First blood to Galway in final

 

GALWAY UNITED upstaged Premier Division side Cork City in the first leg of the National League Cup final at Terryland Park last night before a crowd of approximately 2,000 - a much-needed boost to the cash-starved First Division club.

The game produced plenty of excitement in the first half as both teams strove to gain a psychological boost before the second leg which is set for New Year's Day.

United took the lead after only three minutes when the recalled Billy Clery laid a sweet pass to Mark Herrick. Herrick, a son of former Republic of Ireland international John from Cork, was 20 yards from goal but delightfully chipped Cork goalkeeper Phil Harrington.

In the 11th minute Galway United had another great chance to score but Ronan Killeen failed to steer the ball on target.

Galway's second goal came after 15 minutes when Killeen intended to lay a pass on for the inrushing Fergal Coleman but the ball skimmed off Noel Mernagh's thigh into the path of Killeen who scored from 15 yards.

Cork City should have opened their account after 27 minutes when Brian Walsh sent in a probing ball which was dropped by Galway United goalkeeper Gabby Higgins, who was in the side for the injured Eddie Van Boxtel. It fell into the path of Patsy Freyne who didn't get a proper connection and pushed the ball wide.

But Cork City reduced the home side's lead four minutes before the interval when Ollie Cahill found team-mate John Caulfield on the six-yard area. His first effort struck the right-hand post but he was awake to the rebound and pushed it home.

Galway United increased their lead on the hour when they availed of a poor clearance by Noel Hartigan - who had also been at fault for the first goal - and John Brennan was on hand to chip home from six yards as he caught Phil Harrington off his line.