By Kevin Dooney
Galway United 1 Cabinteely FC 0
A much improved second half was not enough for Cabinteely as Wilson Waweru’s first half goal was enough to give Galway all three points.
Cabinteely arrived in Galway with an unchanged starting eleven looking to replicate the type of performance that saw them record an historic away win in Turner’s Cross last week.
While Galway came into the match at Eamonn Deacy Park on Friday on the back of a dramatic late winner against Athlone the week before.
Both teams spent the early exchanges trying to gain the upper hand as they exchanged corners without ever scaring the goalkeepers.
Galway did appear threatening from dead balls with David Hurely and Conor McCormack trying to catch out the Cabo defense with moves clearly practised on the training ground.
Daniel Blackbyrne and Kevin Knight at the heart of the away defence were equal to the challenge despite persistent jostling from the Tribesmen.
Galway’s breakthrough came in the 37th minute in a move started when Mikey Place received the ball in space in the middle of the Cabo half.
His well-placed ball found the space between Knight and Blackbyrne and was gladly received by a free running Waweru.
Despite Blackbyrne’s best efforts, the striker was able to evade his man before creating the time and space to finish right footed across ‘keeper Harry Halwax.
The hosts almost put the game out of reach in the next few passages of play as Blackbyrne was once again on hand to clear a dangerous David Hurley free kick. Just minutes later, Place flicked on a Killian Brouder long throw from the right wing at the front post, but nobody was on hand to provide the killer touch.
A much-changed Cabo appeared after the break as Eoin Massey, Jordan Payne and Sean McDonald replaced Alex Aspil, Kieran Marty Waters and Ben Hanrahan. The substitutes saw the team shift to playing three centre backs and three in midfield, which gave the away side a much stronger footing in the game.
The new shape almost paid instant rewards when on 47 minutes Vilius Labutis broke from midfield and played in Jordan Payne who could not really test Conor Kearns with his effort.
Just minutes later, Cabo broke again with Keith Dalton playing in a dangerous ball from the flank with once again just the finishing touch missing to bring the visitor’s level.
Cabo pushed for an equaliser throughout the half, but the Galway defence was resolute.
Green Line graduate Conor Knight did provide some welcome energy for the closing ten minutes, but Connaught side’s experienced professionals were able to see out their victory.
Next week, the White and Green’s will welcome UCD to Stradbrook, but more importantly, will also welcome back one-hundred fans who have endured a long wait to hang out their flags and cheer on their team again.
Hopefully, the addition of home support can get Cabo back to winning ways.
Galway United: Conor Kearns, Conor O’Keefe, Killian Brouder, Maurice Nugent, Alex Murphy (Shane Doherty 88’); Mikey Place (Chris Horgan 88’), Gary Boylan, Conor McCormack, Ruairi Keating; David Hurley (Mikie Rowe 74’), Wilson Waweru (Padraic Cunningham 65’)
Subs not used: Michael Garrihy, Shane Duggan, Stephen Christopher, Caoilfhionn O’Dea, Colin Kelly.
Cabinteely FC: Harry Halwax; Zak O’Neill, Daniel Blackbyrne, Kevin Knight, Luke McWilliams; Keith Dalton (Jem Campion 89’), Vilius Labutis, Alex Aspil (Eoin Massey 46’), Niall Barnes (Conor Knight 79’); Kieran Marty Waters (Jordan Payne 46’), Ben Hanrahan (Sean McDonald 46’).
Subs not used: Darragh Kenny, Luke Clucas, Joe Hyland, Mitchell Byrne.
Booked: Zak O’Neill (19’), Kevin Knight (79’).
Referee: Mark Moynihan.