Date Time League Season
22 April 2022 7:45 pm LOI Men's First Division 2022

Match Report

Galway keep pressure on Cork City with valuable win

Galway United began well, endured an unsettling middle but finished strong to keep pace with First Division leaders Cork City after goals from Stephen Walsh and a David Hurley penalty helped them see off a frustratingly passive Bray Wanderers effort.

After producing some promising interplay in the opening exchanges, John Caulfield's men got their reward.  

Edward McCormack's inswinging free-kick delivery was partially cleared, but the loose ball fell fortuitously for their top goalscorer Walsh. He pounced on the chance, despite having an initial effort blocked, to rattle home into the far corner after eight minutes.

The visitors had Stephen McGuinness to thank that they were somehow still in with a fighting chance at the interval, making multiple top saves to deny Manu Dimas and Walsh from increasing his five-goal haul this season.

They were slow to get going and looked bereft of ideas, but could've levelled the scoring or even gone in-front after the restart.  

Mere minutes after Cobh Ramblers' Conor Drinan equalised against Cork, Galway saw their stranglehold on second-place weaken temporarily in what should have been an apt warning sign.

John Caulfield's men failed to convincingly clear their lines during a goalmouth scramble, after which Kurtis Byrne's half-volley inadvertently teed up Rob Manley with the goal at his mercy. He hit air, rather than the ball as it looped up invitingly for him, so the hosts could breathe a sigh of relief.  

Goalkeeper Conor Kearns was rooted to the spot watching Byrne's well-struck free-kick cannon off the post eight minutes later, another uneasy moment proving Galway could not afford to ease up.

Then they were virtually handed the three points. Bray captain Hugh Douglas - who made a big first-half block - was adjudged to have pulled back Killian Brouder in the box as they jostled for possession from a dangerous long throw.  

Despite McGuinness' best efforts, Hurley made no mistake with a thunderous finish from twelve yards. The Tribesmen, now comfortably armed with a two-goal cushion, were settled with the game fizzling out as a contest.

This was a dicey affair in which the better side ultimately won, though they cannot afford to experience such lapses against more clinical opposition if they're serious about a title charge this term.

  • 94'

    Bray's four-game away unbeaten run comes to an end, Galway were deserved winners despite some hairy moments. I've been Mosope Ominiyi, thanks for joining me tonight! Stay tuned to the site for more coverage across the grounds, with my full match report also to come.

  • 94'

    Full-time! Galway 2-0 Bray Wanderers, a barrage of late changes but the definitive nail in the coffin came 20 minutes from time with Hurley's emphatic penalty for the hosts.

  • 91'

    Into stoppage-time and the changes continue: Bray bringing on Daragh Lynch for Byrne. Four minutes of additional time will be played.

  • 89'

    Triple change in the final embers for Galway: Adeyemo, Hemmings and Lyons all introduced - goalscorers Hurley and Walsh, along with McCarthy, all coming off.

  • 87'

    A header flashes over the crossbar by Enda Douglas, having ghosted past his marker.. Think that's it, as far as Bray's faint hopes of an unlikely comeback.

  • 84'

    Double sub for the visitors, though it feels futile at this stage. Marty Waters and Conor Knight are on, for Dalton and Thompson.

  • 76'

    Lomboto is the hosts' second change, coming on for Waweru in the last 15 minutes or so now.

  • 75'

    Galway are back in their groove again and the crowd half thought it was 3-0! Boylan drags a shot wide though, after more promising play in the final third.

  • 71'

    To make matters worse for the visitors' captain, he was also shown the game's first booking in that sequence.

  • 70'

    Hurley makes no mistake from the spot! 2-0 Galway, they double their lead after a tetchy period of Bray chances!

  • 69'

    Penalty for Galway! Hugh Douglas is adjudged to have pulled back Brouder in the box from a dangerous long throw...

  • 67'

    Off the crossbar! He didn't hit the ball cleanly in the aforementioned goalmouth scramble, but Kurtis Byrne almost equalised for Bray from distance with a well-struck free-kick! He had Kearns rooted to the spot, but it cannoned back off the upright as Galway can breathe again.

  • 66'

    Dimas will be frustrated to not have netted a brace, such were his oportunities here, but some valuable minutes banked for the Spaniard as he attempts to get to 100% match sharpness.

  • 65'

    Manu Dimas gets a warm round of applause as he comes off, with Gary Boylan replacing him.

  • 59'

    Bray chance from seemingly nowhere! Right on cue then, a heart-in-mouth moment for the hosts as they survive a scrappy goalmouth scramble caused by a long throw-in. Kurtis Byrne's half-volley isn't sweetly struck and deceives the Galway backline, with Rob Manley hitting air with the goal at his mercy! Huge let-off.

