MERVUE United will hope to get their First Division campaign back on track in Fahy’s Field tonight when they host league leaders Longford Town (7.45pm).
Johnny Glynn’s side slipped to third in the table last weekend when going down by the only goal of the game against Finn Harps and, in the process, fall six points behind tonight’s visitors, who they drew 1-1 with in Longford back in April.
That was a game the city side should have won comfortably, a bluntness in front of goal costing them a deserved three points, but they have never enjoyed much luck at the Strokestown Road venue, that game being their eighth visit to the ground, none of which has seen them record a win.
They have made their best-ever start to the League of Ireland this season, with last weekend’s reversal at the hands of Finn Harps being just their second defeat of the season, and they are unbeaten in five home games in the current campaign.
Mervue go into tonight’s game on the back of two defeats – they followed up that loss to Finn Harps with a 4-0 loss at the hands of Sligo Rovers in the EA Sports League Cup in the Showgrounds on Monday night.
That reversal needs to be put into perspective, as the hosts fielded an almost full-strength side, while Glynn was without six of the players who started the game against Harps. That meant it was always a tall order for Mervue, and it was made more difficult when they were reduced to ten men after just 18 minutes, Barry O’Mahony receiving a straight red card for handball on the line, and as a result he is suspended for tonight’s game.
Salthill Devon go into their game away to Cobh Ramblers tomorrow night also on the back of two defeats, but in very different circumstances. Athlone Town scored a last minute winner to take all three points in the league in Drom on Friday night; while Devon were knocked out of the EA Sports League Cup by St Patrick’s Athletic on Monday night, but only thanks to two late goals in extra time.
Devon took the lead in the 51st minute through Enda Curran, only to be pegged back nine minutes later through a Cian Fadden own goal. They took the lead again four minutes before the end of the first period of extra-time through Brian Geraghty, but Pat’s equalised for a second time five minutes from time, and hit the winner with two minutes remaining.
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.