Paul Corcoran reports from Eamonn Deacy Park
Galway United claimed their fourth victory in a row in the First Division with a 1-0 win over Bray Wanderers at Eamonn Deacy Park on Friday night.
The result not only extends their unbeaten run to six games in the First Division, but they have also clinched second place outright and will now face the fifth-place team in the playoffs which could be Treaty United or Bray Wanderers.
Wilson Waweru was the scorer for the Tribesmen with that single goal securing United’s first home win over Bray Wanderers in five years.
The Tribesmen started the brighter in the opening five minutes with Wilson Waweru clipping a ball on target inside the box from a David Hurley cross in the first minute of the game.
Ruairí Keating followed that up two minutes later with an effort from outside the box which was dragged just wide after taking a deflection from a Bray defender.
Galway went close in the 13th minute when Joe Gorman headed a corner-kick from Hurley towards the top corner only for Brian Maher to slap the ball behind for a corner.
Wanderers had a huge let off just two minutes later when Gorman fired on goal inside the box sending his shot wide only for a teammate to pick the ball up on the end line in the crowded box and send drill it across to Waweru.
Waweru fired his shot on goal, but a Bray body got in the way and cleared the ball off the line.
Some industrious work from Ryan Graydon on the right flank took him inside the box to have a crack on goal but Killian Brouder got across to deflect the ball behind.
The midfielder did well to beat Alex Murphy for his chance – the left back was playing on the less familiar right side of defence on Friday night in place of Conor O’Keeffe.
Keating had his shooting boots on for Galway at the very least, with the forward flashing just wide of Bray’s goal with two long range efforts from the left midway through the half, he’d have another great chance just before halftime from a Waweru cross but that time he drilled the ball over the bar and into the carpark.
The visitors drew a save from Conor Kearns ten minutes from half time with Stephen Kinsella making a strong run from midfield and firing a shot from outside the box, Galway’s shot stopper was able to punch the ball away and deny Wanders the lead.
Sam Verdon went close for the visitors late in the first half when he met a cross from Kinsella in the box, Kearns reacted quickly to tip the ball over the bar.
After a busy first half, the second period was quiet to start with Bray’s Mark Byrne firing just wide of the goal from outside the box with a blistering shot – the closest anyone would go for the opening 25 minutes of the second period.
A Conor McCormack corner kick in the 70th minute managed to cause a bit of trouble as it dropped dangerously the far side of the goal with Maher needing to push the ball away from goal to keep the visitors out of danger.
Mikie Rowe struck the wall with a free kick in the 75th minute in a dangerous area that Maher failed to control when it came down, the ball fell to second half substitute Shane Doherty, but the midfielder failed to get a clean strike on the ball and Bray cleared it down the field.
Gary Shaw and Darren Craven had entered the fray in the 72nd minute for Verdon and Kinsella and the pair combined in the 77th minute to cause the home side trouble with Craven drawing a good save from Kearns inside the box and Shaw following up with the rebound only for the Galway defence to block the striker’s effort.
The breakthrough finally came in the 82nd minute when McCormack lofted a nice ball into the path of Waweru who just managed to sneak by the onrushing Maher who got a hand to the ball but couldn’t do enough to turn it away.
Waweru sprinted on to the free ball to roll it into the open net for his eighth goal of the season and the victory in front of a large home crowd on the Dyke Road.
Galway United: Conor Kearns; Killian Brouder, Joe Gorman, Alex Murphy (Dean O'Shea 86), Stephen Walsh (Colin Kelly 90); Gary Boylan, David Hurley (Mikey Place 90), Ruairi Keating (Shane Doherty 46), Conor McCormack, Mikie Rowe; Wilson Waweru.
Subs not used: Luke Dennison, Carlton Ubaezuonu, Caoilfhionn O’Dea.
Booked: David Hurley (26), Joe Gorman (71).
Sent off: None.
Bray Wanderers: Brian Maher; Richie O'Farrell, Sean Callan (Jamie Bowden 61), Aaron Barry; Luka Lovic, Conor Clifford, Mark Byrne; Steven Kinsella (Darren Craven 72), Ryan Graydon, Joe Doyle (Brandon Kavanagh 85), Sam Verdon (Gary Shaw 72).
Subs not used: Kian Clarke, Callum Thompson, Darragh Lynch.
Booked: Aaron Barry (90) .
Sent off: None.
Referee: Ray Matthews.
Attendance: 2,000 (estimate)
extratime.com Player of the Match: Conor McCormack (Galway United)