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Kirby's early strike sees Fingal cruise home to boost Euro hopes

This was a stroll at Morton Stadium for Sporting Fingal, as they continued their push for a Europa League spot while ending Galway's hopes of avoiding the relegation play-offs.

Fingal took charge immediately and within three minutes had bagged the opener, with Alan Kirby finishing a sweet move after Ger O'Brien had supplied Ronan Finn with an fine through ball.

The Tribesmen seemed resigned to their lowly fate after that early blow, and they put up little resistance eight minutes later when Colin Hawkins rose unmarked to crash home Conan Byrne's in-swinging corner.

Sean Connor seemed to rile his troops at the interval as they came out with something resembling a bit between their teeth, but a decent spell of possession gained no reward and Lorcan Fitzgerald ended all hope for the Tribesmen with a third for Fingal on 71 minutes.

Stephen Walsh's consolation goal five minutes from time was a minor reward on a night Galway United fans will want to forget.

Sporting Fingal -- Clarke, O'Brien, Hawkins, Browne, Fitzgerald (Cahill 84); Byrne, Finn, McFaul, Kirby; O'Neill, Crowe.

Galway United -- Geraghty, Preston-Kelly, Sinnott, McKenzie, Meynell; Molloy (King 54), Conneely, Curran, Walsh; O'Brien; Sheppard.

Ref -- D Hancock (Dublin).

UCD maintained their Premier Division status for next season despite falling to a 2-0 defeat at the hands of 10-man Dundalk at the Belfield Bowl last night.

Galway United's defeat at the hands of Sporting Fingal means that Martin Russell's side have secured their top-flight status with two games to spare.

Irish Independent