Galway United are preparing for a busy weekend at Eamonn Deacy Park with two SSE Aitricity League first division fixtures at the Dyke Road venue.
Tomorrow evening United host Cobh Ramblers before a re-scheduled encounter against Limerick FC takes place on Monday, both games kick off at 7.45pm.
Shamrock Rovers just had enough guile to shade a lively FAI Cup quarter-final clash as Alan Murphy’s gritty United outfit delivered a dynamic display on home turf last Friday.
Maurice Nugent’s first-half goal gave the Tribesmen an injection of hope and confidence, but the Hoops responded after the restart as former United players, Aaron Greene and Lee Grace, responded for the visitors.
“It was an excellent performance,” Murphy remarked. “I’m so proud of my players. That’s a Shamrock Rovers side with international players, full time athletes against nearly a full squad of amateurs.
"That squad of amateurs went out and executed a plan to nearly knock Rovers out of the cup, and not just by a fluke.
“If you really analyse and really assess what we did, there was real calculation in it, real pride, execution, and application. Those lads will have learned so much from it.
"Rovers have thousands and thousands of a budget, I think 700 euro is what my budget is and 700 euro played Shamrock Rovers, and did that which is phenomenal stuff.
“Phenomenal by my players and phenomenal by my staff to be able to compete at this level with what we have, I don’t think any other team will put it up to Rovers like that and push them so close.”
Murphy was delighted by the attitude and application demonstrated by United throughout a keenly contested cup tie.
“I thought they were toothless at times and that is no disrespect to them,” Murphy added. “I thought we were comfortable and I thought we were the ones who could get another goal at times.
“All those players, the positions that they are taking up, recovery runs and pressure on the ball, that’s not just by chance that’s real hard work and dedication since the draw happened and I can’t be any prouder.
"I'm all season backing these players, I have backed them in good and bad.
“It’s so tough on those players, they’ve been working all week, they've given so many days this week in preparation and analysis.
“I defy anyone to look at that and say those budgets are that far apart, it’s phenomenal, it's mind blowing what the players did.”
Three matches remain in what has been a transitional campaign for United with Murphy eager to ensure youngsters are afforded more opportunities in the upcoming matches with Cobh, Limerick, and Athlone Town.
“It will be hard to get this group of players to get back down to earth a little bit,” Murphy comments. “We lost the Rovers game, I understand, but when we were preparing to play the second best team in Ireland, a team that are pushing to be in the Champions League and Europa League.
“That is what we played, so it is going to be difficult to go back to first division football, to get the boys to prepare to the same degree, and to be able to execute. They won't be playing the same quality, that is a fact, but that is my job to try to do that.
“We will be trying to pick up three wins from the last three games, but it isn't about the wins either. It is probably about who needs to step up again. Lads didn't come on against Rovers, they will be disappointed that they didn't feature. They need to feature before the end of the season, to show that they can perform and that they have pushed on.”