Keegan’s charges need a result in away league encounter with Derry City

Galway United's Kevin Devaney and Derek Pender of Bohemians follow the flight of the ball during the clubs' Premier Division clash at Eamonn Deacy Park on Friday night. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy.
Galway United's Kevin Devaney and Derek Pender of Bohemians follow the flight of the ball during the clubs' Premier Division clash at Eamonn Deacy Park on Friday night. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

It is difficult to decide whether or not the upcoming mid-season break is coming at a good time for a Galway United side that is ending a hectic run of nine games in five weeks with something of a whimper, having opened that run with a bang.

Shane Keegan’s side head to Buncrana this Friday night to take on Derry City at their temporary home of Maginn Park (7.45pm), while the Brandywell undergoes major reconstruction, needing to get some kind of positive result to avoid heading into the mini-break on a real downer.

United opened this congested batch of games with a shock 2-1 home win over Dundalk on April 28, and followed that up three days later by booking their place in the semi-finals of the EA Sports Cup thanks to a penalty shoot-out win away to Sligo Rovers.

They followed that with consecutive draws against Drogheda United, Derry City, and Cork City – becoming the first, and so far only, side to take any points off the champions-elect – before an injury-time win over Finn Harps left a real feel-good mood around the club, despite its struggles at the foot of the table.

However, United’s seven-game unbeaten run in the league was brought to an end by Shamrock Rovers last Monday week, and there was a further blow to the team’s top-flight survival hopes when another poor display saw them lose to fellow strugglers, Bohemians, last Friday.

“The game against Derry is massive as we don’t want to go into the break on the back of three consecutive defeats,” Keegan told Tribune Sport this week.

“That is why I am so annoyed about the Bohs game – we have now put ourselves in a horrible position of going to Derry knowing if we are beaten, it will be three defeats on the bounce.

“Back a few weeks ago, when looking at the games coming up, I wanted us to go into the break out of the relegation zone and, at worst, to be within a win of climbing out of those places. This weekend, most of the other teams around us play each other [Bohs host Drogheda, and Sligo Rovers are at home to Finn Harps], so some of those sides are going to pick up points, which means we have to take at least a point from Derry,” he said.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.