By Scott Taylor
Neil Critchley’s Liverpool U18s suffered a 1-0 defeat away to Galway United in a pre-season friendly at Eamonn Deacy Park on Saturday afternoon. The young Reds were looking for their second win of the Ireland tour, after previously beating Cork City 2-0 last week. However, Padraic Cunningham’s 34th minute finish was enough as the U18s ended the tour with a narrow defeat.
After a sluggish start in the rain, the Reds’ real chance of the game came in the 17th minute, when Kane Lewis’ shot was well saved by Galway goalkeeper Ger Hanley. Chances were few and far between as the contest was predominantly a battle for possession in midfielder, meaning that Ben Woodburn and Herbie Kane were heavily involved.
The only real chance of the game came when Cunningham beat Reds goalkeeper Kelleher to give the League of Ireland side the lead. The hosts started off the second half just as they finished the first. Goalscorer Cunningham was played in by second-half substitute Ryan Connolly, but Owen Wheeler denied him his second with a superb one handed save. Despite this, the Reds attack couldn’t trouble both Galway goalkeepers in either half as the hosts hung on for the win in front over 2,182 fans in Ireland.
After the game, Liverpool manager Critchley said the tour was a major benefit for his squad and he will came away with plenty to learn from it. He told liverpoolfc.com: “We had some really good moments in the game but it just broke down in the final third but we will work on that and it’s all about learning for these young players. We have a lot of positives to take from our training camp in Ireland. I’ve been very impressed and pleased with the application and attitude of the lads.”
“We have had two fantastic games in Ireland and this tour has been very rewarding. There was another fantastic crowd for the boys to play in front of and Galway United were very welcoming.”
Liverpool First Half XI: Kelleher; Lewis, Owens, Johnston, Parker; Woodburn, Garton, Kane, Gomes; Adam Lewis, Nicholas
Liverpool Second Half XI: Wheeler; Coyle, Naeem, Masterson, Dobie; Simmonds, Watts (Longstaff 83’), Brewster (Dixon-Bonner 83’), Dhanda; Ahearne, Alexander-Arnold.
Galway XI: Hanley (Horgan 61’); Raftery (Walsh 66’), Oji (Garcia 73’), Ludden (Horgan 45’), Cantwell (Neugent 73’); O’Leary, O’Laoi (Melody 58’), Barry (McConnell 73’), Sinnott (Connolly 54’); Molloy (Shanahan 45’), Cunningham (Keegan 61’).