Controversial red-card proves turning point, but Galway FC still forge draw

A plucky performance earned Galway FC a point at Ballybofey on Saturday, but Tommy Dunne's side will be intent on taking the full complement of SSE Airtricity League first division spoils when Cobh Ramblers visit Eamonn Deacy Park tomorrow evening.

Despite the hugely controversial decision to red card Derek O'Brien following an innocuous 26th minute incident, Galway FC still shaded the game against table-toppers Finn Harps. Vinny Faherty's splendid goal was cancelled by an opportunistic second-half strike from Harps' substitute Paul McVeigh.

Dunne felt Galway FC were unfortunate not to secure a victory in the northwest. “When you consider that we went down to 10 men so early, it was a good result in a way,” Dunne reflected. “But when we took the lead through a wonderful goal from Vinny Faherty, we then looked comfortable enough and didn’t look like we were going to get opened up.

“ We are getting nearer to where we want to be. It is a difficult venue to come to, especially considering Finn Harps were the form team in the division. It is a pleasing outcome in a sense, but overall we are a bit disappointed not to take the three points.”

Inevitably most of the discussion following the Harps tussle surrounded O'Brien's dismissal and Dunne was disappointed with the match officials’ reaction. “It wasn’t for dissent towards the referee, it was for foul and abusive language with another player,” Dunne explained. “From when I was playing right through to now I can remember players being called this, that and the other by other players. If you start brandishing cards for that, it is bad.

“The referee was going to yellow card Derek for the initial foul, that is fair enough if that is how he viewed it, butI’ll be straight, if you are to do that for every incident there will be nobody left on the pitch,” Dunne said.

Though Galway FC played more 64 plus minutes with only 10 men, Dunne was satisfied with how his team adapted.

“For the first 26 minutes I thought we were the better side before the sending off and we were a real threat. We still copedOK after too. If it had stayed 11 v 11 we might have been able to keep an extra man up front – who knows what would have happened?”

Dunne, though, accepts his squad will have to embrace a different type of pressure when Cobh arrive Corribside under the Friday night lights at the Dyke Road venue. “Now we have a different challenge against Cobh. In Ballybofey it was tough, the pitch wasn’t great, the underfoot conditions were soft. It will be a completely different game because when you play Cobh some people will expect us to dominate, but we know we will have to produce a good performance to get a result.”

Galway FC's first four matches at this level have featured a loss to promotion favourites Longford Town and three draws with Waterford United, Shamrock Rovers B, and Harps so a maroon victory is craved. If the desire that was demonstrated in Donegal is replicated, a Galwegian triumph should be posted.

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