As the Airtricity League first division season heads towards an interesting conclusion, Galway FC face a tricky task on Sunday afternoon at Tallaght Stadium against Shamrock Rovers B.
In recent weeks the Hoops, under the stewardship of Galway native Colin Hawkins, have shown signs of improvement so the promotion chasing visitors will certainly be forewarned.
Despite not playing to their full potential, Galway still eked out a vital victory over Waterford United on Friday. Twenty-four hours later Wexford Youths only managed a draw at St Colman's Park as a fiery Cobh Ramblers display caused them problems.
Ultimately it means Galway are completely aware that another win over Rovers would leave them in a commanding position in the search for a play-off berth. Though Galway did not play particularly well when defeating Waterford, there still was a solid cut to Tommy Dunne's team.
“We were happy to get the three points,” Dunne admitted. “We probably didn’t play to our potential. I didn’t think we were quick enough or slick enough in the game so we’ll have to look at that.”
When a major scare arrived, Galway survived courtesy of a fine penalty save from Connor Gleeson which thwarted a plucky Waterford outfit. Former Blues defender Paddy Barrett has already emerged as a key contributor for Galway, which has pleased Dunne.
“Paddy’s done well for us since he’s come in,” Dunne says. “He’s a real threat when he goes in for set pieces. He’s done really well for us defensively also.
“Overall, we’re just happy we picked up the three points but I think we need to improve on our performance for next week.”
Encouraged by two successive first division triumphs, Dunne is tempted to tweak Galway's approach for the impending Rovers test. “We might need to change a few little things for next week against Shamrock Rovers, but we had chances in the Waterford match and we didn’t take them. When you don’t take your chances, it always leaves it open for something to happen.
With a predominantly youthful side, Dunne hopes leaders can emerge in the closing weeks of the campaign. “There are still some things that we seem to do, near the end when game was up, we should be going into the corner flag so the game would go dead,” Dunne recalled about the dying embers of a tense encounter with Waterford. “Instead, we put the ball in the box, they’re down the pitch and it’s a free in to them. We’re not panicking, but that put us under pressure. We’re a young team and we are still learning.
“We’ve got some experience in the team, I think that experience needs to start stepping up a little bit more with making better decisions for the group as a whole, but overall we’re getting closer to a possible play-off position.”
Still Rovers, who have recorded some impressive results in the past month, possess sufficient talent to cause Galway some bother. There is a distinct possibility that four Rovers first team squad members could be used too, which happened on Galway's previous visit to Tallaght, so the visitors know an exacting challenge looms.
Ensuring Galway are more clinical is an issue Dunne has identified and the Tribesmen will be hoping to leave the capital on Sunday armed with momentum and three points too.