United seek a sixth win on the trot

A professional performance on a bumpy Cobh surface delivered a fifth win on the trot for Galway United as their early play-off push gathers momentum.

Consistent in his selection, John Caulfield shuffled only slightly to give Ibrahim Keita his first senior start in St Colman’s Park. His power and pace helped to keep the opponents on the back foot as United controlled the ball and the territory.

Having knocked on the door from set pieces, it was Vincent Borden who broke the deadlock with a superb free-kick, displaying the talent in his arsenal to match his effort and efficiency. A deserved second came after the break when Ronan Manning coolly dispatched a loose ball in the Cobh box.

There were more chances to extend the lead - Francely Lomboto and Rob Slevin were among those thwarted by last-ditch defending. However, the outcome never looked in doubt and United dominated.

"We knew it was going to be tough going down there," said manager John Caulfield. "Shane Keegan has got them playing very well. We needed to make sure we were on it from the start and we were."

While Caulfield emphasised the team performance, there were a number of stand-out performers. Skipper Conor McCormack marshalled the midfield on St Patrick’s Day, Ed McCarthy raided on the right, and Brendan Clarke was unflappable in goals. The only negative was an injury picked up by left-back Regan Donelon, who is currently being assessed.

Conor O’Keefe ably deputised for the Dunmore man upon his introduction. He may need to do the same when Longford Town visit Eamonn Deacy Park tomorrow night.

The visitors' season has been uneven thus far under Stephen Henderson. They have been solid on the road, yet remain winless in five. There was much upheaval in the offseason. The loss of manager Gary Cronin as well as talented players Sam Verdon, Jordan Adeyemo, Michael Barker and Darren Clarke will require time and patience.

Nonetheless, they have always proved tricky opponents for United. Last season eight costly points were dropped against the midlands' side before they were dispatched in the playoff semi-final. The United manager is under no illusions as to the threat Longford carry.

"Their two away games have been against Waterford and Bray, two title contenders, and they have drawn both games. They drew at home to Cobh and were unlucky to concede a late penalty against Finn Harps. Certainly from a defensive point of view they are strong. In the last four games, they have only conceded twice."

The league table this early in a season can indeed be deceiving and Galway United will need another strong performance and good home backing to record a famous sixth win on the spin.

"The crowd has been very good. They have been in early and the away support had been great too. We would love to have even bigger crowds and get them in behind the team."

Given recent performances and results, Galwegians can venture up the Dyke Road full of confidence on Friday.


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