Demanding test awaits Galway United against league leaders

Galway United defensive wall of Conor Melody, Vinney Flaherty, Dara Costello, Marc Ludden and Cian Murphy prevent Athlone Town captain Kealan Dillon from scoring. Photo:-Mike Shaughnessy

Galway United defensive wall of Conor Melody, Vinney Flaherty, Dara Costello, Marc Ludden and Cian Murphy prevent Athlone Town captain Kealan Dillon from scoring. Photo:-Mike Shaughnessy

Galway United host SSE Airtricity League first division table toppers Shelbourne at Eamonn Deacy Park tomorrow evening (7.45pm ).

Alan Murphy’s youthful team divided the spoils against Athlone Town last Friday at the same venue, and the United manager is looking forward to the test when an expensively assembled Shelbourne outfit visit the west.

“It is going to be a really good one for us," he says. " I think they will play a lot more than Athlone probably played. I think Athlone put pressure on us in the second half, going very direct.

"Shels will be a really, really good test. They are really consistent, while we are only really learning the game. The flaws and errors we have made, we will try to look at them and learn from them. The inexperienced guys have got a bit more experience.”

United’s starting XV against Athlone featured teenagers Chris Horgan, Donal Higgins, Dara Costelloe, and Wilson Waweru, while Conor Layng made an appearance as a substitute.

“It is great to have Conor Layng. Unfortunately we will only have him for a short period as he is away to America in four or five games time. I thought he was a danger,” Murphy reflected, while also praising goalkeeper Kevin Horgan, who made a string of fine saves.

“The two Horgans played after a few tough days with their grandfather dying,” Murphy added. “Both had vomiting bugs in the last 48 hours, Kevin Horgan had an injection at half-time, he came out for the second half with that display, that is the character of the guy.

“I say it week-in, week-out about him, he is a great guy to have around the place. He is rubbing off on people, he will demand standards.”

Murphy is eager for United to adopt a passing style for the remainder of the campaign, but acknowledges that it will be difficult to implement.

“It progressed at times. I thought our goal came from a good passage of play,” Murphy stated about Waweru’s fine strike.

“I thought we created some chances, but this is where these lads are. We are trying to play out from the back, we have made errors, if you don't start somewhere you are never going to go anywhere.

“We need these experiences. It is a work in progress. Jack Lynch came in, I thought he did fine and was probably our best defender on the night to be brutally honest.

That was his first start, you are talking about a guy beside him [Cian Murphy] that has literally 13 or 14 games played this year. That is where we are at.

“It was probably a fair result in the end really. I thought in the first half we had a lot of possession, that is the way we set up, and we wanted to control the game as much as we could.

“That type of football is going to be a work in progress in terms of that real quality of possession and moving through the thirds creating chances. I was reasonably happy with the first half, we did make errors, but we aren't going to learn if we don't make errors.

“Then the second half they squeezed a little bit higher and I thought it became a little bitty, the game. Our defending was very poor from long balls, I thought we were at sea at times in terms of our positioning.”

Lessons continue to be learned by United, who face a demanding task against Shelbourne Corribside.

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