|22 April 2022||7:45 pm||LOI Men's First Division||2022|
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.
|Eamonn Deacy Park|
|Eamonn Deacy Park, Dyke Road, Terryland, Menlough, Galway City, County Galway, Connacht, H91 ET6N, Ireland|