It has been a mixed couple of weeks for Galway United, and the pleasure of Friday’s satisfying win over Drogheda United was briskly followed by the pain of a defeat to St Patrick’s Athletic on Monday. Tomorrow Galway head for the Carlisle Grounds to face an awkward clash with a Bray Wanderers outfit encouraged by a lively away victory over Dundalk.
That Galway enter the Bray game without goalkeeper and captain Barry Ryan, who was red carded against St Patrick’s, adds to the task significantly, and although manager Sean Connor spoke with referee Neil Doyle, the custodian will serve a suspension. Ryan was dismissed for kicking the ball in the direction of Doyle, a decision which incensed the majority of the Terryland Park crowd.
"It is hard to comment without getting yourself into some bother. I spoke to the referee about it, and he seems very confident with his decision. I just found it strange, but there is no point in me moaning about it because it doesn't get me anywhere,” Connor admitted.
The avalanche of fixtures Galway have played in April has tested Connor’s small squad cobbled together on a threadbare budget, and they are feeling the effects of the gruelling schedule.
"I cannot blame the players for their effort in the second half against Pat's. We gave away two silly goals early on, and if you defend like that against any team, you are going to give away goals.
"We thought we should have got a stonewall penalty, I have seen them given. As a manager the inconsistencies bother you, one week they are given, the next week they are not given. Then the number of games we have played is ridiculous. I think that is our seventh game in two weeks. Whoever puts these fixtures together is crazy. We haven't had a chance to recover. If Manchester United were playing those amount of games with their squad and facilities, they would be struggling. Some of our boys’ bodies and minds are tired. It is making a bit of a mockery of the league.”
Considering the paltry attendances on the Dyke Road in the opening stages of the campaign, an influx of summer window signings is highly unlikely, but Connor is eager to plough away defiantly as he seeks to blend a spirited team together on meagre resources.
"I took the jobs under the conditions, and I was aware of them, that is probably why the board gave me a three-year contract. For what we have got and what we are spending, when we have our best team on the pitch we are a match for anyone. If we are missing a few players it really does tell.”
Galway will not be at full strength in the seaside Wicklow town, and a character-filled display will be required. Connor has stressed the importance of being safe and solid at the back, and if chances are crafted at the opposite end, Karl Sheppard and Anto Flood have shown their ability to convert.
• Galway United Supporters Trust will be running a bus to Friday’s premier division match at the Carlisle Grounds, departing from the Marriott Hotel, Headford Road, at 4pm. To book a seat contact Ronan 087-6972823. The Galway United Champions League draw will be held in Monroes Tavern, Dominick Street, on Tuesday May 4 after the home match against Sligo Rovers.