Dean Byrne, Luke Dennison, Aaron McCabe, Callum Warfield.
Booked: Aaron McNally (32) ,Shane Elworthy (49) ,Michael McDonnell (63).
Referee: Mark Moynihan.
ExtraTime.ie Player of the Match: Aodh Dervin (Longford Town).