A busy weekend of footballing action at Terryland Park awaits as two League of Ireland encounters are scheduled for the Dyke Road venue.
On Friday evening Galway United welcome Shamrock Rovers for what promises to be a lively top-flight clash, while the following day Alan Gough brings his Longford Town outfit to tussle with Mervue United.
Having suffered their first competitive defeat of 2009 against Bohemians, Galway demonstrated admirable honesty to eke out a victory over Drogheda United. Though Galway were not allowed to pass the ball with the required conviction, they remained determined. Declan Edwards’ introduction injected pace and power into the attack, and the on-loan Stockport County striker netted the decisive goal which delighted manager Ian Foster.
"It’s a game that I thought we could get something out of, so I thought I’d just chuck another body up front, match them up, and see what we can get. Fortunately Declan had one of those nights when got hold of everything. His passes were crisp and he thoroughly deserved his goal at the end.
"It’s a massive result for us. It’s against a team that’s going to be in and around us all season so it’s great to have that 10-point cushion on them at the moment. It’s not about us being near the top. We’re being realistic and it’s about getting points on the board for us. We have certain targets for the nine games and we’ve reached the first one, so we can now go and enjoy the games against Shamrock Rovers and Cork City."
In the EA League Cup on Monday Salthill Devon might have taken the plaudits and positives from their joust with Galway, but Ian Foster’s charges still survived. Remaining in the competition was Galway’s brief, and it was achieved eventually with preventable fuss.
Jay O’Shea and Edwards had stroked Galway into a merited two-goal advantage, but Enda Dunne and Marcin Maranek pounced on defensive errors to force extra time. In the shoot-out there was a touch of irony that it was former Salthill stopper Ger Hanley who emerged as the key protagonist, saving from Ray Winters as Galway booked a second-round date with holders Derry City.
Mervue recently suffered penalty angst against Salthill, but their first dvision form is a source of encouragement. Wins at Monaghan United and Kildare County provide proof that Johnny Glynn’s positive approach is bearing fruit, and the manner in which Mervue competed, albeit in defeat, when Shelbourne were in town, augured well.
Now Mervue will be keen to recapture the dash of those displays as Longford have footballers capable of threatening. Derek Glynn, who was given a raw deal by Galway last term, has blistering pace and finishing ability so Damien O’Rourke and Eric Browne will need to be resourceful throughout.
And after losing four on the spin, Longford will be especially eager to produce an efficient and effective 90 minutes. Back at the start of March Glynn correctly stated that Mervue would need to absorb the lessons of the first couple of weeks quickly, and they clearly are. That means Saturday’s challenge will be met with equal measures of expectation and hope.