Strabane were second best in relegation clash
Páirc Mhic Sioghair, Ballycolman was basked in resplendent sunshine on Sunday afternoon for the big relegation battle featuring the home side Strabane and Galbally.
Both sides went into this clash knowing that a win was vital in their battle for survival at the top level and it was the visitors who left with both points intact in what was a fully deserved win for the Pearses.
The strong wind that prevailed made it a proverbial game of two halves with the visitors making excellent use of the elements during the first half. That said, Strabane created two glorious goal chances in the opening minutes of the contest but both were spurned with Michael Etherson and John McLaughlin both denied.
The experienced Paul Rafferty opened the scoring in the second minute of the game for Galbally with Sean Murphy denied an early goal for the visitors with James O’Reilly making a fine stop.
The visitors hit the next four points in a blistering ten minutes spell with Daniel Kerr firing over a brace with Sean Murphy and Paul Rafferty all on target. With 17 minutes elapsed the visitors won a penalty when Liam Rafferty was upended and Sean Murphy calmly planted the ball in the Strabane net.
It took Strabane until the 18th minute of the game before they opened their account with the experienced John McLaughlin firing over from a close range free kick. The sides then traded a brace of points with Sean Murphy from a free kick and Mark Donnelly from play for Galbally and Dylan Arnold and Haydn McNamee getting the Strabane scores.
With the interval looming, Galbally stretched their lead to nine points with Mark Donnelly and Sean Murphy firing over fine points from play with John McLaughlin with a point from a free kick for Strabane leaving eight points separating the sides at the break.
Strabane made a few changes at half-time with Marc Devine and Mickey Logue entering the fray and it was the latter who got the opening score of the second half. Galbally were in a determined mood and weren’t for lying down as they continually pressurised the Strabane defence.
They won a penalty with about five minutes played and Sean Murphy stepped up to do as he had done in the first half but he blasted the spot kick wide much to the relief of the home side.
Galbally seized the initiative and even against the strong breeze looked the more comfortable side as Strabane were clearly struggling to find scores with a litany of scoring opportunities spurned. Conor Donaghey entered the field of play as a Galbally substitute and with his first touch of the game hit a fine point.
This was quickly followed up by points from the boots of Daniel Kerr and Enda McGarrity as Galbally threatened to run amok.
Strabane rallied in the closing ten minutes and scored a goal from a penalty via John McLaughlin but try as they did all they could muster in the closing stages was a further point from play via Sean Doherty.
Galbally held firm for what was a big win in the relegation battle as they moved a point ahead of Strabane in the league with just three games remaining to be played.