Galway Utd host Shamrock Rovers looking to improve poor record against the Hoops

Getting back to the top-flight was all about returning to games with the biggest clubs in the land for Galway United, and none come bigger than Shamrock Rovers, who visit Eamonn Deacy Park this Friday (7.45pm).

Yes, you can have your Connacht derby with Sligo Rovers; or a more local rivalry with Athlone Town or, thanks to the new motorway, Treaty United (or whatever iteration the club in Limerick is going by); but there is no bigger game in Irish football than Rovers – and no matter how hard our friends up in the north-west might protest, there really is only one Rovers.

The game on Friday night is deemed big enough that the RTÉ cameras are heading west to broadcast it live, though given United’s propensity for freezing on the big stage, that is not necessarily a blessing.

Think last season’s FAI Cup semi-final against Bohemians, or the opening game of this season against St Pat’s. Think the play-off final loss to Waterford two years ago and Longford Town four years ago. When the spotlight is switched on, United have a habit of switching off.

Yes, there was that FAI Cup quarter-final trimming of Dundalk last season, a woefully bad Dundalk that has carried that stink from 2023 into their new campaign. A team so bad, they can’t even win the race for first manager to be sacked – that ‘honour’ fell to Declan Devine of Bohemians this week.

They have lost three on the spin – including a 2-0 defeat at home to United – and sit bottom of the table, their only point this season coming from an opening night draw with Shamrock Roooo . . . . . wait a minute, there might be hope for Friday night after all!

Rovers might have won the last four league titles on the spin, but they have been slow starters in the last two seasons: they were seven games deep in the 2023 season before claiming their first win of the campaign, and they have been similarly tardy this year, with three draws and a defeat from their first four games.

“It is probably why people came into that changing room over the last 12 months, two years, three years, even further for some of them – to play the likes of Shamrock Rovers, and thankfully we have them [this Friday].

Pictured: Galway United’s David Hurley and Vincent Borden in action against Drogheda United last Friday. Photo: Joe O’Shaughnessy.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune:

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