SALTHILL DEVON and Mervue United and will look to finish the third series of First Division Airtricity games on a high when they face Wexford Youths and Finn Harps respectively this evening (Friday).
Mervue United had a disappointing trip to Cobh Ramblers last weekend when they were defeated 3-2 after Martin Deady scored a dramatic injury-time winner for the home side.
When Mervue and Wexford met in the opening series of games, Mervue comprehensively won the home fixture on a 4-1 scoreline. However, in the return fixture in June, Youths reversed that result with a 2-0 win at Ferrycarrig Park.
On this occasion, Mervue will be without offensive duo Ryan Manning and Jason Molloy, both of whom are suspended, and that may necessitate a rethink on the way Johnny Glynn and his side approach this game.
“We are missing Jason and Ryan and, obviously, they are two big losses. They are our two leading goalscorers. But, you know, we have lads there sitting on the bench who have been waiting for a chance to get in so some of those will get that opportunity this weekend.”
One of those who should come back into the reckoning is Gary Curran, who missed the Cobh game with a calf injury, but Gary Kelly (groin) is still doubtful while Michael McSweeney, on the bench against Cobh after returning from injury, has emigrated.
McSweeney, who has taken up a teaching post on the Continent, is the second player to have emigrated from the squad after Mike Elwood left for New York earlier this season.
Salthill Devon, meanhile, will travel to Ballybofey to face Finn Harps this evening (8pm). Like Mervue, they too enter this weekend’s fixture on the back of a defeat after they lost 4-1 at home to Waterford United last Friday. Going into this one, Salthill will be encouraged by having won their last league meeting, 2-1, against Harps at home, having lost the first meeting of the season to the same opposition 1-0.
Both sides have players missing through suspension, with Salthill Devon forced to field without Michael Harty and Finn Harps shorn of the services of Michael Doherty.
Lomboto’s late strike earns United share of the spoils
Galway United 2
Athlone Town 2
GALWAY United had to twice come from behind against basement side Athlone Town on Monday night to snatch a draw that was, on balance, probably a little harsh on the visiting side.
Completely outplayed in the opening 45 minutes, United had an absolute howler from visiting goalkeeper, Aaron Myles, to thank for going into the break on level terms; and then needed an equaliser five minutes from time to claim a draw against a side that came into the game having lost all four games they had played this season.
Alan Murphy’s side already find themselves nine points behind the league leaders just four games into the season, and a major improvement is needed if they are to finish in the top half of the table and inside the play-off spots.
Their central midfield was way off the mark on Monday night – both Maurice Nugent and Sam Warde were hauled ashore before the final whistle – and having abandoned the 4-4-2 formation which delivered some decent results near the end of last season, they are struggling to get quality ball into the opposition box.
With Shane Duggan expected to return to central midfield after suspension for this Saturday’s trip to Cobh Ramblers, it might be time to go with some out-and-out wingers and get some cohesion in the side.
The first couple of half chances on Monday fell to the home side, but Mikey Place didn’t get any power behind his second minute effort; while Marc Ludden was well off target subsequently.
The visitors, who had the opening half’s best player in their ranks in the guise of Galway native, Ronan Manning, went close a couple of times themselves in the ninth minute, United surviving thanks to Cian Murphy getting a block on Adam Lennon’s shot; while Kevin Horgan pulled off a ‘worldie’ to deny Joel Coustrain from the subsequent corner.
By that stage, the visitors were starting to get on top, and they took a deserved lead in the 22nd minute when Manning’s corner from the left was met by Taner Dogan at the back post to head home as the United marking was, not for the first time this season, shambolic at a set-piece.
Tempers were starting to fray a little, with both sides having two players finding their way into the notebook of Dublin referee, Oliver Moran, before United were gifted an equaliser in the 41st minute.
Full report in this week’s Connacht Tribune
Doyle bags hat-trick in Galway WFC romp
GALWAY WFC notched a second win in a row in the Women’s National League when they defeated Limerick 6-1 at the Markets Field on Sunday afternoon.
A McKenna Doyle hat trick and goals from Sadbh Doyle, Chloe Singleton and Aoife Thompson helped the Galway women to a resounding win. Five of the six goals for Galway were assisted by Lynsey McKey during what was a stellar performance by the experienced midfielder.
Galway WFC are back in action at Eamonn Deacy Park tomorrow (Saturday, kick off 3pm) when they welcome league leaders Peamount United.
See full match report in City Tribune Sport.
Cup offers United chance to boost morale
HAVING insisted all year that Galway United’s First Division campaign has been about developing their young talents, manager Alan Murphy has admitted this Sunday’s first round FAI Cup tie against Leinster Senior League side, Collinstown at Whitehall Stadium (2pm) is about winning.
United have not recorded a competitive victory since mid-May, when they came from behind to see off Longford Town 2-1 in a First Division fixture at Eamonn Deacy Park. That win came courtesy of two Vinny Faherty goals.
Since then, they have lost eight of their twelve outings, with their four draws coming against Cabinteely, Bray Wanderers, Athlone Town, and the First Division’s bottom team, Wexford Youths, who have won just two First Division fixtures this season.
However, this weekend’s Cup game against a non-League of Ireland outfit could provide a much-needed morale boosting victory for his charges.
“It would,” acknowledged Murphy. “Even to be in the next round of the FAI Cup would be huge; it would be huge for this group of inexperienced players that I have really. I mean, every game is a brilliant chance for these guys to get another little bit of experience, and to experience a different challenge, and this weekend will provide exactly that.
“I have said, week in, week out, this is a development year and these players need experience but this weekend is probably a little bit more about winning than it has been all season because of the fact you will be out of the competition if you don’t win,” he said.
Se full preview in City Tribune Sport.