United must respond in Cork to opening day loss, urges Keegan

Padraic Cunningham of Galway United holds off Gavin Brennan of Drogheda United in action last weekend’s opening SSE Airtricity League premier division game at Eamonn Deacy Park. 
				Photo:-Mike Shaughnessy

Padraic Cunningham of Galway United holds off Gavin Brennan of Drogheda United in action last weekend’s opening SSE Airtricity League premier division game at Eamonn Deacy Park. Photo:-Mike Shaughnessy

Losing the first game of the season at Eamonn Deacy Park was a disappointment, but tough challenges arrive thick and fast in the League of Ireland, according to manager Shane Keegan.

Having lost to visitors Drogheda United by 1-0, United now face Friday’s trip to Turners Cross for a game with Cork City.

"It is daunting task, but it is also one that offers possibilities too," he says. "A positive result there would give us a massive lift, and we will do everything we can to secure something from that game.

"Cork City is an established force in the league, the squad is packed with quality players, so it offers our team an ideal opportunity to respond. While we didn’t take any points from the Drogheda game, there was some consolation in how we played, especially in the first half - we had nine shots on goal in the box, but we didn’t score, Drogheda only had one during that time."

"When Drogheda scored nine minutes from the end of the match [ through Gareth McCaffrey], it was a severe blow to us. Even though we weren’t as effective as we had been in the first half I still felt we deserved to be rewarded."

Galway United youngster Padraic Cunningham is hoping the Tribesmen can test Cork City, who started their campaign with an away win against Finn Harps.

“Definitely we want to bounce back quickly,” Cunningham says. "It was disappointing for us to lose, it was a game we were on top in. We should have scored a few goals in the first half, but we didn’t, and we paid for it in the end.”

Headford native Cunningham, who has been ravaged by injuries during the past two seasons, replaced the injured Gary Shanahan earlier in the contest. “It was a new position for me playing wide on the right, but to be honest I don’t mind where I play as long as I get on the pitch,” Cunningham remarks.

“Playing at the end of the day is all that matters, it was a new position, but I don’t mind playing on the right or left or through the middle. I will do whatever is required.”

Cunningham has been forced to deal with a couple of unfortunate injuries, but he is hopeful about making a significant impact this term. “I’ve been working hard to get myself in the best condition I can be in, I was unlucky to pick up a few bad injuries, but I hope I’m clear of them now.

“Training has been great, Shane (Keegan ) puts on good sessions every day at training and we are all simply keeping our heads down now.”

How Galway respond to the Drogheda loss will be critical. “We just knew coming in on Friday that we couldn’t dwell on that game. We have another tough one on Friday in Cork, who are one of the best teams in the league. We need to be disciplined and hopefully we can get a goal to give ourselves a real chance.

“The new players have been gelling well, we are getting to know each other’s strengths and main attributes as players, so we feel we can do well this season.”

Two years ago Cunningham was ruled out for the latter stages of United’s march to the EA Sports Cup decider, but he saw enough in that run to believe the club can make further strides. “That Cup run was massive for everyone involved, players and staff. It would be nice to bring big games to Galway on a regular basis, it is something that we want to do for sure.

“Still it is important we remain disciplined and focus on Friday in Cork, then we can look to the following Friday. That is the best approach we can take to ensure that we make progress.”

•Galway Soccer Co-Op is running a bus to Friday's Airtricity League premier division match at Turners Cross, leaving from The Dail Bar, Middle Street, at 3.30pm. To book a seat contact Stephen Dowling (086 ) 2361040 or Ronan Coleman (087 ) 6972823.

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