A season that started with such promise for Galway United ends tomorrow when the Tribesmen visit Oriel Park to play SSE Airtricity League premier division champions Dundalk.
The Lilywhites secured a third title in a row when defeating Bohemians at the Louth venue on Sunday. That win capped another brilliant spell for Stephen Kenny's squad, who feature three Galwegians in their squad.
Captain Stephen O’Donnell, Daryl Horgan, and Alan Keane have all been involved for Dundalk recently, while former Galway United players Gary Rogers and Paddy Barrett also were part of their recent success.
On Tuesday an understrength Dundalk were comprehensively defeated by St Patrick’s Athletic, but it scarcely mattered.
United will be hoping to produce a solid display following last Friday’s disappointing draw against Longford Town at Eamonn Deacy Park.
A dreadful match ended scoreless as United’s poor form continued with already relegated Longford frustrating the hosts.
Since shocking Dundalk on August 5, United have only registered two wins – a paltry return which has seen the club slip to ninth place in the table.
That has been a setback for Galway, who had been so enterprising initially in 2016, posting five victories in the opening two months of the campaign.
Then United had serious ambitions of earning a top half finish, but unfortunately, for a variety of reasons, this has not materialised.
Presently the club is looking for a manager to replace Tommy Dunne, who was relieved of his duties last month.
It means there is a bit of uncertainty ahead of 2017, which will be a hugely important year for United, who are completely aware that further progress needs to happen.
While Johnny Glynn’s U19 side were soundly beaten in Saturday’s SSE Airtricity League U19 final by UCD, some of that squad may be involved in the first team squad in the future.
Despite the recent defeat Glynn’s work with an unheralded group has drawn widespread praise, so it will be interesting to see how Galway attempt to develop in the underage ranks.
For the long term health of the game in the west, it is vital that promising footballers such as Kevin Horgan, Evan Murphy, and Conor Melody remain involved with United.
One worry for United in 2016 has been the fact that only 13 points have been accumulated away from home. That is an area in which United must improve, the team will need to be far more resilient going forward.
A trip to Dundalk will examine a youthful United team before a crucial winter in which many vital decisions will be made on and off the field.
•Galway United Supporters Trust is running a bus to Friday's SSE Airtricity League match at Oriel Park, leaving The Dail Bar, Middle Street at 3pm. Seats can be booked by contacting Dominick Walsh (087 ) 9163438 or Ronan Coleman (087 ) 6972823.