Dundalk 3-2 Galway United: Report
Shane Guthrie’s 87th-minute header gave Dundalk a thrilling 3-2 win against Galway United at Oriel Park on Friday night as Ian Foster’s side got their league campaign up and running at the second attempt. The former Galway central defender rose to meet Ross Gaynor’s corner in the dying minutes to give Dundalk maximum points after the home side had twice been dragged level by their opponents. Mark Quigley gave Dundalk the lead on 18 minutes with a stunning 35-yard free-kick but Joseph Yoffe quickly levelled from the spot. Jason Byrne and Seán Kelly then exchanged second-half goals, before Guthrie saved the day with a late, late header.
Dundalk manager Foster made three changes to the side that lined out in the 1-0 win over Glentoran in the Setanta Sports Cup quarter-final first leg in Belfast last Monday night. Goalkeeper Paul Murphy came in to make his first competitive appearance for the Lilywhites at Oriel Park since November 2004, and the local stopper was joined in the team by Colin Hawkins and Keith Ward. The trio replaced Peter Cherrie, Michael Hector and Stephen Maher. And Dundalk had Murphy to thank for keeping them level in the opening seconds as he brilliantly denied Karl Moore who had beaten two players on the right of the area before cutting inside and shooting. The rebound was cleared behind by Gaynor, with the resulting corner no danger.
Close to the quarter-hour mark, Shaun Maher headed a corner over Murphy’s crossbar as the visitors threatened again. On 18 minutes, Daniel Kearns made a superb surging run, past Gary Curran who was booked for fouling the young winger, Galway’s third yellow card in the opening exchanges. And from the resulting free-kick Quigley hit a magnificent 35-yard rocket to Greg Fleming’s top right-hand corner. However, Dundalk’s lead was short-lived as Galway won a penalty just three minutes later. Shaun Kelly beat Nathan Murphy down the right and cut into the box where he was fouled by Gaynor. Yoffe stood up to hit the spot-kick and, although Murphy went the right way, the ball nestled in the ‘keeper’s bottom right-hand corner. Dundalk responded and Quigley did well on the left and found Gaynor but the Galway defence did enough to prevent the Ardee native from shooting.
Byrne then fired goalwards from just outside the area but his effort went over the crossbar, before good link-up play between captain Simon Madden, Byrne and Kearns gave the latter an opportunity to shoot, but off-balance his effort was no danger. Galway then had their fair share of possession but posed no real threat to the Dundalk goal, before, at the other end, Byrne found space to shoot from the right of the area but under pressure from captain Paul Sinnott his shot went well over. Shaun Kelly then raided forward and almost created an opening but Guthrie’s back-pass and Murphy’s clearance did the needful. Nathan Murphy then made tracks down the left and his cross was met by Quigley whose powerful shot was blocked. Close to half-time, Galway were inches away from taking the lead when Curran’s 18-yard shot flashed past Murphy’s upright.
The first chance of the second half fell to Dundalk on 49 minutes when the ball came to Quigley on the edge of the box, and after his initial effort was blocked, his second forced Fleming to tip around the post with the ball bound for the bottom corner. On 52 minutes, Moore shot narrowly wide for Galway. Six minutes later, Curran’s free-kick fell to Yoffe in the box but his shot went well over. Just before the midway point of the second half, Dundalk’s pressure almost paid up when a great move involving Keith Ward, Kearns, Madden and Quigley ended with the ball finding Maher in space on the left of the area, but his fizzed shot went narrowly wide of the far bottom corner. Dundalk continued to press and Maher had another chance shortly after when Ward’s pass split the defence but the 23-year-old’s powerful low effort was saved by the legs of Fleming.
Dundalk restored their lead moments later when, on 71 minutes, a great move involving Ward, Kearns and Madden saw the latter cross onto the head of Byrne who headed into the bottom corner from ten-yards. The Lilywhites should have had a two-goal cushion seconds later when Quigley did well, rounding the ‘keeper but he shot off the post, before his follow-up effort was brilliantly pushed away by Fleming. And that miss proved costly as Galway were back on level terms on 77 minutes when Seán Kelly’s fine strike from the edge of the area found Murphy’s top left-hand corner. On 82 minutes, substitute Enda Curran saw his effort saved by the Dundalk ‘keeper. The home side were back on the attack on 87 minutes when Kearns’ free-kick forced a corner, and from Gaynor’s delivery Guthrie headed into the net from eight-yards. Dundalk could have extended their lead in the final minute of normal time when a quick break saw Kearns play in Ward who ran towards goal and shot, his effort pushed away by Fleming. However, it mattered little as Dundalk held on for a valuable three points.
DUNDALK FC (4-2-3-1): Paul Murphy; Simon Madden ©, Colin Hawkins, Shane Guthrie, Nathan Murphy; Dean Bennett (Stephen Maher 45+1), Keith Ward; Daniel Kearns, Mark Quigley, Ross Gaynor; Jason Byrne.
Goals: M Quigley (18), J Byrne (71), S Guthrie (87).
Unused Subs: Stephen McDonnell, Mark Griffin, Johnny Breen.
GALWAY UNITED FC (4-4-2): Greg Fleming, Shaun Kelly, Paul Sinnott ©, Shaun Maher, Stephen Walsh; Bobby Ryan (Brian Cash 59), Gary Curran, Seán Kelly, Karl Moore; Steve Feeney (Enda Curran 81), Joseph Yoffe (Alan Murphy 68).
Goal: J Yoffe (21 pen), Seán Kelly (77).
Booked: Shaun Kelly (4), K Moore (15), G Curran (18), S Maher (62).
Unused Subs: Conor Winn (GK), Eduardo Dusi, Keith Duffy, Gary Kelly.
Referee: Paul Tuite (Dublin).
Attendance: 1,450 (Est.).