MERVUE United are entering the ‘last chance saloon’ tomorrow afternoon in their bid to make the First Division promotion play-off spots when they host Waterford United in Fahy’s Field (4.30pm), as the season enters the final stretch of five games.
Johnny Glynn’s side are currently just four points outside third place, but defeat tomorrow afternoon – coupled with a win for Longford Town at home to Finn Harps – will as good as end Mervue’s hopes of being involved in the business end of the season.
If they do fail to make the top three, it shouldn’t take away from what is looking like being the club’s best seasons in their five years in the league. They have a win rate of close to 40%, and have already matched their best finish of 34 points, which was achieved in the 2011 season in 30 games, seven more than they have played in this campaign; while they are also on track for their highest-ever finish.
While Waterford sit in second in the table after putting together a run of five wins and two draws in their last seven games, Mervue seem to have the Indian sign over the south-east club, taking seven points from the three meetings between the sides this season.
Mervue’s win over Salthill Devon last weekend ended a three-game run without a victory, but they will go into tomorrow’s game confident they can close the gap on the top three, especially with Longford in freefall of late, the early pace-setters taking just five points from their last seven games.
“They are on a great run at the moment and we will have to be at our very best to get something from the game but the lads are looking forward to the game. We have a good record against them this season but it will be another tough challenge for us,” Glynn said.
Glynn will be without defender Stephen Walsh (back) for the tie but other than that will have a full squad to choose from with both Gary Curran and Gary Kelly back in full training after recent injuries.
As for Devon, they look almost certain to finish bottom of the table for a fourth consecutive season, with a nine point gap to make up on Cobh Ramblers in the next five games if they are to avoid extending their own unwanted record for consecutive last-place finishes, having set a new low last season with three-on-the-trot.
For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.
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.