Connor encouraged by United’s youngsters

Despite a testing schedule, Galway United have proven to be resilient against more vaunted outfits, and another gutsy performance will be required at Terryland Park tomorrow when Sporting Fingal visit the west.

Galway divided the spoils with UCD at the Belfield Bowl on Monday, and, though it was a grim game, there was sufficient energy and enthusiasm in the visitors’ display to offer manager Sean Connor encouragement.

The previous defeats to Sligo Rovers and Shamrock Rovers ensured Galway were particularly anxious to nick a result in the capital, and that task was completed.

Connor’s post match assessment was fair. "I thought we created enough chances to be ahead at half time. I think that if you don't take those chances, at the end of the day you are always going to be happy with a point.

"We have been working hard as we haven't conceded many goals. The frustrating thing is that we shot ourselves in the foot against Sligo and Shamrock Rovers. If we hadn't, we could be on an unbeaten run of four games. If you look at the teams around us, there are a lot of draws, so if we can get a win under our belt and get ourselves up to seven points, then we would be in a healthy position.”

An expensively assembled Fingal team has enjoyed a productive start to life in the Premier League, and Liam Buckley’s 4-3-3 formation can be awkward. Connor is looking forward to the latest examination, emphasising the importance of being resolute at the Dyke Road venue now that Anto Flood and Karl Sheppard are paired together up top.

"It is another big game on Friday. The point we got at Belfield becomes a good point if we win on Friday night. If we don't win on Friday, it isn't such a good point. It was important that we stopped the rot of two defeats, and they were two harsh enough defeats.

"It was Anto Flood's first game, and getting 90 minutes under his belt will do him good. He probably just lacked a little bit of sharpness. He has been training for around three weeks with us, but it is hard to get that bit of match fitness.

"There was evidence that they can complement one another in attack. I spoke to them after the UCD game, they were a bit frustrated, but I told them they have to give it time. It will take them another couple of games for Sheppard to start reading Anto's flicks, and Anto will have to make runs off Sheppard when he goes in the channels. That will take time, but it is something positive to look forward to.”

Thomas Heary’s injury enforced absence meant Jamie McKenzie and Paul Synott formed a central defensive axis that was pacy and youthful. Connor was encouraged by the manner in which the youngsters coped with UCD’s sprightly frontrunners.

"I thought that Jamie McKenzie and Paul Synott played well. In saying that, they were playing against an inexperienced side, and they will come up against much tougher opposition than that. Jamie is developing into a good player. He is only 23, Synott is only 23, the left back Meynell is 20, and the right back is under 21 too, so it is a very, very young back four.” Seeing how they handle Fingal will be interesting as Galway seek to avoid defeat again.

• Galway United Supporters’ Trust will hold a general knowledge table quiz in Monroe’s Tavern, Dominick Street, on Tuesday April 13 (9pm ). Entry fee per table of four is €40. GUST will hold its next meeting in Monroes before the table quiz (8pm ).


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