Galway United seeking first victory over Dundalk at Oriel Park in two decades


From this week's Galway City Tribune

From this week's Galway City Tribune

Galway United seeking first victory over Dundalk at Oriel Park in two decades Galway United seeking first victory over Dundalk at Oriel Park in two decades

GALWAY Unted will look to end a 20-year wait for a win at Oriel Park when they head to the decrepit Louth venue this Friday (7.45pm) to take on a side who will still be smarting from their FAI Cup humiliation at the hands of the Tribesmen last season.

For a club with a string of rotten records, United’s record in Oriel Park is the most rotten of all: just three wins in 40 visits, the most recent being back in April 2004 when goals from Colin Fortune, Dave Goldbey, and John Russell sealed a 3-1 win.

There was also a 3-0 win ‘away’ to Dundalk the following season, but that victory came in Gortakeegan, the home ground of then league side, Monaghan United, as the grass pitch at Oriel Park was being replaced with an astro-turf surface at the time.

The entire venue needs replacing at this stage: the ramshackle nature of the venue was summed-up in preseason when new owner, Brian Ainscough, visited the ground for the first time and his appointed seat in the stand snapped as he went to sit down.

It was a metaphor that looked like being applicable to the team as well: the most recent side to win the Premier Division title (2019) other than Shamrock Rovers, Dundalk finished fifth and outside the European places last season, and were hockeyed 4-0 by United in their FAI Cup quarter-final clash in Eamonn Deacy Park in September.

It looked to be another nail in the coffin of the managerial career of Galway City native, Stephen O’Donnell; and when the club’s all-time leading scorers, another Galwegian – Loughrea’s own Pat Hoban – left to join Derry City in the off-season, O’Donnell looked to be on borrowed time.

But just like when Mark Twain confirmed to a writer from the New York Journal that reports of his death were an exaggeration, O’Donnell’s apparent demise as Dundalk manager has also apparently been prematurely declared, with the former Galway United captain still very much in charge of a side that opened their campaign with a 1-1 draw away to a Shamrock Rovers outfit chasing a fifth title on the spin.

“Dundalk got a great result [on Friday], we know it is going to be difficult up in Oriel Park, but it is great to be in it, it is great to be talking about Dundalk in Oriel Park and Pats in Terryland than where we were for the last six years,” said Galway United assistant manager, Ollie Horgan.

Pictured: Galway United’s Regan Donelon launching an attack against Carl Axel Sjoberg of St Patrick’s Athletic during Friday’s Premier Division tie at Eamonn Deasy Park. Photo: Joe O’Shaughnessy.

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