Another crucial weekend of League of Ireland fare is imminent, and Galway’s two representatives will be eager to produce positive results. Galway United journey south to tussle with Cork City, while Mervue United entertain first division high flyers UCD at Terryland Park.
Uncertainty may still surround Cork’s off-field issues, but 13 points from their past five league games suggest that Paul Doolin’s squad are not too bothered by those difficulties.
Despite a surprisingly poor start which featured two losses in the first three encounters, Cork have rallied impressively to move into a healthy position. The efficient manner in which victories were chiselled out against Bray Wanderers, Bohemians, Drogheda United, and Dundalk have brought optimism and momentum to the Cork squad.
Galway, though, will not be without hope down by the Lee either, and manager Ian Foster remains adamant that the 4-5-1 formation that vexed several teams early in the campaign can be utilised in the coming weeks.
While two home defeats to Bohemians and Shamrock Rovers have reminded Galway of the ruthlessness of life at this level, Foster insists his young players can recover.
“The system’s working, you know. The system isn’t to blame. When we play attacking football, we can play it in that system, as was proved here against Dundalk.
“We’ve played it in the Brandywell and got goals. There’s not many teams that have got more goals than us in this division. I would hasten to say it’s not down to that ultimately. I believe in that system we can get at teams and we are a threat.”
Foster will demand that Galway are far more competitive in the centre of the park than they were when Rovers administered a first-half lesson. True, United responded after the interval with Declan Edwards’ introduction offering pace alongside the willing Vinny Faherty up top, but the midfield has a significant role to play.
With Joe Gamble and Colin Healy pulling the strings for City, whoever Foster selects will be required to toil diligently, and disrupt the locals’ passing and probing. Should Galway achieve this, then a further addition to the first series haul can be made.
Mervue’s emergence as a capable first division outfit continues, and last Saturday’s success over Longford Town was a significant fillip. Serious questions were asked of Mervue’s resolve, but Johnny Glynn’s evolving side keep showing a willingness to graft, and this is usually rewarded.
Three triumphs in four, with the sole blemish in the run being a last-gasp defeat to Shelbourne, provides proof that Mervue are heading in the right direction. Opportunities are being fashioned, and any club that nets eight times in 360 minutes will be reasonably content.
Still UCD are formidable opponents, and having been overturned by Wexford Youths will increase their desire on the Dyke Road tomorrow. Striker Ciaran Kilduff is a footballer of vast promise, but Mervue dealt effectively with his threat in last season’s play-off against Kildare County.
Glynn will be aware that UCD are far more adept than Kildare, and Kilduff, who has already struck five goals, must be thwarted. Mervue will enter this combat armed with the confidence, and UCD can expect a stern assignment.