Following a lively weekend featuring a dramatic victory and a disappointing defeat, Galway United travel to the banks of the Boyne tomorrow for an SSE Aitricity League first division encounter against Drogheda United.
It promises to be another tough contest for Alan Murphy’s injury ravaged outfit against a Drogheda outfit that cruised to a surprisingly emphatic 5-0 success over table-toppers Cabinteely on Saturday. That game illustrated Drogheda’s promise, but the Tribesmen’s potential was also evident the previous evening at Eamonn Deacy Park.
Though Longford Town hit the front courtesy of a lapse in Galwegian concentration, two splendid Vinny Faherty earned United a come-from-behind 2-1 triumph to excite the locals. There was so much to admire in that United display with Stephen Walsh’s spirit, Donal Higgins’ skill, and Faherty’s guile carrying such importance.
On Monday, United started well in the Carlisle Grounds with Shane Doherty causing Bray significant bother as the visitors took the lead. Unfortunately United were not as slick in the second period with Bray responding to claim the spoils by 2-1.
However United’s attitude and application throughout the campaign has pleased manager Murphy, who took real encouragement from the manner of the Longford victory.
“I was delighted to win, but I wasn't too delighted with another horrendous mistake putting us under pressure. I keep saying it week in week out that we are going to make mistakes, but we really showed up after that mistake,” Murphy said.
“We stood up and were counted, so I'm really, really proud of my players. I thought throughout the game we got better all the way, I thought our intensity really improved in the second half. Our composure in terms of our pressing game was good, we limited Longford. We got a little bit of luck that we needed.”
Eight Galway natives featured in the starting XI when Longford visited the west and Murphy was satisfied with how the youngsters fared.
“It was nice, after conceding a goal, not capitulating or going into our shells and being that weak mentality,” Murphy remarked. “I thought all my senior players stood up and the inexperienced players stood up, getting that chunk of experience they need and benefit from. It was an experience we learned from and we got a result, so it is a positive.”
Murphy also praised the contribution of Walsh, Marc Ludden, Conor Melody, and Faherty. “They are experienced players who are really turning up for me,” Murphy added.
“They are buying into what we are trying to do, the plan we are trying to execute each week, and what we are trying to do in terms of the project bringing in young lads giving them that experience.
“I'm really proud. I'm proud of my management team, why I'm proud is because the boys are reacting to us and analyse it compared to last year. Something is slowly changing.”
Having won three of their past five fixtures United are beginning to show signs of improvement according to striker Faherty.
“It has been coming, we really have turned a corner,” Faherty says.
“We are going to have bad results and bad performances. That is normal, we have a lot of young players, but the boys have worked their socks off, they have bundles of talent."
Faherty is occupying a central role for a United squad which is loaded with promising players.
“The thing that is going to hold them back it won't be attitude. It might just be luck, they are going to get opportunities,” Faherty comments.
“It honestly has been enjoyable. Even a few weeks ago when the results weren't great, it has been one of the most enjoyable years to be around the club, playing for the club.
“We suffered towards the start of the season. We were maybe naive and inexperienced, but it wasn't through lack of effort or want. When you do get those results you want, it is extra sweet.”
•Galway United Friends' Co-Operative is running a bus to Friday evening's match at United Park, leaving Prospect Hill at 3.30pm. Seats can be booked by contacting Kenneth Keady at (085 ) 1083930 or Stephen Dowling at (086 ) 2361040.