Premier League football makes a welcome return to Terryland Park tomorrow night when Galway United host Bray Wanderers.
Defeated by an improving St Patrick's Athletic on the opening night of the season, Galway will be anxious to pocket the spoils against a young Bray outfit.
Eddie Gormley's side was unfortunate not to draw with Dundalk at the Carlisle Grounds as a last-gasp goal from Galway defender Garry Breen proved decisive. Still there was plenty of spirit and skill in the Wanderers’ display to ensure they will hit the west encouraged.
Galway did not take anything from last Friday’s away encounter even though there was an honesty to the visitors’ approach, which manager Sean Connor acknowledged.
“We were not disappointed with the level of performance or commitment from the players. We were disappointed with the result and we’re disappointed with the sloppiness of the two goals we’ve conceded.”
The Saints ruthlessly punished Galway’s lapses in concentration as Ryan Guy and Alex Williams pinched opportunistic goals when allowed time and space in the area.
Bray’s clever youngsters must not be allowed room to manoeuvre, and the roles that full backs Seamus Conneely and Rhys Meynell play will be crucial. Conneely flared to national prominence last season, but his performances, since making his debut against Shamrock Rovers two years ago, have always been of a high standard, and Galway will need his controlled aggression.
The potential of Seamus Conneely, combining with the craft of Bobby Ryan on the right flank, is interesting, and the Dyke Road regulars will be relishing this prospect. Ryan is a skilled footballer capable of picking out a pass, and with Conneely capable of threading through deliveries from deep too, Galway should carve chances.
Stephen O'Donnell's harsh Richmond Park red card means Galway will be without a key midfielder so Sean Connor must reshuffle the pack. Ciaran Foley, Gary Curran, and Cian McBrien will all be pushing for inclusion in the centre of the park.
Connor was not happy with referee Padraig Sutton’s decision to dismiss O’Donnell in Inchicore, particularly the first caution.
“It was his [O’Donnell’s] first tackle. The referee set a precedent and if that continues then that is fine, but will it continue? That is what I want to know. That is the standard that is set [by referees]. If that is continued every week, you’ve got to take it on the chin, but if it isn’t continued, then I want to ask questions and I want to know why.”
While there is a high possibility that Connor might add to his striking options in the coming days, the early signs regarding Karl Sheppard are pleasing as the former Everton youngster scampers about the park craving involvement. In the League of Ireland such a work rate is always a good trait in an attacker, and the Dubliner will hope to be rewarded with a goal when Bray come to town.
Following O’Donnell’s departure Sheppard was forced into a withdrawn role, but continued to toil diligently. Galway will need to battle with similar grit and determination tomorrow, and Connor will be especially eager to satisfy his new Terryland audience. It would be misguided not to acknowledge Bray’s promise, but Galway can open their seasonal account with a morale boosting win.
• Galway United is offering a discount rate of €100 for adult season tickets for anyone who is currently in receipt of a social welfare payment. Adult tickets for the employed are on sale for €150 (which includes free under 12 ticket ), with concession tickets (students/retired ) on sale at €90. Season tickets are on sale this week from GUST (Ronan Coleman ) 087-6972823 and from the club office 091-67336. Season tickets will also be on sale outside Terryland Park before tommorrow evening’s premier division match with Bray Wanderers (7.45pm ).