Another busy Bank Holiday Weekend beckons for Galway United, who host Dundalk in a critical SSE Airtricity League premier division clash on Friday ahead of Monday’s away EA Sports Cup quarter-final against Sligo Rovers at the Showgrounds.
In a demanding schedule, United are due to play eight competitive matches before May 26, but manager Shane Keegan is encouraged by his team's fight to secure a share of the spoils in Limerick. David Cawley’s stunning late leveller ensured United grabbed a late equaliser for the second week in a row.
“It was great for morale," says Keegan. "You look at our last seven competitive games, we have only lost one. Again, while it isn't shooting us up the table, it is certainly keeping us in contact.
“With Limerick and Dundalk left in the first series of games, you'd be a little bit fearful of being cut adrift when starting round two. Now, thankfully, the way the weekend went, we ended up gaining a bit of ground. I know it's only a point, but we still gained ground on Bohemians and Finn Harps.
“If we could finish Friday night no worse off than we are at the moment, that means heading into round two against the teams that are down in that half of the table with you. That is no disrespect to anyone, they'd be saying the same things about us.”
However Keegan acknowledges the next month will be a revealing time for United, who face champions Dundalk on the banks of the Corrib tomorrow.
“We have Drogheda, Finn Harps, and Bohs all early enough in round two of the games. We have to be within touching distance, then we have to go to win those games.
“The whole point is to not be cut adrift before those games arrive. That is why the point in Limerick was a good point, it keeps us in touch. If we can get something from Friday, that would be a huge boost and it would continue to keep us within touching distance.”
Buoyed by the battling qualities United have shown, especially during the past fortnight, Keegan is adamant the Tribesmen are beginning to acquire confidence. “There is an awful lot pointing towards us not being far away from stringing a few wins together. Whether we get one on Friday night is another thing altogether, but we will go to give it a crack, that is for sure. Getting the point against Limerick was a help."
Also encouraging is the clean bill of health with Padraic Cunningham and Jesse Devers expected to be available for the Dundalk clash.
“Definitely, the big thing for us is that it is good because of the timing,” Keegan admits. “Our May is hectic, we have seven games in a 28 day period. We need all hands on deck, it looks as if we will be close to that. Podge [Cunningham] is pretty much ready to come back, Jesse [Devers] should be ready to rock by the end of the week. They are going to be needed. It is a mad schedule, but it is exactly what you want in a way when you are down towards the bottom.
“You want as many opportunities as you can get to get as many points as possible. Then you have the bonus of an EA Sports Cup quarter-final as well. To say it is a massive May is an understatement."
Keegan says United now need to produce.
"It is all well and good talking about performances, but the Derry win in the EA Sports Cup is exactly the type of thing we need more of in the league - a game where you ride your luck and you take the chances you get. That is exactly what you want.”
•Galway Soccer Co-Op is running a bus to Bank Holiday Monday's EA Sports Cup quarter-final against Sligo Rovers at The Showgrounds, leaving The Dail Bar, Middle Street, at 12 noon. Pick ups can be arranged along the Tuam Road. To book contact Stephen Dowling 086-2361040 or Ronan Coleman 087-6972823.