Galway go top after comfortable win over Athlone

John Caulfield's outfit climbed to the top of the SSE Airtricity League First Division table ahead of next Friday's critical contest against Cork City
Galway go top after comfortable win over Athlone

In form: Alex Murphy grabbed Galway United's opener just before the hour against Athlone Town. Pic: Michael P Ryan/Sportsfile

Galway United 3 Athlone Town 0 

Galway United delivered a dynamic second half display to earn a record-equalling seventh league win on the spin at Eamonn Deacy Park.

Goals from teenager Alex Murphy, David Hurley, and substitute Ronan Manning ensured John Caulfield's outfit climbed to the top of the SSE Airtricity League First Division table ahead of next Friday's critical contest against Cork City.

It has been a demanding campaign for Athlone, who produced a gutsy opening period display to frustrate the locals.

Athlone had a couple of opportunities too with industrious midfielder Aaron Connolly releasing Gary Armstrong in the fourth minute.

Armstrong's effort was saved by United custodian Conor Kearns as the Tribesmen survived a scare.

In the 37th minute a deflected effort from Success Edogun was deflected out for a corner.

On the stroke of half-time Max Hemmings and Ed McCarthy fashioned an opportunity, but Killian Brouder was unable to provide the finish.

Two minutes after the restart Wilson Waweru crashed a shot off the crossbar, but United eventually scored.

Hurley's sharp 53rd minute free kick was headed home by Murphy, who continues to be linked with a move to Newcastle United.

In the 80th minute Carlton Ubaezuonu fouled Walsh in the area with Hurley expertly converting the resultant penalty for his fifth goal of the season.

United decorated the victory in the 90th minute as McCormack's clever free kick found Manning, who rifled a neat goal from outside the area.

Galway United: Kearns; Hemmings, Portilla, Brouder, Murphy (Lyons, 90); Waweru (Dimas, 85), McCormack, Hurley (O'Keeffe, 90), McCarthy (Lomboto, 85); Boylan (Manning, 74); Walsh.

Athlone Town: Smith; Duffy (Irhue, 87), Van Geenan, McBride (Kelly, 25), Ubaezuonu; Oluwa, Connolly, Curtin, Armstrong (Habing, 70); Barnes (McCarrick, 70); Edogun (Nkansah, 87).

Referee: Gavin Colfer.

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