As the League of Ireland season drifts towards an interesting conclusion Galway United find themselves requiring a positive result from tomorrow’s Terryland Park test with Derry City.
The Connacht derby defeat against a revitalised Sligo Rovers, who also defeated Bray Wanderers at the Showgrounds on Tuesday night, ensures Galway are under duress again as they seek to avoid the dreaded relegation play-offs.
Galway’s recent inconsistency is a significant source of concern, as is the manner in which goals are being leaked by a defence that was stingy at the start of the year.
The statistics do not bode well for a Galway side that has lost nine times in 15 league matches. Fortunately the other half dozen games have been Galway victories.
In the past nine encounters since being outfoxed by Drogheda United, Galway have conceded 20 goals, and considering four clean sheets were posted in the first eight games of the campaign, this trend is especially worrying.
Galway need to be safe and solid as Shane Guthrie and Garry Breen will be seeking to stymie a Derry attack that is laced with decent frontrunners.
Surprisingly Derry have been ailing lately, losing three on the spin, and those reversals to Bohemians, Cork City, and Shamrock Rovers could prove costly in their efforts to secure a European berth.
Derry, who had hit six goals in wins over Dundalk and Drogheda United, failed to rattle the net in any of the recent defeats, so Galway will be intent on thwarting the Candystripes too.
As usual the midfield battle carries deep importance and whoever Foster selects alongside skipper John Russell in the centre of the park will have a crucial role to play. Russell has the craft to pass and probe creating chances, and Aaron Greene’s pace could be a useful asset. In his last outing on the Dyke Road Greene made an impression with two smashing goals, and a similar intervention would be gratefully received.
Seamus Conneely’s competent debut for the Republic of Ireland u-21s on Tuesday at the RSC in the draw with Switzerland highlighted his effectiveness at surviving even in awkward situations. Conneely was calm and assured, distributing the ball carefully from the back as Ireland came back to eke out a draw, and the fact that a Galwegian is featuring at such a level is encouraging.
Galway missed Conneely’s stabilising influence in the Showgrounds, and his return to the starting XI is an obvious fillip.
There is enough talent in the Galway squad to threaten Derry, and attaining any kind of dividend should be viewed as satisfactory.
While Longford Town became the latest team to emerge victorious at Terryland Park last Friday night, the Mervue United team was stuffed with youngsters. Johnny Glynn’s squad included nine of the club’s u-20s, and now they face a tidy UCD outfit on Saturday evening on the banks of the Corrib.
UCD are nicely placed at the summit of the first division as Martin Russell’s stylish gameplan continues to glean results. This will be a test for Mervue, but they have been competitive in their previous two jousts with the students and the visitors are expecting an equally tough battle.