Focus turns to cup clash after United thwarted by Longford

Galway United travel to the Carlisle Grounds tomorrow night (7.45pm ) to take on Bray Wanderers, and with seven games remaining in the league, United need a maximum of seven points to clinch the title.

As a result, even a week out, the FAI Cup quarter-final clash with Dundalk FC is dominating the agenda. Tickets are already selling rapidly for a game that is likely to sell out.

One can only speculate as the priorities in the camp, but it was noteworthy that, despite fielding a strong side in their 1-0 loss to Longford, talisman Stephen Walsh was left out of the starting line-up for the first time this season. The Bohermore man’s durability has been astonishing, having missed only one game away to Treaty United in May due to suspension.

He was introduced in the second half to try to turn the tide as his side had found itself a goal down at half-time. Despite a bright start, United fell behind to a well-worked goal from the home team after former United forward Jordan Adeyemo was let loose on the left. He evaded Evan O’Connor and picked out in-form striker Christian Mageursan in the box, who side-footed home from point-blank range.

The game had been open until then. Rob Slevin and Adam Wixted went close at each end in the opening 10 minutes. Killian Brouder caused consternation from set-pieces and missed with two headers in the opening quarter.

United dominated in the second-half, but were thwarted time and again by Jack Brady, who was in stunning form in the Longford goal. He had a routine stop to make from Ed McCarthy not long after the break. Brouder had his best chance from the ensuing corner, but his volley bounced off the turf and over the bar.

Francely Lomboto was somehow denied a penalty when he was bundled over in the box as the pressure mounted. Brady then kept out an audacious overhead kick from Walsh in the same phase of play.

A veritable siege started in the 69th minute. Conor McCormack’s cross nearly crept in at the far post, only for Brady to scramble clear. David Hurley’s resulting corner trickled across the goal, but it was blocked wide for another corner. Walsh was sure he scored from this, but Brady batted it up to the underside of the crossbar and away.

There were claims the ball had crossed the line, but it was evident at this point it was not to be United’s night.

Depending on results in Bray and Ballybofey, where Waterford face Finn Harps, there is a real possibility the title could be secured in Tralee, with a game against Kerry FC on September 22. If not, three home games in a row should provide the ideal backdrop for deserved honours.

•Galway United Friends Co-op is running a bus to Friday's first division match in Bray, departing The Connacht Hotel, Galway at 4pm and picking up en route. To book a seat contact Stephen Connolly at 085-2206645.


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