The SSE Airtricity League first division has reached a critical stage so tomorrow's Eamonn Deacy Park encounter carries huge significance for Galway FC, who host Shamrock Rovers B at the Dyke Road venue.
Having only taken one point from their two fixtures since the mid season break, Galway need a positive result against the Hoops, who have drawn twice with the Tribesmen in 2014.
Rovers, managed by Galwegian Colin Hawkins, fielded a particularly strong XI, featuring the maximum allocated four first-team squad members when hosting Tommy Dunne's side at Tallaght on May 11.
Sean O'Connor, one of those involved with Trevor Croly's premier division outfit, stroked the Hoops ahead, but Galway, who finished with 10 men that afternoon, equalised courtesy of a fine Jake Keegan effort. Draws have been a feature of Galway's campaign and last Friday's stalemate with Waterford United was the latest setback.
Galway ruled vast chunks of that particular tussle and when Martin Conneely headed home a Jason Molloy corner, an away victory seemed a distinct possibility at the RSC. Late on, though, Kevin O'Connor rescued a point for Waterford, who had Paddy Barrett sent off leaving Galway to reflect on what might have been.
Assistant manager Leo Tierney felt Galway should have taken the full complement of spoils.
“It’s hugely disappointing, we did more than enough to win the game,” said Tierney. “We created some very good chances. Unfortunately we didn’t take them and sometimes if you don’t take your chances, it can come back to get you.
“I thought at times we played well and created chances. Their keeper made a couple of good saves. We looked solid. I thought we looked safe enough in the second half. I didn’t think they were threatening us and then the sending-off happens for them and you think you can go and push on and win it.
“But you need to get a second goal in a game like that when you’re away from home and they’re battling for everything as well, so you have to give them credit, it just didn’t happen for us.”
It was a cruel conclusion for Galway as the visitors had bossed the majority of the contest, but worryingly weren't sufficiently clinical. “The lead up to their goal was a split-second decision,” Tierney said. “The ball fell to O’Connor, he got the break of the ball and in fairness to him, it’s a very good finish.
“From our side, we’re disappointed, really disappointed, but we played some good football, came back well from last week’s game and we were really pleased with that, but three points would have been lovely.”
Despite leaving another two points behind them in Waterford Tierney is adamant Galway can maintain their promotion push.
“It’s always difficult to go down to Waterford - they are a good side, they’ve shown that. They’re right behind us in the table. It was a very frustrating night for us, but it’s a long season. We still have a lot of games to play and there will be twists and turns between here and the end of the season.”