United aim to improve on dismal run against champions


From this week's Galway City Tribune

From this week's Galway City Tribune

United aim to improve on dismal run against champions United aim to improve on dismal run against champions

ANY time it has been put to Ollie Horgan this season that Galway United’s game against so-and-so will be a tough test, he always gives the same reply: United have been out of the Premier Division for seven years, and it is great to be playing these kind of games.

It was the attitude towards the trip to Oriel Park and to Tolka Park, to the Brandywell and to the Showgrounds, and it was the same upbeat attitude taken by United’s assistant manager towards tonight’s  trip to the Tallaght Stadium to take on Shamrock Rovers (8pm).

Whether or not it turns out to be an enjoyable trip remains to be seen: the reigning champions, who are going for a fifth consecutive title, have made a habit of sluggish starts in the past couple of years, but they look to be hitting their straps right now and a trip to Tallaght is the most daunting in the league.

United traded largely on parity when the sides met in Eamonn Deacy Park back in mid-March only for Johnny Kenny to come off the bench and score the only goal of the game five minutes from time to snatch the three points for the visitors.

That made it a scarcely believable 18 consecutive defeats against the Hoops in the league, and 21 in total when you include the FAI Cup,  and it is nearly 30 years since a United side last won away to Shams, a 2-1 win in the RDS back in October 1994.

“It is great to be going to Tallaght, it is a tough tough place to go, John [Caulfield] has been there with Cork many a time, I have been there many times with Finn Harps and if you are not right, it is a very hard place,” Horgan said after Monday night’s scoreless draw away to Sligo Rovers.

That was United’s third consecutive clean sheet, only the sixth time United have kept three consecutive clean sheets in the Premier Division since the introduction of two divisions for the 1985/86 season.

The most recent of those runs was the 2000/01 season, and it included a scorless draw away to Shamrock Rovers. No United side has ever kept four consecutive clean sheets in the top-flight, and there could not be a more daunting place to try and hit that mark than the Tallaght Stadium.

Pictured: Galway United’s Ed McCarthy celebrates his goal with Aodh Dervin and Stephen Walsh in Friday night’s Premier Division victory over Shelbourne at Eamonn Deacy Park. Photo: Joe O’Shaughnessy.

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