Geraghty’s goal sees SD Galway do the doubleAugust 14, 2012 - 8:23am
It was a dogfight and it wasn’t pretty but SD Galway once again got one over on their old rivals Mervue United at Deacy Park on Friday night.
Coming into the game with just one win all season (a 2-1 victory at Fahy’s Field), Tony Mannion’s men were hoping to give their neighbours another sucker punch and they applied just that, despite finishing the game with 10 men.
Goals in either half from Brian Gaffney and Brian Geraghty were just enough to edge it, as Nicky Curran became the latest on a long list of those who have been sent off in this fixture.
It began only as it could have, with both sides fighting valiantly to gain a foothold and force a precious lead. The hosts were draped in their change white strip and it was the visitors who wore maroon.
Mannion’s new signing Jakob Tomanica was the first to test Conor Gleeson with a stern drive but it failed to trouble the impressive youngster who has snatched the ‘keeper’s jersey off Ronan Forde.
Three minutes later the hosts attacked the Dyke Road end again and Ronan Conlon crossed towards Tomanica, but Noel Varley slid in to crucially intercept.
Midway through the half, a Conlon corner was flicked on by Geraghty to full-back Eugene Greaney who saw his drive sail inches over the bar. At this stage Mervue had found rhythm, illustrated by Marc Ludden’s long throw to Tom King, and as he raced up the right flank, his cross was too soon for the oncoming Stephen Walsh.
As the battle continued, SD Galway found the breakthrough two minutes before the interval. After launching a swift counter-attack, Mervue’s defence frantically scrambled to get back when Tomanica played Gaffney in – and the winger drove low through Gleeson’s legs at the near post.
The second half started in the same scrappy nature as the first, until 10 minutes in when United drew level. The ball was teed up for Gary Kelly 30 yards from goal and his belter was superbly palmed over by James Keane.
From the resulting corner whipped in by Jason Molloy, Varley flicked on to veteran centre-half Damien O’Rourke, who produced the most poetic of back-heels to square the contest.
In a mark of intent to go on and win the game, Johnny Glynn introduced Dan Cunningham – who recently returned to Fahy’s Field from Dundalk – and Cian McBrien, who had his fair share of League of Ireland experience at Galway United.
But within five minutes of the tactical double-change SD Galway hit the front again when Harty played Geraghty in, and he showed great composure under pressure to poke the ball into the top corner to Gleeson’s left.
Within a minute however the celebrations of the home support were tarnished when Nicky Curran got a second yellow against his old club for leaning in late on Varley. The game wasn’t nasty with five yellows overall, but this gave United a huge incentive.
Walsh was pushed up to aid Pat Hoban and Molloy, and almost won a penalty when he was tumbled in the box by Harty but the cries were waved away by Wexford referee Sean Grant.
Five minutes later Molloy finally found the space that eluded him all evening on the left side and he fed Hoban. The Loughrea youngster’s shot was deflected as far as Walsh at the back post who flung himself at it but it bounced awkwardly and wide.
The pressure continued but SD showed excellent composed defending to keep Mervue at bay. With four minutes left, Molloy whipped in a free-kick from the left which was headed goalwards by Cunningham, but an approaching Hoban failed to get a touch and again Mervue had to watch the ball bounce wide.
Mervue’s pressure became constant in the final minutes but late drama which occurs so often in this fixture was averted. As a result the gap has narrowed to four points between the teams at the foot of the first division table, with one more showdown to come at Fahy’s Field.