Stirring win over Sligo keeps United’s premier survival hopes alives

A fascinating SSE Airtricity League relegation battle continues after Galway United registered a crucial 3-1 success over Sligo Rovers at Eamonn Deacy Park last Friday.

That stirring win, inspired by Rory Hale's splendid midfield performance, ensured United climbed into eighth position in the standings.

Delightful goals from Marc Ludden, Kevin Devaney, and Gavan Holohan capped a dynamic United display. Kyle McFadden had struck early for Sligo, but a gritty United outfit recovered.

Manager Shane Keegan was content to have secured a second victory on the spin, following a satisfying triumph over Derry City.

"I think we were even better than we were last week," Keegan says. "We made hard work of it, such is what we do, I suppose.

"We probably should have been two nil up before they scored - [Ronan] Murray has hit the crossbar and we had three Marc Ludden throws go by the back post without anyone managing to poke it home somehow or another. We tend to make hard work of things, but that equaliser came at a really, really good time.

"It can be hard to convince lads they have been really good in a half if they are behind. That gave us some more self belief and in the second half we really kicked on, I thought we were outstanding."

"The workrate has been there all season long. When you are going through a bad run people can question this and that, but I would challenge anybody to question the work rate of any players.

"To see Murray chasing balls into the corner in injury time after the shift he put in, Rory Hale catches everybody's eye in terms of the shift he puts in - when you see them doing that, the rest of them know they have to match it. It gives us a fighting chance in any game."

"We had a few decent chances, they did too, and they took advantage of one, nearly more than one. We managed to make a bit more of a football match of it in the second half." Devaney's sweet strike gave United a deserved second period lead before the Sligo native crafted a third for Holohan.

Keegan hailed Devaney's "brilliant" goal.

"It certainly was, and with Kevin being a Sligoman, he is going to take a particular joy from it, and it was a brilliant finish," Keegan says. "We had switched him across to that side of the field momentarily. He scored that identical goal twice against me in Ferrycarrig last year, so I know exactly what he has got. He has that finish in him, I thought he put in a great shift all round."

Now Keegan wants his developing team, who face Bray Wanderers at the Carlisle Grounds on Saturday, October 7, to finish the campaign strongly. "It seems like we have been in the relegation zone for five years at this stage," Keegan jokes.

"The most important thing is the fact that there isn't a single player in the dressing room who thinks this job is anywhere near done. Absolutely nowhere near done.

"One bad game and you're back in the bottom three probably straight away really. The most important thing is that nobody gets carried away with themselves and realises what has got us out is that work rate. If a single player drops that work rate, we will be back where we were pretty quickly."

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