Tuesday night’s thrilling success in the north west confirmed many things, but the two most relevant were that Galway’s players can deliver under pressure and that manager Ian Foster is a canny operator.
How results have been eked out at stages of the campaign owes much to Foster’s clever approach, and as Galway sit in sixth position this morning, despite being ravaged by off-field difficulties, it is a reflection of the Liverpudlian’s excellence.
Restricted by a moderate wage structure, lack of training facilities, and deep uncertainty Foster has continued to ready his team impressively. True, the league defeats to Drogheda United and Bohemians, coupled with an FAI Cup loss to Longford Town, brought some woe, but the way Galway competed against Shamrock Rovers offered a drop of hope.
Encouraged, United went to the Brandywell quietly confident, and responded to the concession of an early goal with commendable spirit. Dave Cooke, Alan Murphy, and Aaron Greene smashed home strikes of their own, and Galway grabbed a vital victory.
Foster is steering Galway through choppy waters of the the grim financial realities.
“The board is dealing with it, we’re making the cuts we have to. It’s unfortunate, I don’t want my staff to only turn up on match days, it’s a difficult enough job during the week with them, never mind without them. It’s disappointing, but until someone comes in and gives us a bit of money and a digout, times are hard.
“And we’ve not over-budgeted this year, the budget’s very, very low, it’s just gate receipts are poor and we had the situation with the main sponsor. And no one’s putting money into football at the moment. It’s a sad situation, but I’m sure a lot of sports are like that. I’m sure the rugby will find it and I’m sure the GAA even will find it, it’s just a difficult situation. But we’ll battle along and get to the end of the season, I’m sure we’ll be all right.”
There is a steely determination in the Galway camp to get things done, and Friday’s trek to Turners Cross will be the latest stop in the league season tomorrow. Shane Guthrie’s return from suspension offers Foster another defensive option, and if Galway avoid defeat it would represent a significant achievement.
Throughout their exacting run of defeats Mervue United manager Johnny Glynn stressed the need for calm, and such patience is now being rewarded.
Last Saturday evening Mervue enjoyed a smashing 3-1 success over Athlone Town, and after claiming four points in two matches confidence has been returned to the system.
Tomorrow's trip to Jackman Park will be difficult merely because Limerick FC have been encountering some turbulence of their own recently, and manager Pat Scully will be demanding a result. Still the way in which Mervue have defended for the past fortnight ensures they head for the Treaty city intent on adding a third game to their unbeaten run.