Five more points should see United retain Premier Division status

Gavan Holohan, who scored one goal and set-up another in Galway United's 3-1 win over Sligo Rovers on Friday night.
Gavan Holohan, who scored one goal and set-up another in Galway United's 3-1 win over Sligo Rovers on Friday night.

Galway United manager Shane Keegan has hailed the workrate of his side after they came from a goal down to win the Connacht derby on Friday night for just the second time in 18 meetings.

The win lifts United out of the relegation zone with just four games remaining, and while Shamrock Rovers did them no favours when losing 2-0 at home to another struggling side, St Patrick’s Athletic, on Monday night, United’s fate is now in their own hands.

“The lads are quite happy with themselves and are clapping each other on the back, but the most important thing is there is not a single player in that dressing room feels this job is anywhere near done. One bad game and you are probably back in the bottom 3,” Keegan said after the final whistle on Friday night.

“The most important things is that no-one gets carried away with themselves, and that people realise what got us out is that workrate, and if a single player drops that workrate, we’ll be back in the bottom 3 very quickly.

“That workrate has been there all season long, but when you are going through a bad run, people can question this and question that, but I challenge anyone to question the workrate of any of those players.

“It is tremendous, to see [Ronan] Murray chasing balls into the corner in injury time after the shift he put in, [Rory] Hale catches everybody’s eye in terms of the shift he puts in, and when you’ve got fellas like that stepping up, the rest have nowhere to hide, they have got to go and match that and it gives us a fighting chance in any game,” he said.

United have games home games against St Patrick’s Athletic and Dundalk, and away trips to Limerick and Bray Wanderers, to save their top-flight status, and a look at the fixtures for the sides in the relegation zone – along with their points, and goal difference – shows that back-to-back wins over Derry City and Sligo Rovers have edged United closer to safety (see table).

Drogheda United are good as relegated, and they will be joined by two of Limerick, St Patrick’s Athletic, United, Sligo Rovers, and Finn Harps in the First Division next season.

Just five points separate the five sides, with United in the middle of that pack on 32 points, but they have a vastly superior goal difference to the two sides below them (-4, as opposed to -15 for Sligo and -24 for Finn Harps), and that could be worth another point to Keegan’s side by the end of the campaign.

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