United will not be taking Longford for granted despite form

Galway United travel to Longford on Saturday in imperious form as three sensational second-half strikes continued Galway United’s relentless march towards the first division title.

With Waterford dropping points away to Treaty on Monday, United need a maximum of 10 points to wrap up the title with eight games to play.

United's last visit to Longford in May remains their only defeat of the campaign, and Longford have improved of late. After a poor start, they now lie within one place of the play-off positions, and games in Bishopsgate between the sides are rarely dull.

A sizeable travelling support will be keen for United to get one over their midland rivals, having witnessed United devastating final quarter against Shane Keegan’s Cobh Ramblers, who had been strong and competitive for the first three quarters.

After an even contest, with chances at both ends, Vincent Borden and David Hurley (twice ) struck emphatically to see off a spirited Cobh effort.

The visitors had started well with Jack Doherty impressing throughout. After seven minutes, he drove through the defence, but failed to trouble Brendan Clarke. United, though, had the better of the early chances, and their former defender Charlie Lyons twice had to scramble back to his line to deny Stephen Walsh.

Francely Lomboto was thwarted twice too by more determined Cobh defending, while Evan O’Connor also headed wide as the pressure from the home team intensified.

Ronan Manning’s early departure through injury was a blow for the home team, and manager John Caulfield will have to sweat on the fitness of his playmaker with the quarter-final against Dundalk looming.

Cobh grew into the contest as the half progressed, and Matthew McKevitt went close twice for the visitors. However, Wassim Auoachria continued his fine form to give the home team a deserved lead. He spun off his man in the box in the 34th minute and smashed a half-volley under Cobh ‘keeper Lee Steacy.

Remarkably, Cobh were level four minutes later. The impressive Cian Browne broke free down the left and planted a cross on Doherty’s head, and the striker steered home brilliantly.

After a vibrant first half, the second was a cagier affair. Cobh were comfortable on the ball and enjoyed the better of the third quarter as they pressed for a go-ahead goal. Yet they would be undone by a barnstorming home finish.

Shortly after his introduction, sub Vincent Borden found space and unleashed a thunderbolt from 25 yards. The ball smashed into the top corner and was as good as any of the 74 United have registered in the league this season. David Hurley did his best to match it two minutes later. Ed McCarthy made a mazy run and earned a free at the edge of the box. Hurley powered home the resultant free to secure the points. He provided the icing too with another unstoppable effort as full-time approached. Incredibly, it was his 20th goal of the season.

•Galway United Friends Co-op is running a bus to Saturday's first division match against Longford Town, departing The Connacht Hotel, Galway at 4.30pm and picking up en route route via Athlone. To book a seat contact Stephen Connolly at (085 ) 2206645


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