League of Ireland football makes a welcome return to Terryland Park in the next couple of days as both Galway and Mervue United face awkward assignments at the Dyke Road venue.
This evening Galway entertain Derry City (7.45pm ), while on Saturday Limerick FC are the visitors for a first division clash with Mervue.
Galway were a tad unfortunate not to take some sort of dividend from their trip to the Showgrounds last weekend as Sligo’s first-half efficiency proved decisive. There was much to admire in the sharp manner Galway passed and probed after the interval with Jay O’Shea parading his skill, but Sligo inflicted the damage early on to record a 2 - 0 victory.
There is no denying that Derry are formidable opponents too, and with Garry Breen and John Russell suspended following a harsh sending off, Ian Foster’s options are restricted.
Foster questioned some of referee Declan Hanney’s decisions which scarcely aided Galway’s cause in the northwest.
"I don't think we performed too badly in the first half. We made a mistake from one corner and got punished. Unfortunately the ball had gone out again from a second corner, and the referee made a ridiculous decision.
“You don't come back from two nil down. I am delighted with the performance of the players. I don't like losing, neither do my players, but I will pat them on the back when they play like that because they have given me everything they have got. They have come off the pitch having dominated a game they shouldn't have lost.
“He [referee] sent off a player for two honest tackles. If my player has to serve a suspension, then so should the referee - it was a disgusting decision. It was an absolute embarrassment because there was not a bad tackle in the game, and there had been several bookings and a sending off. It was a joke. The game in this country would be non contact if the referees had their way.”
With Breen and Russell out, and Alan Murphy, Sean Kelly, Shane Fitzgerald, and Paul Synott all a few weeks’ short of full fitness, Foster must cobble a team together.
Foster wants Galway’s youngsters to keep being energetic and enthusiastic despite the Sligo reversal.
"I have said to them not to be disillusioned. Yes be disappointed that we have lost the game, we all should be, and we all are, but we have lost it in the right manner. We have played worse than that and won games this season. If we play like that week-in week-out, we will get enough points on the board to keep us in the division.”
Supporters are being ask to don their GUFC jerseys tonight in a bid to try to increase the attendances for the rest of the season. Any Galway sporting flags, especially big ones, will be put up and taken down by volunteers if they are delivered to Terryland on Thursday.
Meanwhile GUST will be running a bus to the premier division match against Bohemians at Dalymount Park on Tuesday June 2, departing from Fibber Magees, Eyre Square at 3.30pm. To book a seat contact Ronan Coleman 087-6972823, or Conor Holland 087-2184132.
GUST will be holding a football table quiz upstairs in Fibber Magees, tonight, Thursday, May 28 after the premier division match against Derry City at Terryland Park (KO 7.45pm ). All questions will be about football, from the premiership to the World Cup, and from the Champions League to the League of Ireland. The entry fee is €40 per table of four.
This week’s Galway United Lotto draw will be held in Terryland Park at half-time at the Derry City match, for a jackpot of €5,000. Subscription forms are available at www.galwayunitedfc.ie, where supporters can play Galway United Lotto on-line. Subscription forms are also available from the Galway United office 091-767336.
Having encountered a raft of strenuous fixtures lately, Mervue face another demanding 90 minutes at Terryland on Saturday. Injuries and Mixie Harty’s wedding deprived Johnny Glynn of a full squad last Saturday at Lissywoolen, but Mervue were plucky enough to grab a 2-2 draw. Pat Scully is quietly overseeing a Limerick FC revival, and Glynn is expecting a tight and tense battle.
“Pat Scully has a reputation for building teams with a strong defence, and that certainly seems to be the case. I have spoken with both the UCD and Wexford Youths managers recently, and they confirmed that to me.
“We are very pleased with our own level of performance recently, and our displays are giving us huge encouragement. We were delighted really with how we played against Athlone Town last Saturday considering we were down a few bodies, and if we show that kind of desire and commitment we can do well.
“We have played all the teams above us in the last few weeks, and while we haven’t taken too many points we have been very competitive, but it is important that we approach this Limerick match in the exact same way.” Noel McDonnell, Ger McGrath, and Mixie Harty are ruled out, while Nigel Keady is expected to be back in action next week as the season enters a crucial stage.
FIA Cup draws
The draw for the FAI Ford Cup third round was made on Monday evening and sees Galway United away to Finn Harps, Mervue United at home to Dundalk, and Salthill Devon away to Tralee Dynamos. The third round fixtures will be played on the weekend of June 14.