There is usually no shortage of bite or bark when Sligo Rovers and Galway United collide, ensuring tomorrow’s Connacht derby promises to be another interesting fixture.
Monday night’s ultimately disappointing 2-2 draw with Bray Wanderers means that Galway head up the N17 especially intent on registering a positive result against their provincial foes.
With so many ex-Galway players now operating for Sligo, and the fact that manager Sean Connor is returning to the Showgrounds, adds further sub plots to an encounter that should not lack intensity.
At the end of Monday’s draw in Terryland Park, there was plenty of drama. The Galway players and management were incensed by comments apparently made by referee Anthony Buttimer to striker Anto Flood.
Connor is demanding the FAI take appropriate action.
“It is an absolute disgrace. I will be taking it up with CEO Nick Leeson and I will make sure he goes straight to the top to take it up with John Delaney.
“These players here in Galway have worked hard, they have deferred their wages, and he has made a joke in the tunnel before the game.
Connor claims the referee cost United three points. “We are more than capable of beating Bray, no disrespect to Bray, but the referee didn't give us a penalty, I have never seen a clearer penalty in my life. We have seen the scar on Anto's leg, he is inside the box, the comments before the game are absolutely disgraceful, and I would expect a phonecall from the referee and from Pat Kelly, and a total apology.”
Connor, however, admitted Galway only offered glimpses of their ability and is demanding an improvement in the northwest.
“I am not happy and I don't want to settle for a point. I was watching the hurling game on Sunday and some of the commentators before the game were saying that Galway should be satisfied running Kilkenny close. They shouldn't and we shouldn't be satisfied with taking a point.
"I think we started off fantastically, but we sat back. We were very poor, I don't know what it is as we did the same against Pat's. I don't think it was anything to do with the two games being in such a short space of time because we have had a good rest, and we trained lightly between the two games.
“There was a good crowd and a good atmosphere, but we didn't help create that. It could be because we have so many young players in the team. We don't have a natural, real leader in the team to grab the game by the scruff of the neck and drive us forward. I don't mean just with the ball because I think Stevie O'Donnell did play forward, but we have lacked that all year. It is something I have got to address, but when you are working on the budget I am, those sort of players are hard to get, genuine leaders.”
That is precisely what Galway will require in the Showgrounds, but with the club under severe financial difficulty, the coming weeks are certain to be a test both on and off the park.
•Galway United Supporters’ Trust will be running a bus to Friday evening’s match at the Showgrounds, departing from the Marriott Hotel, Headford Road, at 5pm. To book a seat contact Ronan Coleman 087-6972823. GUST holds its next meeting on Tuesday July 13 in Monroes Tavern, Dominick Street (8pm ). Tickets for the Liverpool friendly (Monday August 9 ) will be available at the meeting.