United end quest for opening win by taming Mayo League

Galway's Daryl Horgan who made an impressive debut for the Republic of Ireland as a second-half substitute in Tuesday night's international friendly against Iceland at The Aviva.
Galway's Daryl Horgan who made an impressive debut for the Republic of Ireland as a second-half substitute in Tuesday night's international friendly against Iceland at The Aviva.

THE bottom two in the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division meet in Eamonn Deacy Park this Friday night as Galway United host Sligo Rovers in the Connacht derby (7.45pm).

United go into the game on the back of a morale-boosting first win of the season thanks to a 2-0 win over Mayo League in the First Round of the EA Sports Cup on Monday night, but the result apart, United manager Shane Keegan said there was little else to enthuse about from that game.

“The first-half was awful, we said that in the dressing room at half time, it was so so sloppy. The second-half was a big improvement, but it wouldn’t have been too hard to make a big improvement on that first-half, and a massive improvement is needed again for Friday night,” Keegan said after the game.

United have made a poor start to the season, with just two points from their first five games. There is a case to be made that they deserved to get more points on the board, especially in the games with Drogheda United (a 1-0 defeat), Finn Harps (1-1 draw), and Shamrock Rovers (2-1 defeat), and after the Rovers game, Keegan said he’d take an ugly win to get momentum going.

He got just that on Monday night when a near full-strength United struggled to breakdown a well-drilled Mayo League side – it is a worry when your centre-back (Lee Grace) is your best player at home to a non-league side.

Still, it is a first-win of the season, and there was another first when Vinny Faherty broke his duck for the season – and end a run of just one goal in 18 appearances – with the insurance goal in the second minute of injury time at the end of the game.

“The two things we were struggling for were a team win, and a Vinny goal, and regardless of who the opposition was, or what the competition was, we’ve managed to achieve both.

“I’m not overly jumping for joy with the overall performance, but the two big things we needed, we got, which is a big help. I will take an ugly win, absolutely, particularly with Vinny hitting the back of the net,” he said.

Hitting the net is something United as team have struggled to do so far this season – three goals in five games means they have the worst scoring record, but they have a chance to address that this Friday as they welcome a side with the worst defensive record, with Sligo Rovers having conceded 16 goals in their six league games to date.

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