United face demanding schedule in early bid for promotion

Another demanding away trip beckons for Galway United, who travel to Ferrycarrig for an SSE Airtricity League first division game against Wexford FC tomorrow, (7.45pm ).

Next Tuesday (March 10 ) United will be in Eamonn Deacy Park action when hosting Athlone Town in the first round of the EA Sports Cup.

Last Saturday's 1-1 draw at Tallaght Stadium with Shamrock Rovers II attracted national attention, with several players from both camps treated for hypothermia symptoms following the match.

Ultimately it was the industry of substitute Conor Melody which helped United secure a share of the spoils courtesy of Conor Barry's late leveller.

Despite the spirit and passion shown, it was still a disappointing outcome for the Tribesmen, who already trail table-toppers Cabinteely and Longford Town by five points, albeit with one game in hand.

The opening weekend postponement of United and Athlone's encounter due to the adverse conditions was a setback, ensuring the stakes are piled high in the southeast.

Wexford drew with UCD before losing at the Carlisle Grounds to Bray Wanderers, but United have encountered plenty of troublesome evenings in the southeast in recent years.

Now, though, United must be clinical and ruthless in the coming weeks if a serious promotion bid is to be launched. Attaining top flight status remains the objective for a squad of players that possesses a strong mix of established and emerging talent.

Captain Shane Duggan is an experienced campaigner domestically and will occupy a central role for the club in 2020. Duggan, who has previously won first division titles with Limerick FC and Cork City, brings significant attributes to the west.

With three matches in seven days imminent - league fixtures with Wexford and high-flying Cabinteely sandwiched both sides of the EA Sports Cup tie at home to Athlone, United need to generate momentum and confidence.

Vinny Faherty and Mikey Plaice were unavailable due to injury for the Rovers II contest, so Enda Curran, who has made a welcome return to the League of Ireland, was chosen in attack.

Regardless of the grade Curran has repeatedly demonstrated his goalscoring ability and chances must be crafted for the striker.

Melody's willingness was a boost in Tallaght, but Murphy will trust that Dean O'Halloran and Barry can create opportunities during a busy stint.

Due to the fact that the First Division is a 27 fixture league the margin for error is slim as important encounters arrive thick and fast. Ultimately putting points and victories into the account quickly is crucial so Murphy will have his squad primed for the challenges awaiting.

Anything less than a United triumph would be viewed as a setback in the southeast. Ultimately that is the burden of expectancy United carry, but finding a way to cope is what must be achieved quickly.

Murphy's desire and drive for the Galway United project endures. There is no shortage of revealing assignments set in March, but the Tribesmen must clear an awkward hurdle in Wexford.

 

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