New Galway FC manager Tommy Dunne is well on his way to putting a squad together for the 2014 season – and says he is looking to put a bit of the ‘divil’ back in football in Eamonn Deacy Park.
Speaking at the launch of the new club on Monday night, the Dublin native (41) said he always enjoyed his trips as a player to what was then known as Terryland Park during a playing career that features stints with Home Farm, Dundalk, Shelbourne, Derry City, Shamrock Rovers and Kildare County, but says some visits were memorable for all the wrong reasons.
“It is a fantastic ground, I would have played there in years gone by, and it is a wonderful surface. I got a few hard knocks in my time from the likes of Mark Herrick,” he joked, “and I am hoping to get that back, to get that bit of ‘divil’ in the team.”
Dunne confirmed he had drawn up a list of about 30 players who he wanted to speak to, and by Monday had already met with about half of that group.
“I am looking to put a big group together – obviously that will be whittled down for a league squad, but I wanted to speak to each player and get a feel for them and just see where players stand,” he explained.
He has made his first appointment to his backroom team, bringing in Sports Science Fitness expert Adrian Craddock, but he said he is in no rush to appoint an assistant manager, and may actually decide to steer clear of such an appointment.
“For me, the important thing is the coaching aspect, that is the priority. I haven’t decided on whether I will bring in an assistant, I might be more inclined to bring in a coach or two to work with the players, as that might be more beneficial to the squad,” he explained.
Dunne took over as Cork City manager in 2010, and led the club to sixth in the First Division in his first season in charge, before taking the First Division title the following season by a single point from Shelbourne, but he is warning against expectations of such a meteoric jump to the Premier Division with Galway FC.
“It will be very, very tough. We are starting from scratch, and will be in a very competitive First Division. There will be tough days ahead, make no mistake about that, and we will have to work extremely hard. We are already behind the other teams in terms of training, so we have a lot to do,” he said.
He said that, with the new club – and the sponsorship deal that the Comer Group has committed to for the next three seasons – expectations are high, but he said that while the excitement was understandable, people had to be realistic about the season ahead.
“To be honest, Mervue and Salthill didn’t have that big expectation attached to them, though Mervue did very well in the 2013 season. Now, that expectation is there, we will have to cope and deal with it, but people have to be realistic.
“Momentum is hugely important in this game, and if you can get off to a positive start, and get a good run going, that’s half the battle – look what Mervue achieved this season, they got some momentum, went on a great run and made it to the First Division play-off. That is what momentum can do for you,” he said.
He also urged the people of Galway to get behind the new side, saying the supporters would be crucial to the success of Galway FC in the coming season, both on and off the pitch.
“There are some very passionate people involved with Galway FC, and there was always a great support for Galway United. We will try to prepare properly and be right and ready for the start of the season, and hopefully the fans will get behind us,” he said.
For more on this story, check out today’s copy of the Galway City Tribune.
Galway United’s chance to close gap on table-toppers Shels
Friday the 13th – unlucky for some – and Galway United will be hoping it is an unlucky night for runaway leaders Shelbourne on Friday evening. Shels, who are currently 10 points clear of second place United, are still unbeaten in this year’s First Division with 12 wins and six draws to their name.
The Tribesmen go into this week’s pivotal fixture after a disappointing 3-2 defeat against Cork City last Friday at Eamonn Deacy Park. The game had a ‘hit-and-run’ feel to it as Colin Healy’s side snatched all three points with ten minutes to go which ended United’s seven-game unbeaten league run.
BY TOM BYRNE
Even so, United replaced Treaty United in second place on goal difference after the Limerick outfit were defeated 4-1 by Cabinteely at the Markets Field.
Shelbourne have been the team to beat this season as they look odds-on to win this season’s First Division with nine games to go. Ian Morris’ side were hampered by a number of Covid cases in their squad for last week’s game against UCD, where they drew 0-0 at the UCD Bowl. It is expected that they will have players returning for their crucial clash against United at Terryland.
The two clubs have faced each other on 75 occasions. Shelbourne being victorious the more often with 39 wins, United defeating the north-Dubliners 17 times and 19 games ending in stalemate. United have hit the Shels net 86 times while the 2019 First Division winners have scored on 132 occasions against United.
The two teams played out a 0-0 draw at Eamonn Deacy Park in the first game this season, while Shelbourne had the upper hand in the reverse fixture when they overcame United 4-0 at Tolka Park in May.
Goal friendly Shels have struck 36 goals in 18 games so far this campaign, with former Shamrock Rovers man Ryan Brennan bagging ten of those. United will look to Wilson Waweru and Ruairi Keating for their main source of goals, with the latter hitting the net on seven occasions this season. Waweru brought his goal tally to six last week when he scored United’s first equalising goal against Cork City.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the soccer preview, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.
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.