Paul Corcoran reports from Éamonn Deacy Park
Late heartbreak ended Galway United’s FAI Cup run on Friday night as Shamrock Rovers came away 2-1 winners at Éamonn Deacy Park.
The Tribesmen took the lead in the first half through Maurice Nugent but a second half goal from Aaron Greene and an injury time winner from Lee Grace ensured that Rovers progress to the semi-finals.
Rovers had plenty of possession in the first half with United opting to play deep in their own half against the Premier Division side.
The first effort by either team came in the 10th minute when Ronan Finn struck a rocket of a shot from outside the box, but his effort went wide of the post.
Five minutes later Rovers were inches away from scoring when Dylan Watts struck a great corner kick into the box. Former Tribesman Lee Grace leaped highest to meet it but he could not find the target.
Galway did venture forward when they could and only for Roberto Lopes they could have been ahead after 20 minutes.
Joe Collins dinked a lovely ball through to the running Conor Melody, the forward made a great run, but Lopes threw himself in and made a great challenge to block down his shot.
The home side took the lead in the 34th minute despite not seeing much of the ball. A long throw in from Marc Ludden was headed clear by Lee Grace, only reaching Stephen Christopher.
His shot deflected into the path of Maurice Nugent right in front of goal where he slotted the ball past Alan Mannus.
In the 56th minute Rovers got back on level terms. A failure to clear the ball properly from a Dylan Watts corner allowed a second chance for the visitors.
Graham Burke struck the cross in which led to a bit of a scramble in the box, former United player Aaron Greene got the final touch.
Dylan Watts had a go from outside the box ten minutes later with his side still keeping a lot of ball. Kevin Horgan had every bit of it and pulled off a ‘TV save’ to keep the ball from the net.
The battle between Burke and Stephen Walsh which had been raging all night had a pivotal moment two minutes later.
Burke had the ball in front of goal, and Walsh would not allow himself to be sold by the forward’s footwork, the resulting shot was easily clutched into the chest of Kevin Horgan.
It was heartbreak for the home side deep in injury time. A former player came back to haunt Galway when Lee Grace hit the back of the net with a powerful header.
Some late pressure from Rovers which included drawing a stellar save from Horgan, lead to a crossed ball in to sink the home side and deflate their fans.
Galway United: Kevin Horgan; Marc Ludden, Stephen Walsh, Killian Brouder, Jack Lynch; Maurice Nugent, Stephen Christopher, Joe Collins (Christopher Horgan, 71), Donal Higgins, Conor Barry (Iarfhlaith Davoren, 84); Conor Melody (75).
Subs not used: Cian Mulryan, Cian Murphy, Wilson Waweru, Dara Costelloe.
Booked: Donal Higgins (18), Stephen Walsh (56), Marc Ludden (90)
Shamrock Rovers: Alan Mannus; Roberto Lopes, Lee Grace, Daniel Lafferty (Greg Bolger, 68), Sean Kavanagh; Dylan Watts, Ronan Finn, Aaron McEneff, Sean Kavanagh, Gary O’Neill; Aaron Greene, Graham Burke.
Subs not used: Leon Pohls, Ethan Boyle, Sean Callan, Graham Cummins, Thomas Oluwa, Brandon Kavanagh.
Booked: Danny Lafferty (40), Aaron Greene (56).
Referee: Derek Tomney.
Extratime.ie Player of the Match: Stephen Walsh (Galway United).