  • 58'

    Keeping tabs on Ramblers-Cork given the ramifications in that matchup and, despite going 2-0 down at one stage, it's now 2-2 as Conor Drinan has equalised for the hosts! As it stands, the gap between the First Division's top two will drop to one point.

  • 56'

    Waweru dances his way past challenges and advances into the area, like Murphy and Walsh before him, but after doing the hard part, he loses ball control at the wrong moment and his half-chance ultimately fizzles out for a Bray goal-kick.

  • 50'

    Sustained pressure from McCarthy and Murphy sees the latter watch as his deflected effort floats over the crossbar. The resulting corner is a deep one and ultimately dealt with, out for a Bray goal-kick.

  • 46'

    No changes for either side at the break, the second-half has begun!

  • 46'

    Only one minute of stoppage-time to be played and that's the end of the first-half! Galway 1-0 Bray Wanderers, the visitors should be thanking McGuinness that this match isn't already dead and buried in truth.

  • 45'

    Great save! How is it still only 1-0? Dimas and Walsh combine in transition, the latter remains composed under pressure and Galway produce another big chance. Murphy's cross is perfectly-placed for Dimas, who sees his first-time effort blocked before Walsh - even closer to goal - is denied by McGuinness' latest diving stop.

  • 44'

    Close! Nice passage of play again by the hosts, McCarthy this time flicks a reverse pass into the area ... Walsh heads goalwards but can only watch as it trickles narrowly past the far post. Should be 2-0.

  • 43'

    Play stopped briefly as Galway captain McCormack goes down near the halfway line under a challenge, limps away without needing medical treatment though.

  • 39'

    If any 20-second sequence could sum up this first-half for Bray, it's just happened. They had a soft free-kick near the halfway line, an opportunity to send bodies forward and cause the hosts some problems. It's played short, then hoofed straight into the goalkeeper's hands. Why? Your guess is as good as mine.

  • 36'

    Murphy and Waweru combine, the latter cuts inside and shapes to shoot... better left unsaid where that ended up! High, wide and miles over the bar from distance.

  • 33'

    It's Bray captain Hugh Douglas with a big block! Galway are firmly in control right now and you can see that just by the free-flowing motion of their passing exchanges. The ball finds its way to Dimas, whose effort is thwarted by an alert defender.. it had to be, such was the speed of the hosts' transition from midfield to attack.

  • 31'

    Visiting goalkeeper McGuinness has been busier than he would've liked in this first half-hour and has to claim an inviting delivery from Hurley as Galway probe with players lurking dangerously to support.

  • 27'

    Great save! McGuinness reacts well and produces an important stop to keep the deficit at one, after good work from Alex Murphy down the far side to feed Dimas in the box. His flick looks goalbound, but for the \'keeper\'s intervention.

  • 24'

    Half-hearted penalty appeals waved away as Jack Hudson relinquishes possession cheaply in their own half, before Enda Douglas bodychecks McCormack in the box.

  • 21'

    McCormack's well-timed tackle near the touchline sees a loud flurry of applause erupt from the home fans, in what typifies this start. Bray haven't really got going, they're second to most challenges and aren't utilising possession to create anything of note yet either.

  • 18'

    The hosts look in the mood here. Walsh got the crowd purring with a well-struck effort that McGuinness well held, just before Brouder looked menacing at the far post and forced a corner. Nothing came of it in the end though.

  • 13'

    Remember how I said Cork were expected to win away at Cobh Ramblers? They're already a goal ahead through Ruiari Keating's sixth goal of the campaign at St. Coleman's Park...

  • 10'

    Galway have begun brightest and while a little lucky, you earn it when frequently finding yourself in dangerous goalscoring situations such as that.

  • 9'

    McCormack's teasing inswinging free-kick delivery was headed by Douglas, but the loose ball fell fortuituously for Walsh. He pounced on the chance, despite having an initial effort blocked, to rattle home into the far corner.

  • 8'

    Goal for Galway! Who else but their top goalscorer Stephen Walsh from close-range!

  • 4'

    Two moments of promising interplay, one by each side just now. First Byrne and Manley advanced forward, the latter having his cross comfortably held by Kearns. Then, Waweru and Dimas did the same for the visitors before the Spaniard's shooting attempts were blocked, then ultimately cleared.

  • The referee makes sure everything is okay and eventually, we're off! A must-win game for both, at contrasting parts of the First Division table, who will emerge victorious here?

  • A minute's silence being held for Kate Moran, who tragically died earlier this week after a freak accident during a camogie match in Co Galway on Monday.

  • Just a few minutes until kick-off now, music is blaring through the speakers and the players are set to emerge from the tunnel..

