Galway United secured their third win in a row as they defeated Treaty United 3-0 on Friday night in Markets Field to maintain their 10-point lead at the summit of the SSE Airtricity League First Division.
David Hurley scored his seventh goal of the season as he netted from the penalty spot, before Francely Lomboto doubled the Tribesmen’s lead. Substitute Ibrahim Keita made it 3-0 to the visitors in second half stoppage time to secure the three points for Galway United on Shannonside.
John Caulfield was forced into two changes from the side which defeated Wexford FC 2-0 last week, with Rob Manley and Maurice Nugent replacing Stephen Walsh and Rob Slevin who both missed out through suspension.
The game began in frustrating fashion for the visitors as Conor O’Keeffe received a yellow card with less than a minute played. Treaty United took encouragement from this and looked to create chances early, the best of which came after 13 minutes when Martin Coughlan struck from the edge of the area and his deflected effort whistled just wide of Brendan Clarke’s post.
Galway looked for an immediate response to the early Treaty pressure and they got their opportunity with 20 minutes on the clock. Edward McCarthy launched a long throw into the box which bounced and struck the hand of centre back Andy Spain and the referee pointed to the spot. David Hurley stepped up and buried his left footed penalty across goal and into the bottom right corner to put the visitors 1-0 ahead.
The goal gave the Tribesmen a visible boost and they looked to double their lead before the break with a lot of positive play coming down the left through both Regan Donelon and Francely Lomboto. Donelon whipped in a dangerous cross just after the half-hour mark, but Rob Manley couldn’t steer it goalwards. Five minutes later, Lomboto got the better of his man before the ball made its way to the feet of Donelon once more, but nobody could turn his cross home.
The visitors made their pressure pay and doubled their lead after 41 minutes. Hurley skipped past Marc Ludden down the right wing and charged towards the box before slipping a lovely-weighted ball through to Manley who pulled the ball back into the path of Lomboto, and the winger calmly slotted into the bottom corner for his third goal of the campaign.
The sides came back out for the second half and the hosts looked to halve the deficit from the outset as an early corner was met at the near post by Enda Curran, but his header flew just wide of the post.
Despite the early chance for Treaty, Caulfield’s men began to show their quality and controlled the game for the next 15 minutes before McCarthy picked up possession on the left and drove at the Treaty United defence forcing Spain to take the Limerick-man down and receive his second yellow card.
With the hosts down to 10 men, Galway looked to take advantage and went in pursuit of the third for the remaining 30 minutes. Evan O’Connor was introduced at half time, and he linked up well with McCarthy down the right throughout the second half as well as impressing defensively when called upon.
With 80 minutes on the clock, a bright Galway move resulted in Vincent Borden laying the ball off for McCarthy to strike, but his effort bounced off the outside of the post to deny him a goal against his former club.
As the game approached stoppage time, the visitors injected some youth into the game as Steven Healy and Mikey McCullagh were introduced and both youngsters were involved as the Tribesmen made it 3-0 in the first minute of stoppage time. Ibrahim Keita, who had been introduced midway through the second half, controlled a powerful ball into the box, turned, and fired his strike into the top corner leaving Shane Hallahan rooted to the spot.
The final moments of stoppage time were much of the same from a Galway perspective, as the table-toppers controlled the ball and didn’t offer the hosts any opportunities as they saw out a commanding 3-0 victory in Limerick.
Maurice Nugent spoke to the media post-match:
‘It’s good to come down here and get the win, it’s a tough place to come’
‘I thought we kept the ball very well and managed the game very well’
‘We take pride in keeping clean sheets’
Manager John Caulfield also spoke after his side’s 3-0 victory, and mentioned how well the players who came into the starting 11 performed:
‘It’s a real tough place to come, a local derby, it was important that we kept cool heads and we did’
‘Evan (O’Connor) did great, (Rob) Manley did great up top, and Maurice (Nugent) was absolutely outstanding’
Treaty United: S. Hallahan, M. Ludden, D. Nwankwo, C. Conroy (A. O’Donnell 64’), A. Spain, L. Devitt, S. Christopher, A. Byrne (S. Kirkland 83’), M. Coughlan (C. Kelly 46’), D. George (R. Lynch 83’), E. Curran (W. Armshaw 68’).
Galway United: B. Clarke, C. O’Keeffe (E. O’Connor 46’), K. Brouder, M. Nugent, R. Donelon, V. Borden (S. Healy 89’), C. McCormack, F. Lomboto (M. Rowe 84’), E. McCarthy (M. McCullagh 89’), D. Hurley, R. Manley (I. Keita 66’).
Next up, Galway United return home to Eamonn Deacy Park to take on Athlone Town on Friday, May 26th at 7:45pm.