Galway master UCD and secure Premier spot

Galway players celebrate at the end of the game. Picture: David Maher / SPORTSFILE

Airtricity League Promotion/relegation play-off
Galway FC 3 UCD 0 - Galway FC win 5-1 on aggregate

Galway FC completed a fairytale debut season in the SSE Airtricity League last night when securing promotion to the Premier Division at the first time of asking as they completed the job in style against UCD over two legs in the promotion/relegation play-off.

The home side took a 2-1 lead into the game from the first-leg in Belfield on Monday thanks to a dramatic finish which saw them score twice in the last minute. A Gary Shanahan strike on the stroke of half-time last night as good as ended the tie as a contest; and second-half goals from U19 international Ryan Manning and Alex Byrne completed the rout.

The win brought UCD’s five-year run in the top flight to an end and also saw Tommy Dunne win promotion for the second time in four years, having guided Cork City out of the First Division in the 2011 season.

Chances were at a premium in a tense first-half, but just as the sides looked like going in level at the break, the home side took the lead when Ryan Manning split the UCD defence with a through ball for Shanahan and he fired between the legs of advancing keeper Conor O’Donnell.

The home side put the game – and the tie – beyond doubt in the 72nd minute when O’Donnell denied Shanahan with a great save, but the ball fell for Manning and he took a touch before firing inside the near post. Byrne completed the rout when bagging his first goal of the season nine minutes from time as all fight had gone from the Students.

GALWAY FC (4-2-3-1): Gleeson; Horgan, Barrett, Walsh, Ludden; Byrne (Curran 84), Sinnott; Shanahan, Connolly, Manning (Molloy 87); Keegan (Faherty 84).

UCD (4-4-2): O’Donnell; Matthews, Douglas, Ryan, Langtry; Mulhall (Kavanagh 79), Benson, Creevy, Molloy; Belhout, Cannon (Burke 49).

Referee: Dave McKeown (Meath).


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