Following six defeats in eight testing games there is no disguising the importance of Galway United’s encounter with Drogheda United at Terryland Park tomorrow.
While Galway put on another valiant showing at Dalymount Park on Tuesday, Bohemians still possessed enough savvy to bag late goals courtesy of Ken Oman and Jason Byrne, winning 2 - 0. And now an improving Drogheda outfit, emboldened by two smashing results in the past week, will provide a stern examination.
Alan Matthews’ vast knowledge of the domestic league is being used wisely, and now that confidence is entering the Drogs system they ought to be afforded serious respect. The manner in which the Boynesiders eked out a draw at Tallaght Stadium on Saturday against Shamrock Rovers owed much to the underdogs’ grit. James Chambers and Paul Shiels were all honest aggression in the centre of the park, denying the Hoops time and space to move the ball swiftly.
Such a high octane approach would certainly disturb a Galway side that has shown a commendable willingness to pass and probe under Ian Foster. Galway’s impressive young manager has constructed a decent team, and while the recent results haven’t been hugely satisfying a win over the Drogs would provide the required dollop of confidence.
Considering that Drogheda are clearly a side that is beginning to acquire form, Galway will know that a dynamic display will be needed. In April when the teams last collided Declan Edwards’ introduction altered the complexion of that contest as Drogheda’s wastefulness in front of goal proved costly. Having missed the Gypsies joust, a doubt surrounds Vinny Faherty’s participation following a foot operation. Edwards is likely to be included if the Moycullen frontrunner is unfit.
While Shane Barrett remains the only recognised striker available to Matthews, Jamie Duffy has enjoyed productive outings in an attacking role, and has sufficient skill to craft chances. Gary Breen and Shane Guthrie will need to be assisted by full backs Seamus Conneely and Iarfhlaith Davoren, particularly in the early exchanges when the visitors will be seeking to land a blow.
Being composed is Galway’s mission, and with a passionate Drogheda optimistic once more a lively Friday night battle on the Dyke Road is imminent.
Buoyed up by Alex Lee’s clever winning strike against Limerick FC Mervue United will hope to be similarly enthusiastic at Finn Park.
Ravaged by injuries Mervue will be without a raft of experienced players including Noel Mc Donnell, Ger Mc Grath, Nigel Keady, Mixie Harty, Michael Tierney, and David O Dowd. Manager Johnny Glynn was thrilled with the determination demonstrated when Limerick were overturned. “We were delighted with the win and the performance against Limerick after they beat us 4-1 earlier in the season. We started the second half well and after we scored we soaked up a lot of Limerick pressure. We were very pleased with the performance of our defence and also the lads that came off the bench.
“Harps in Ballybofey would be a difficult assignment at the best of times but with the squad so depleted it will be difficult to come away with a result."