Another busy SSE Airtricity League of Ireland division weekend beckons for Galway United, who host Longford Town at Eamonn Deacy Park tomorrow before embarking on an away trip to Drogheda United on Monday.
Ultimately it has been a disappointing start to the campaign for Alan Murphy’s squad, who have drawn four and lost one of their opening five fixtures.
Last Saturday brought further pain as United leaked a late goal which enabled Cobh Ramblers to earn a share of the spoils at St Colman’s Park.
While United’s display was an improvement, the fact that a victory was not obtained hurt deeply following smart goals from Vinny Faherty and Francely Lomboto. Indeed the emergence of former Galway Hibernians youngster Lomboto is one of the few crumbs of encouragement available currently.
Lomboto has made two rewarding appearances from the bench, netting against Athlone Town and Cobh, offering a threat in attack. The welcome return to action of Shane Doherty in Cobh provided an injection of pace and creativity too which augurs well, but at the opposite end of the pitch the team needs to deal with set pieces in a much more diligent fashion.
On this occasion Cobh exploited United’s enduring defensive inability to cope with these situations which remains a lingering worry. Upcoming opponents Longford and Drogheda will be involved in the race for promotion so United must start finding answers quickly.
There is no disguising the fact that this is a competitive environment so the Tribesmen are completely aware that positive results need to be registered soon. That a victory has not been recorded is a worry, especially considering a Longford outfit, featuring the splendid Aodh Dervin, will hit the west armed with intent.
Tuesday’s cruel extra-time FAI Cup loss to Cork City at Turners Cross hurt Longford, but Daire Doyle’s squad has a nice mix of youth and experience, with Dean Zambra supplying plenty of guile in the centre of the park, and the dashing Shane Elworthy another accomplished performer at this level.
Last May a developing United team did overcome Longford when Vinny Faherty netted a brace in a game which highlighted the vast potential of Donal Higgins. The United teenager is a footballer of considerable promise, and Murphy will be hoping his education can continue now that Shane Duggan is back anchoring the midfield.
That has been an area of real concern for United, who know that Longford and Drogheda are competent teams. The challenge is to stitch a winning run together in order to generate confidence, momentum, and most importantly, points.