  • Team news, better late than never! Galway include 19-year-old fullback Ben Molloy on the first-team bench for the first time, if I'm not mistaken, while Manu Dimas retains his spot in attack after netting the winner away at Waterford.

  • Galway are teasing their team news but haven't released anything yet - besides tonight's matchday sponsors. 25 minutes until KO now. No rush, lads.

  • Bray team news is in! A full debut for Enda Douglas, while Zambra and Rob Manley both start for the visitors tonight. Four changes in total, including captain Hugh Douglas at centre-back.

  • The respective teams have posted their arrivals at the ground ahead of kick-off in the last half-hour, I suggest you take a look! Pitch looks in pristine condition, perfect for hopefully an end-to-end encounter.

  • I say all of that to conclude: Cork are expected to win elsewhere tonight. So, the onus is on Galway to grind out another victory - any means necessary.

  • However, anyone that's been following my live text commentaries of late will remember how highly I praised Harlain Mbayo's defensive showing against Galway themselves on Apr. 1. He was sent off late on in the aforementioned 3-2 win, so they'll be without an influential figure at the back against the league leaders.

  • Galway will look to maintain pressure on First Division leaders Cork, who travel to second-bottom side Cobh Ramblers tonight. The hosts there will be on a high after their 3-2 win over Athlone Town on Monday.

  • Bray are winless in their last five matches and as far as the manager H2H is concerned, John Caulfield has won all five previous meetings against Pat Devlin dating back to the latter's five-year stint with Cabinteely.

  • Team news from both sides will follow shortly, but before then, let me take you through some intriguing statistics to keep an eye on..

  • Good evening and welcome to tonight's live commentary, as Galway United host Bray Wanderers in little over an hour's time! My name's Mosope Ominiyi and I'll be describing the night's action as it unfolds from Eamonn Deacy Park.

Galway Utd

1Conor Kearns Goalkeeper
2Conor O’Keeffe Defender
3Stephen Walsh 27 Defender 8'
5Killian Brouder Defender
6Diego Portilla Defender 92'
25Alex Murphy Defender
10David Hurley 12 Midfielder 70'
22Conor McCormack Midfielder
24Edward McCarthy 4 Midfielder
9Manu Dimas 7 Forward
18Wilson Waweru 19 Forward
16Matthew Connor Goalkeeper
4Charlie Lyons 24 Defender
7Gary Boylan 9 Defender
20Evan O’Connor Defender
23Ronan Manning Midfielder
27Max Hemmings 3 Midfielder
12Jordan Adeyemo 10 Forward
19Francely Lomboto 18 Forward

Bray Wanderers

1Stephen McGuinness Goalkeeper
2Daniel Blackbyrne Defender
2Enda Douglas Defender
5Hugh Douglas Defender 69'
12Jack Hudson Defender
7Keith Dalton 10 Midfielder
27Callum Thompson Midfielder
27Dean Zambra Midfielder
8Karl Manahan Forward
8Kurtis Byrne 24 Forward
9Rob Manley 32 Forward
25Michael Kelly Goalkeeper
23Conor McManus Defender
15Eoin Massey Midfielder
18Zak O’Neill Midfielder
19Vilius Labutis Midfielder
10Kieran Marty Waters 7 Forward
24Darragh Lynch 8 Forward
32Ugo Anny Nzekwue 9 Forward

Past Meetings

(Round 4)
1 - 3
LOI Men's First Division
Carlisle Grounds

Bray Wanderers v Galway United

(Play Off Semi Final - 2nd Leg)
0 - 1
LOI Men's First Division
Eamonn Deacy Park

Galway United v Bray Wanderers

(Play Off Semi Final - 1st Leg)
0 - 0
LOI Men's First Division
Carlisle Grounds

Bray Wanderers v Galway United

(Series 25)
1 - 0
LOI Men's First Division
Eamonn Deacy Park

Galway United v Bray Wanderers

(Series 16)
0 - 0
LOI Men's First Division
Carlisle Grounds

Bray Wanderers v Galway United

(Series 7)
1 - 2
LOI Men's First Division
Eamonn Deacy Park

Galway United v Bray Wanderers

(Series 17)
0 - 1
LOI Men's First Division
Carlisle Grounds

Bray Wanderers v Galway United

(Series 8)
0 - 0
LOI Men's First Division
Eamonn Deacy Park

Galway United v Bray Wanderers


Eamonn Deacy Park
Eamonn Deacy Park, Dyke Road, Terryland, Menlough, Galway City, County Galway, Connacht, H91 ET6N, Ireland

Mosope Ominiyi is a freelance sports journalist and sub-editor with over a decade's worth of experience, having graduated in 2020 with a BA Hons degree at Staffordshire University. His work has appeared in The Times, MailOnline and Sportskeeda, among other platforms.