United head to Tallagh with renewed optimism

Heartened by an emphatic 3- 0 FAI Cup success over Finn Harps, Galway United will be seeking to enter the mid season break on a positive note by taking something from Saturday’s premier league clash with Shamrock Rovers at Tallaght Stadium.

The convincing manner in which Galway dismissed the challenge of Finn Harps was encouraging, despite the absence of Conor Gethins, and a similarly enterprising performance is needed in the capital.

There is no doubting that the Hoops intend to turn their new home ground into a fortress, but they have encountered bother in the opening months of the campaign. Two recent draws with Drogheda United in south Dublin were worrying results for the Hoops, who failed to convert first-half chances in both of those games. Gary Twigg is a precise finisher, but Rovers’ lack of ruthlessness at home remains a source of concern for manager Michael O’Neill.

Despite the Tallaght turbulence, Rovers were particularly productive in Tuesday’s cup replay against a resilient Drogheda. They led courtesy of a sweet Dessie Baker effort before Tadhg Purcell, effective on the right flank, profited from a switch to up front and grabbed two late goals to seal the deal.

That match confirmed that Galway will need to match Stephen Rice’s force in the centre of the park, while Greg Cameron is also proving to be a useful player for the Hoops. Whatever system United manager Ian Foster chooses, he will know his team must be willing to work.

When Rice and Cameron are conspicuous, Rovers are usually on top, so Galway will be eager to pass and probe. John Russell and Michael McGrath are blessed with sufficient skill to guide Galway into threatening positions where Jay O’Shea and Vinny Faherty will be hoping to inflict the damage.

Faherty’s approach will keep the Hoops’ defence duo Craig Sives and Aidan Price honest so there should be plenty of scope for O’Shea to demonstrate his vast ability. A positive start would provide some optimism for Galway, who know that a demanding, but far from impossible task, is imminent.

Galway United Supporters’ Trust will be running a bus to Saturday’s match at Tallaght Stadium. The bus will depart from Fibber Magees, Eyre Square, at 1pm. This match is all-ticket. For further information, and to book seats on the bus, contact Ronan Coleman at (087 ) 6972823. Match tickets are also available from the Galway United office.

Mervue United

In the return to first division fare Monaghan United will be the visitors to Terryland Park tomorrow, and manager John Glynn expects Monaghan to seek revenge.

“When last we met back Monaghan at the end of March, we recorded our first ever league win. I'm sure Mick Cooke will feel they were unlucky to lose to us with the amount of possession they had in the second half, and following their great cup replay win on Tuesday night they will be full of confidence.”

In additon to injuries Glynn must plan without Nicky Curran and Gary Traynor. Curran is having surgery on his toe, while Traynor is in Africa as part of an assignment with his employers, Power soccer.

Noel Mc Donnell, Mike Tierney, Mixy Harty, and Nigel Keady are back in training, but unlikely to feature, while Ger Mc Grath is still two weeks away from full training and Dave O’Dowd still has another month to recover.

“In the first 14 league games so far we have used 26 players and are fortunate to have such a big squad. Between now and the end of the season I cannot see that going beyond 30, but I would expect some of the lads to come through from the u-20s as they are now back in full training.

“Philip Ryan and Dan Cunningham are two lads who I would have earmarked for the senior squad, so I will be monitoring their progress closely along with all of the other players in the squad.

“This is the last match before the summer break. Most of the players will have seven days off, while those who are just back from injury will be in training to get them right for the big matches coming up in July.”

While there was much to admire in the diligent way Mervue United battled against Dundalk in last Friday’s FAI Cup tie, the concession of two soft early goals hampered the underdogs’ cause.

Even though Dundalk bossed the first quarter, Mervue gradually became competitive. When Dave Goldbey netted after the restart, a dramatic recovery mission was underway. Still Mervue are a team that is learning about life at this level, and lapses can be punished severely. Declan O’Brien’s smart header ended the revival, but Mervue can reflect with satisfaction on aspects of their display.


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