SD Galway 0 – 2 Waterford United
Report by Matt Keane.
Waterford United made it three wins on the bounce when they easily accounted for SD Galway in Eamonn Deacy Park (formerly Terryland Park) on Friday last. It’s now a case of seven goals from their last three outings, three clean sheets and the confidence is growing all the time within the camp. Had they taken all of the chances that came their way, the Blues could have won this one-sided contest by a cricket score. Next up for Waterford is a home game against the leaders Longford Town this Friday.
Following their superb win at Jackman Park the previous Friday night, Waterford boss Paul O’Brien was still forced into one change as Dylan Mernagh came in for the injured John Frost, who despite passing a late fitness test, had to be content with a place on the bench.
The Blues, playing in an all green strip, started lively and on three minutes, Ben Ryan’s ball hit SD Galway defender Eric Browne before sending Peter Keegan in the clear but his touch past advancing keeper Liam Grant was just too heavy as the ball ran out of play.
A foul on Keegan by defender Brian Geraghty on six minutes yielded a free kick out on the left for United and when Gary Dempsey’s sublime through ball picked out the alert Seanie Maguire, the striker, under pressure from the Galway defence, shot tamely at keeper Grant from ten yards as the visitors kept up their bright start.
The home side had a superb chance to go in front less than three minutes later when a quick Geraghty free kick set Mike Tierney clear down the left wing, and when he put the ball on a plate for Enda Curran, his left-footed effort was magnificently blocked by Blues captain Seamus Long.
It was the lively Keegan that went close to putting his side in front at the other end less than sixty seconds later when he raced onto a superb through ball from Ryan, however the angled left-footed shot was well handled by home netminder Grant.
Waterford continued to press for the lead goal and Grant was nearly caught out on 19 minutes when Dempsey’s free kick seemed certain for an easy collect before Peter White almost got a key touch, the SD Galway netminder managing to save with his chest. Grant made a much better save with his feet two minutes later when Dempsey created space for himself before putting the ball behind the home defence for the lightning quick Paul Phelan, ghosting in from the right, and he bettered that again less than sixty seconds later with a cracking reaction stop when Eric Browne nearly put through his own net from close range.
The goal that the Blues had been threatening did arrive on 23 minutes when some great link up play from Gary Dempsey and Ben Ryan saw the latter lay the ball into the path of the former and his curling right-footed effort from the edge of the penalty area flew past the helpless Grant.
Things got even better for Waterford less than two minutes later when Seanie Maguire’s brilliant pass sent Ryan into the clear and he gave keeper Liam Grant no chance when steering a low right-footed shot from ten yards to the left-hand corner of the net as the Blues got just rewards for their complete dominance of the tie.
The sound of the half time whistle came as a welcomed relief for the home side as they were outplayed and outclassed for the duration of the first half by a Waterford United side that have certainly improved considerably following their disappointing start to the season but they’ve definitely shown major signs of improvement in recent weeks.
Maguire went close to increasing the Blues two goal lead on 48 minutes when the striker, who along with Jack Doherty was on a mid-week trial with Chartlon Athletic, headed a Paul Phelan left-wing cross inches over the crossbar before the latter flashed a left-footed effort over the bar after good work from Paul Carey two minutes later.
Maguire almost got his name on the scoresheet on 54 minutes when the talented centre forward raced onto a Peter Keegan through ball that split the SD Galway defence but he dragged his left-footed shot inches wide of the left-hand upright when he should have really found the back of the net.
It has to be said that the Blues’ finishing became somewhat sloppy in the second half but they did have a real chance to increase their lead on 76 minutes when Gary Dempsey’s 25-yard free kick was superbly saved and after Phelan sent in the rebound, Keegan only managed to volley straight at the SD Galway netminder.
The Blues introduced Gary Dunphy, Peter Higgins and Conor Coad during the final quarter as they ran time down but the true reality was once Dempsey had opened the scoring on 23 minutes, the game was up for the home side.
(thanks to Matt Keane for the match report!)
Galway: Liam Grant, Colm Horgan, Tommy Bradshaw, Eric Browne, Brian Geraghty, Willie Enubele, Ronan Conlon (Eduardo Dusi 68), Eugene Greaney (Gerry Dolan 82), Enda Curran, Mike Tierney, Mixie Harty – subs: Ronan Burke, Charlie Burke, Cian Fadden
Blues: Packie Holden; Paul Carey, Craig Burns, Seamus Long, Dylan Mernagh; Ben Ryan, Peter White (Peter Higgins 84), Gary Dempsey, Paul Phelan; Sean Maguire (Gary Dunphy 77), Peter Keegan (Conor Coad 86) – subs: Robbie Hughes, John Frost, Jack Doherty, Gary Keane
Goals: Dempsey 22, Ryan 24
Referee: Ray Matthews