Galway United face a difficult FAI Cup second round tie against St Patrick’s Athletic at Richmond Park tomorrow evening, 7.45pm kick-off.
The Saints have won four and drawn one of their last six SSE Airtricity League Premier Division games so it will be a demanding contest for United. Shane Keegan’s team suffered a cruel defeat against Shamrock Rovers in the top flight last Friday.
Ronan Murray converted a first half penalty as United started brightly at Eamonn Deacy Park, but the home team were poor after the restart. Gary Shaw punished the Tribesmen with two opportunistic goals with Keegan reflecting on some controversial opening period decisions by referee Anthony Buttimer when David Webster was only yellow carded for his handball and the locals were denied a blatant second penalty.
“I'm annoyed with two incidents, I am more than a bit annoyed with one,” Keegan says. “I thought one was a penalty and the other is farcical.
“He has not done us for any agenda against Galway United, it is just an horrendous decision, it has cost us what I think is a nailed on three points if they are down to 10 men and we are one nil up. I am not deflecting from our own performance.
“It was very good in the first half and quite poor in the second half. We should have been good enough to hold on to a point, simple as that. I am not deflecting, if it was the first one of the season I would not be like this because I am one of the most mild mannered managers in the League.”
Keegan discussed previous matches at the Dyke Road venue against Derry City and Dundalk. “The Ger Doherty one made its way on to the TV and nobody could understand why he was not sent off,” Keegan commented.
“The Marc Ludden one the week before last here against Dundalk is one of the tackles of the season and it is given as a penalty. Anybody with an interest in the League of Ireland seems to have been talking about it. That one again.
“Three unbelievably poor decisions against one team in a season is just - infuriating does not even come close to it because it is the club's future at stake, it is my future at stake. There is no point in saying otherwise. Decisions like that are potentially going to cost clubs their positions in divisions and personalities their jobs, and players their livelihoods.”
Keegan feels that United can respond in the coming weeks by maintaining their interest in the cup, while also trying to climb the table in the league. “The group of players do not lack much, there is quality in the dressing room, there is unbelievable work rate and character,” Keegan states.
“If anything is missing it is just that extra ounce of self belief in ourselves. We need to fully, fully, believe to get the job done. It is easy to have belief walking out at the start of the match, it is easy to have belief when you are going out for the second half at one nil up.
“When they equalise and it goes to one all, having the self belief to pull ourselves through that remaining period, to etch out the draw one way or another, but because it has been a tough season maybe that is why we are lacking that self belief at the moment.”