Dylan O’Connell reports from St Colman’s Park
A 4-0 victory over Cobh Ramblers in St Colman’s Park gave Galway United their first win on the pitch of 2021 on Saturday night.
Three penalties, two from Ruairi Keating and one from Padraic Cunningham, combined with an own goal from John Kavanagh saw the Tribesmen comfortably take the three points which move them up to sixth in the table.
The result is reflective of Galway’s performance, as John Caulfield’s men were dominant from the whistle.
Five minutes in, David Hurley found Mikey Place with an inch perfect pass inside the area. The striker hit the ball from the tightest of angles, trying to catch Sean Barron out at his near post.
But the former Avondale United shot stopper dived low on impulse to claw the ball to safety and keep the game scoreless.
Minutes later, Shane Duggan chipped the ball across the area to an unmarked Place. An acrobatic attempt to hit the ball first time skidded wide of the goal and Lee Devitt reclaimed possession for the Rams.
The breakthrough for Galway came when Charlie Lyons was judged to have handled the ball inside the area. The Ramblers defender saw red and referee Gavin Colfer gave the Tribesman their first penalty of the evening. Barron guessed the direction of Keating’s spot kick, but it was in vain as the visitors took the lead.
The Tribesmen wreaked havoc with the man advantage but were repeatedly denied by heroic defending from the Ramblers.
Cobh resorted to long range efforts in their attempts to equalise. The flurry of chances is best highlighted by efforts from Darryl Walsh and David O’Leary, which drifted narrowly wide of the target.
Stuart Ashton stood up to the challenge of seeing his team play with ten men and rallied his troops. The restart saw Cobh charge forward, with Ian Turner and Killian Cooper plaguing the Galway back three.
They pressed the trio well but were denied any clear opportunities to score due to the strength and positioning of Conor McCormack.
The forceful attack led to gaps at the back and Keating broke free. He tore down the right flank, well away from the Cobh defense, Barron emerged, spread himself, and saved.
Midway through the second half, Galway got their second penalty and Keating buried this into the top right of the net.
A charging Barron was nearly caught out when the ball trickled free to David Hurley, who tried to lob his former Cobh team-mate. At the end of the shot was Coleman who cleared the ball as it dropped onto the line.
An attempt by Cunningham to square the ball was then turned home by Cobh captain Kavanagh. Cunningham got on the score sheet at the 90th minute with the third penalty of the night.
Cobh Ramblers: Sean Barron; Darryl Walsh, Cian Murphy, Charlie Lyons, John Kavanagh (c), Nathan Coleman; Ian Turner (Jake Hegarty 72), Christopher O'Reilly, David O'Leary, Lee Devitt Molloy; Killian Cooper.
Subs not used: Kevin Williams, Gavin Ryan, James McCarthy, Ciaran Griffin, Conor Drinan, Corey Chambers.
Sent off: Charlie Lyons (19).
Galway United: Conor Kearns; Stephen Walsh (Carlton Ubaezuonu 82), Killian Brouder, Gary Boylan; Wilson Waweru (Mikie Rowe 45), Conor McCormack (c), David Hurley, Christopher Horgan, Shane Duggan (Stephen Christopher 81); Mikie Rowe, Ruairi Keating (Colin Kelly 82).
Subs not used: Mikey Place, Caoilfhionn O'Dea, Ronan Manning, Kevin Horgan, Shane Doherty.
Referee: Gavin Colfer.
ExtraTime.ie Player of the Match: Ruairi Keating (Galway United).