July has been a dramatic month for Galway United as they strive to defeat Dundalk at Terryland Park on Sunday evening.
Though Galway have been defeated by Sligo Rovers and Shamrock Rovers in their past two games, the Hoops contest should have ended differently. Galway contributed much to an interesting encounter, but a slice of Gary Twigg opportunism ensured the Dubliners returned to the capital on top of the table as Galway were left to reflect on their failure to convert opportunities.
The manner in which Galway competed and attempted to pass the ball filled manager Sean Connor with pride.
"I am not too distraught because when you get that sort of effort and commitment and style of football from your team, it really does perk you up,” he said.
“ We have had a tough couple of weeks. It has been frustrating because I have been actively trying to cut my wage bill. It has been hard because we have a very small squad.”
Connor said all the players have remained fully focused and had shown “in front of the television cameras” how committed and focused they were.
“ It would have been lovely to get the three points. I don't think we deserved to be beaten. I think we deserved to win the game, we certainly didn't deserve to lose the game.”
Galway’s lively display ought to have been rewarded with some sort of dividend, but these are testing days in the west as further players are expected to follow Anto Flood and Cian McBrien out of Terryland Park in the coming weeks.
"There probably will be more departures during the week unless there is a dramatic change in the circumstances. What we have had with the last two gates have been excellent, and we hope for another one against Dundalk. Realistically, though, we are running out of time to replace people, if I am allowed the opportunity to replace people. Right now it is a matter of trying to reduce the wage bill and keep the club afloat.”
Connor said he had never been in that position.
“ At the start of the year I said it would be easy for us to feel sorry for ourselves, but I am not about that. I think if we get our best players on the park, we are a match for any side. We showed that against Shamrock Rovers. I want to keep climbing the table and I still believe we can catch teams above us. I believe we can catch UCD and Dundalk.”
Until it was mathematically impossible, Connor said he would not stop believing that.
Dundalk’s visit to the banks of the Corrib will be especially important if Galway are to carry out Connor’s mission. The Lilywhites commenced the season in blistering fashion, but they have encountered plenty of difficulty lately so Connor will have Galway primed for this fixture.
Points are craved by Galway, and if they are as gritty as they were when Rovers were in town, an encouraging result can be posted.
•Tickets for the upcoming friendly v Liverpool (Monday August 9 ) will be on sale this Saturday from Elverys Sports, Galway Retail Park, Headford Road, and upstairs in the Eyre Square Centre. Tickets are also on sale from the Galway United office at Terryland Park, from the Square Inn, Athenry, from Ticketmaster outlets, and on-line at www.ticketmaster.ie For further information contact Ronan Coleman 087-6972823, or Tommy Shields at 087-2930738.