Unbeaten home record seals crowning glory for Galway United

A record 98 in the league this season

Galway United were crowned First Division champions in Eamonn Deacy Park on Friday. John Caulfield’s side sealed a magnificent campaign with a 2-0 win over Wexford to complete a 100 per cent home league record.

Wassim Aouachria fired the starting gun on the festivities when he coolly steered home a cross from the energetic Aodh Dervin in the fifth minute before wheeling away to celebrate with the home fans.

He could have doubled his tally shortly after, but failed to find the finish to beat Noel Heffernan after he intercepted a loose Wexford pass at the back.

Wexford are in play-off action this week against Cobh and as a result made six changes from their previous outing, and they seemed preoccupied with not picking up injuries on what was a tricky surface underfoot after the heavy rain earlier in the week.

While tidy in possession, they offered little in terms of attacking thrust, while United's Dervin provided plenty at the other end, providing the assist for the second as well. His corner made it all the way to Rob Slevin, who nodded home nonchalantly at the back post to make it 2-0.

Stephen Walsh and David Hurley were unlucky not to add to their splendid personal tallies in the second half as Noel Heffernan made some fine saves in the Wexford goal.

The game fizzled out understandably with United assured of the points, but the late introductions of Steven Healy, with another fine cameo, and Alex Rutter on his debut, were the highlights of the closing stages.

The crowd had seen enough goals, a record 98 in the league this season. They were there to witness history. Conor McCormack obliged and hoisted the trophy in front of the jubilant fans soon after full-time.

The roar, not heard in Terryland for 30 years, reflected the relief and joy of the faithful. There have been turbulent times in the intervening years and play-off heartache in the recent past.

There is a strong sense of pride and confidence in the supporters as they ready themselves for a monumental task in the Premier Division next season. It is a division that has improved substantially in the six years since United’s last involvement.

There has been enough evidence this season to suggest nights under the lights in Terryland will regain their place among the best of Galway’s sporting spectacles in 2024. For once, February cannot come soon enouh.

 

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