Galway United laboured to a 1-0 win over Wexford junior side North End United at Eamonn Deacy Park.
United made the perfect start against their visitors from the South East, North End United, with only three minutes on the clock. Jake Keegan raced into space in the channel and beat Sky Blues keeper Lee Walker to the ball, before rolling it into the unguarded net.
Moments later, the American turned provider for Enda Curran, when he nodded the ball down to United’s top scorer. Curran then steadied himself before rattling in an effort that forced Lee Walker into a smart save.
Returning winger Jason Molloy saw his looping header cleared away by North End defender Declan Downes, after Colm Horgan delivered a probing cross to the back post.
Early in the second period, Ryan Connolly’s free kick drew an impressive save from North End United goalkeeper, Lee Walker.
Connor Gleeson had to be alert when North End took a quick free kick, which had allowed Shane Dempsey to smash a stinging effort at the bottom corner. United’s netminder got a strong hand to the ball.
United strikers Jake Keegan and Enda Curran combined, the former heading the ball down to Curran and but he hooked a volley wide of the post.
Shane Dempsey went close for the visitors again when namesake Kyle Dempsey set up him up, but he blazed over the crossbar.
The visitors came mere inches from equalising, but Stephen Walsh was well positioned on the line to head Jason Murphy’s goal bound shot to safety.
Murphy threatened for the visitors again, but he saw his powerful shot whizz inches over the crossbar.
Experienced midfielder Gary Dempsey set up substitute Jason Swords, who shot low and hard into the corner but Gleeson got down to save.
Galway United should have doubled their lead just moments from time when Stephen Walsh flicked on a Ryan Connolly corner-kick at the near post, but Sam Oji’s diving header was dragged wide of the post.
Gary Dempsey split the Tribesmen’s defence in injury time, finding Paul Murphy, but his shot was tame and Gleeson collected easily and United progressed to the last 16 of the Irish Daily Mail FAI Cup.
REFEREE: Robert Hennessey
GALWAY UNITED (4-4-2): Gleeson; Horgan, Oji, Walsh, Ludden; Shanahan, Sinnott © (O’Leary 75), Connolly, Molloy (Byrne 88); Keegan, Curran (Cunningham 65)
UNUSED SUBSTITUTES: Winn, Barry, Raftery, Garcia
SCORERS: Keegan 3
NORTH END UNITED (4-5-1): Walker; Broaders, Aust (Smith 87), R. Dempsey, Downes, Fenlon (Swords 69), K. Dempsey, S. Dempsey, J. Murphy (Wadding 76), P. Murphy, G. Dempsey ©
UNUSED SUBSTITUTES: Haughton, Owens