It might be a Bank Holiday weekend for the majority of people, but it will be a long weekend in a very different sense for Galway FC as they face in to two games in four days, starting with tonight’s visit of Waterford United in the SSE Airtricity League First Division (7.45pm).
Tommy Dunne’s squad will be looking to bounce back from the concession of an injury-time equaliser away to Longford Town last Saturday night, but regardless of tonight’s result, they won’t have too much time to dwell on it as they then host Finn Harps in Eamonn Deacy Park in the Second Round of the EA Sports Cup on Monday (5.30pm).
“It certainly won’t be a Bank Holiday for us – we train Thursday, play Friday, train Saturday and Sunday and play again on Sunday, so we’ll be fairly busy,” Dunne told City Sport yesterday.
With two games in a four-day period, it allows the manager to give the majority of his squad a run over the weekend, but Dunne says he certainly won’t be sacrificing the desire for two wins when sitting down to pick his two match-day XIs.
“We need to win against Waterford, we have to get the three points, and as for the Finn Harps game, we are at homer in the Cup with a quarter-final place at stake, so we certainly won’t be treating that lightly,” he said.
Reflecting on last Saturday’s draw with Longford Town, Dunne said the disappointment of conceding an equaliser two minutes into injury time at the end of the game was quickly shelved, as the focus has to be on the games ahead, rather than on those played.
“It was very disappointing but you get over it – that’s football. I just felt they [Longford] were there for the taking, the three points were there for the taking, but we didn’t take them. We have got to start picking up the three points when they are on offer.
“On a positive note, I feel we are improving all the time – you could see the difference last Saturday form the first game of the season when they beat us in Eamonn Deacy Park. I think we scored two goals, but the problem this time was at the other end.
“They were two terrible goals to give away, the ball bouncing around in the box and they just got a finish on it. That’s the difference – we had the ball bouncing around their box a couple of times, and in other games as well, but we just couldn’t get the finish,” Dunne said.
There is a concern that the number of dropped points, even at this early stage, will come back to haunt the side at the end of the season given how tight the league is – just four points separate Wexford Youths in second and Shamrock Rovers B in seventh – but Dunne takes a different view.
“There is that, but I look at it a different way – I think every team is capable of beating any team on a given day, which is why the league is so tight. Shelbourne were looking like running away with it, but then they were done in Wexford last weekend; and while we beat Wexford, I’m not so sure we deserved the three points.
For more, read this week’s 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.