Another Pat’s scalp would help avoid relegation scrap

Since returning to the top flight Galway United have enjoyed many productive outings against St Patrick’s Athletic and tomorrow’s Terryland Park clash provides the locals with an opportunity to record a fifth straight win over the Dubliners.

It is a staggering statistic as Galway have delivered four successes on the trot over the Saints, who were dumped out of the FAI Cup by Waterford United on Tuesday at Richmond Park.

A weak Pat’s display incensed Inchicore regulars, thus ensuring the Galway game carries added significance for under-pressure boss Jeff Kenna.

Ian Foster has guided Galway to three wins over his pal Kenna, earning nine valuable points, and three more would leave the Tribesmen in a healthy position.

Galway are not aided in their quest to complete a cleansweep of triumphs over Pat’s by the unavailability of so many footballers. Dave Cooke, Cian McBrien, Sean Kelly, and Jason Molloy are all banned as Foster will be forced into a reshuffle, particularly in midfield where options are severely restricted.

Shane Fitzgerald and Derek O’Brien may patrol the flanks, while John Russell is expected to be partnered by Alan Murphy in the centre of the park.

Perhaps the most positive sight for Galway recently has been the polished promptings of Murphy, who has bagged two goals in the games against Derry City and Cork City. Russell remains a crucial contributor too, always keen to pass and probe in attacking areas so Galway certainly have the skill to irk Pat’s again.

Galway’s defence, such a solid unit in the early stages of the campaign, have endured some difficulty, and will be especially eager to recapture such dash. Seamus Conneely, Shane Guthrie, Garry Breen, and Iarfhlaith Davoren have restricted Pat’s before, and will be anxious to frustrate the visitors.

Russell’s enthusiasm in the centre should pose questions of Pat’s, who will probably be faced by a Galway attacking duo of Vinny Faherty and youngster Aaron Greene. Faherty’s willingness to graft, and Greene’s pace mean Galway enter the first match of the last series of fixtures armed with hope and a little expectation.

With Pat’s ailing, Galway can deliver an important result as they seek to avoid a dramatic relegation scrap in the closing weeks of the season.

•Galway United Supporters’ Trust will be running a bus to next week’s premier division match against Dundalk at Oriel Park departing from Fibber Magees, Eyre Square, at 2.30pm. Contact Ronan 087-6972823.

Mervue United

Despite a performance that was sufficiently spirited, a late Marc Brolly goal meant Mervue United did not take any tangible reward from last Friday’s encounter with Finn Harps.

A wretched run of defeats was ended by a draw with Wexford Youths, and since then Mervue have been competitive.

Harps are an improving outfit as their youngsters continue to acquire experience, and Mervue were unfortunate not to divide the spoils. Still all year Johnny Glynn has insisted that Mervue’s debut campaign at this level is about absorbing the lessons such losses bring, and they will hope to make a positive statement at Gortakeegan tomorrow.

Monaghan United were surprisingly thumped by UCD last weekend so they will be a team on a mission too, but Mervue have emerged as victors from Century Homes Park already so they have every reason to make the long trek north encouraged.

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