Galway United scored a resounding 6-0 victory over Finn Harps at Eamonn Deacy Park on Monday evening to maintain their 10-point advantage at the top of the SSE Airtricity League First Division table.
The win sees the Tribesmen extend their perfect home record to nine wins from nine games in what was the clubs’ 800th game in the Dyke Road ground.
The goals were shared around the team as United blew Harps away in the first 20 minutes in front of a jubilant crowd in Terryland. Darren Clarke opened the scoring in what was his first start for the club, before Killian Brouder doubled United’s lead just five minutes later. Stephen Walsh and Maurice Nugent added two more before the 20-minute mark to see United go in at the break four goals to the good. Rob Manley and David Hurley grabbed a goal each in the second half to secure a 6-0 victory for the hosts on a memorable Bank Holiday Monday.
John Caulfield made four changes to the side which drew 1-1 with Bray Wanderers on Friday night with Rob Manley, Darren Clarke, Maurice Nugent, and Evan O’Connor all coming in from the start. Francely Lomboto and Vincent Borden started from the bench, while Rob Slevin was out through suspension and Conor O’Keeffe was missing through injury.
Clarke started brightly, as he won United a free kick on the byline down the right wing just one minute into the game. Hurley delivered the free kick low to the front post where Brouder produced a deft flick which had to be dealt with by the visitors to keep the scores level.
They didn’t stay level for long however, as just two minutes later Clarke grabbed his third goal of the season to put United into the lead. Some great build-up play from the hosts saw Walsh head the ball down to his strike partner Manley, who then played it out to the onrushing Regan Donelon and the left back delivered an inch perfect cross to the back post where Clarke supplied the finish.
Clarke continued his excellent start to the game as he burst into the box before pulling the ball back into the area where Brouder was positioned to guide it home to double United’s lead with just 10 minutes played.
The Tribesmen’s rip-roaring start continued as they made it 3-0 when Walsh rose highest to meet Conor McCormack’s corner kick delivery and he headed home his eighth of the season past the helpless Tim-Oliver Hiemer.
United didn’t let up and just before the 20-minute mark McCormack swung in another dangerous corner which Nugent met this time to notch his first goal of the season and send the home support into raptures.
After a breathtaking opening 20 minutes in which the Tribesmen were unplayable in attack, the game settled down and United began to show their quality in possession. Clarke was finding success down the right wing, and he picked out a great cross to the head of Walsh, but his header was straight at Hiemer in the Harps goal.
Just after the half-hour mark, Clarke dispossessed Filip Da Silva before driving forward and crossing in towards Walsh again, but the United number 7 was just too far out for the effort to trouble Hiemer.
The sides went in at the break with the hosts dominant and United were full value for their 4-0 lead. John Caulfield made one change at the break with Vincent Borden replacing McCormack in the centre of midfield.
With 51 minutes played, Clarke harried his man once again and won the ball back for the hosts which released Borden and the goalscoring midfielder let fly from the edge of the box, but his effort flew just wide of the target.
Just a minute later, United made it 5-0. O’Connor made a surging run down the right wing and delivered a great ball into the feet of Walsh who turned and found Manley and the number 9 took a touch and slotted into the far corner.
After a quick start to the half and the points all but sealed, United took control of the game and once again demonstrated their quality on the ball. The hosts freshened things up as they looked to their bench and introduced the likes of Francely Lomboto and Mikie Rowe, as well as youth in Steven Healy and Oisin O’Reilly.
As the game drew to a close, United sprung into life once more. Borden showed industry in the midfield to win the ball back and launched a counter attack. Hurley drove forward and played a ball to Borden but the American dummied it and let it roll through to Lomboto before the Galway man was taken down by Hiemer and the referee pointed to the spot.
Hurley stepped up and rifled his penalty into the top right corner for his 10th goal of the season and put the gloss on a statement performance from the Tribesmen.
Assistant Manager Ollie Horgan spoke to the media after the full-time whistle and highlighted the importance of the United supporters:
“We started on the front foot, and we knew we had to.
“The supporters, I thought, were excellent.
“We need them to back us when we go a goal down or struggle to break a team down and home and away they have done that.
“Tonight was a good night for us, and we’re focused on Ferrycarrig Park on Friday night”
Galway United: B. Clarke, E. O’Connor, K. Brouder, M. Nugent, R. Donelon (O. O’Reilly 71’), E. McCarthy (M. Rowe 71’), C. McCormack (V. Borden 46’), D. Hurley, D. Clarke (F. Lomboto 63’), R. Manley, S. Walsh (S. Healy 63’).
Finn Harps: T. Hiemer, D. McCallion, N. Baba, K. Cowan (S. O’Kane 83’), S. McMonagle, R. Flood, K. Mashigo (K. Jordan 46’), S. Keogh (D. Duffy 34’), M. Harris, F. da Silva (M. Johnston 83’), S. O’Donnell.
Next up, Galway United travel to Ferrycarrig Park to take on Wexford FC on Friday June 9th, kick off is at 7:45pm.