Galway United celebrates first FAI Cup semi-final in 15 years

Attention now turns to wrapping up first division title

In the local and national consciousness, on the field of play and in the hunt for honours, Galway United are back.

A decade ago the club was in the wilderness. Now they are beginning to realise the dreams and ambitions of the few who kept the faith.

The 4-0 demolition of Dundalk in the FAI Cup quarter-final announced United on the national stage again. Dundalk, a renowned team made up of internationals, winners and exciting prospects, wilted under the pressure.

United overpowered their more illustrious visitors. At the back, they were commanding. On the flanks, Aodh Dervin and Ed McCarthy personified the pace, passion and prowess of United. They won tackles, drove forward and had enough class to create and finish goals. Up front, they bullied their opponents.

The first goal set the tone in the eighth minute. Wassim Auoachria dominated Darragh Leahy and won a free for David Hurley to produce a perfect cross in the air and Stephen Walsh sniped from the back post for the lead.

There was adversity to overcome thereafter. There should have been a penalty for Wassim, there could have been a clean breakaway for Dervin, and there was a goal for Maurice Nugent. The referee pulled back the latter two incidents for debatable fouls to keep Dundalk’s chances on life support.

However, the United avalanche became too much. A goal from the brilliant McCarthy soon followed. Vince Borden whipped in a perfect cross that the Limerick man nodded home for 2-0 inside 20 minutes.

The dominance was relentless and Nugent found the net from a set-piece on the half-hour mark. Galway native Stephen O’Donnell tried to stem the United tide with a triple substitution moments later, but the game was killed when the irrepressible Dervin won a penalty that Hurley converted before half-time.

After an electric first half, the second was more contained - time for supporters to check their phones to see that Cobh Ramblers were beating Waterford FC in the league. That result stood, thus Galway United travel to Kerry tomorrow needing only a point to secure the first division title.

When it does arrive, be it in Kerry, at home to Finn Harps next Monday, or thereafter, it will be a first league title in 29 years. John Caulfield’s side has steamrolled the first division, and last Friday proved there are strong foundations in place for a tilt at the premier division.

Wrapping up the league early will also allow United to concentrate on their first FAI Cup semi-final in 15 years. That massive game will be another home tie against Bohemians fixed for Saturday October 7 (2.40pm ).

It is a game certain to sell out. Supporters from all over Galway will descend in numbers in the coming weeks for the remaining fixtures to celebrate title winners and roar on cup challengers.

It is a game certain to sell out. Supporters from all over Galway will descend in numbers in the coming weeks for the remaining fixtures to celebrate title winners and roar on cup challengers.

Galway United Friends Co-op is running buses to Tralee for Friday's first division match at Mounthawk Park, departing The Connacht Hotel at 3.15pm and picking up en route. To book a seat contact Stephen Connolly 085-2206645.

 

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