GALWAY Women’s FC make their bow in the Bus Éireann National Women’s League in Eamonn Deacy Park on Sunday when they welcome Wexford Youths to the Dyke Road venue (2pm).
The side’s preparations for its national debut have been less than smooth, with more than half a dozen players unable to register with the new club due to their involvement in national cup competitions with two local clubs; while there has been some resentment at a local level over the fact the Galway FA pulled the plug on the local Ladies Premier Division before the season ended.
In fairness to both the Galway FA and Galway WFC, that decision was taken by the football authority to try and assist Galway WFC to put a squad together for its debut season, as dual registration is not allowed by the FAI.
Without the decision to wrap-up the local league, Nigel Keady and his management team would have found it extremely difficult to put together a squad for Sunday’s opening national league encounter, but whatever the intentions behind that decision, it has possibly diluted at least some of the goodwill towards the Galway WFC.
That said, Keady and his squad will put all that behind them when they take to the pitch on Sunday against a side that is showing how serious it is taking the challenge by travelling up to Galway 24 hours in advance of the game.
“Obviously we are looking to make a positive start to the campaign, but at the same time we know that patience will be required as it is a new squad with a lot of young players,” said Galway WFC official Padraic de Burca.
“We have seven or eight players who won’t be involved on Sunday as they are still involved with Colga in the Intermediate Cup, and Corrib Rangers in the Junior Cup, but we are happy that we have a strong squad, there is a nice blend of youth and experience there, and hopefully a big crowd will turn up and that will inspire the players,” de Burca said.
While the majority of the squad are from Galway, Keady has managed to attract four players from the recently-crowned Galway Premier Division champions, Bealnamulla from Athlone, including Sinead Taylor, a nippy striker in her 20s who ran away with the top-scorer award in the Premier Division this season.
The squad will be captained by Ruth Fahy, who has returned from Australia, where she played with South Melbourne, while the likes of Grainne Barrett and Susie Cunningham will also bring some experience to the squad.
“The players have shown great commitment, some of them travelling long distances for training – we have players from Athlone, Tullamore and Ennis in the squad.
“Obviously, when we have a full-strength squad to choose from, we’ll be in an even stronger position, but we have to remember this is the club’s first season the national league, and it will take time to adjust to playing at that higher level,” de Burca said.
Gates open at 1pm, and admission is €5 for adults, with accompanied children admitted free of charge. Season tickets, which cost €50, will also be available on the day.
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.