A large Eamonn Deacy Park crowd will provide the backdrop when Galway United host Shamrock Rovers in an attractive FAI Cup quarter-final on the banks of the Corrib tomorrow evening (7.45pm ).
Alan Murphy’s rapidly improving Galway United outfit face an expensively assembled Rovers tea in the last eight of the competition. Due to a severe cut in budget this was always likely to be a transitional season for United, but Murphy’s charges have enjoyed an encouraging stint recently.
Cup wins over Collinstown and Cork City were sandwiched either side of a fine away first division triumph against Cabinteely at Stradbrook; Rovers currently sit in second place in the top flight and bring an accomplished collection of players to the west.
However, Murphy is hopeful his youthful squad can summon another gritty display on home turf.
“It has been an encouraging spell, and this game is coming at a nice time for us,” Murphy admits. “We've had a good month of performances which has ended in good results.
“We will go into the Shamrock Rovers game full of confidence. We are at home, that is a big plus for us, and we are hoping to get a good crowd out at Eamonn Deacy Park.
“We won't underestimate the mammoth task in front of us against a Shamrock Rovers side that is also flying in premier division.
“Against all odds, we are going to try to perform and prevent them from imposing their game on us. Also we have to try to express ourselves with the really young players we have, to put their names up and show they can perform against one of the top teams in the country.”
The fact that so many young United players have acquired experience throughout the campaign is a source of pride for Murphy. “That is what this year has been all about,” Murphy says. “It is about developing our own players, giving them experience.
Adamant United are reducing the number of mistakes being made, Murphy is optimistic regarding the future.
“This has been constant work all season,” Murphy continues. “It takes time for players to learn, for them to develop, to stop making silly mistakes. This has been coming a while, it isn't finished yet, but we have had a good turn.
“We have been able to lessen the mistakes enabling us to perform. Still, we will have a completely different set of factors to deal with on Friday night with a Rovers team featuring household names against a group of players who are dedicated.
“Our group is trying to prove a point, that they are good enough to play League of Ireland football, but most of them are only in their infancy in terms of their careers and development.”
Recent signings Jack Lynch, Killian Brouder, and Stephen Christopher have all contributed impressively during United’s decent burst of form.
“Recruitment is huge,” Murphy adds. “It hasn't started today or yesterday in terms of the profile of these players and the due diligence that is needed.
“In football today if you are bringing any new face into a dressing room to a group of players you need to make sure that they will drive the group on and only make the group better.
“That is one thing I have probably learned in my playing career and now my management career. You are only as good as the people you surround yourself with. That is both management and players.
“You can bring all the quality you want in, but if they don't have application or honesty or real desire, you are going to fail unfortunately.”