Encouraged by a morale-boosting away success over UCD, Galway United return to Terryland Park action tomorrow when Sporting Fingal visit the west.
A safe and solid performance secured a 1 - 0 victory at the Belfield Bowl as a slice of opportunism from Karl Sheppard earned the visitors all the points.
Galway manager Sean Connor has repeatedly stressed the need for consistency in league football so another determined display will be demanded.
Despite losing several players during the July transfer window, there has been an admirable work ethic in Galway’s football. While the team deserved better results during the past month, they have ploughed on defiantly under Connor’s stewardship.
As the season has evolved it is clear that Connor and Gareth Gorman’s training ground toil has found favour with the squad who remain committed. The departures of Anto Flood, Cian McBrien, James Creaney, Thomas Heary, and Bobby Ryan has left Connor with few options due to the severe monetary restrictions, but those still at the club continue to deliver with the required passion. Ultimately that is a crucial ingredient in the domestic game as any outfit lacking in drive or desire will not eke out results.
Following the unfortunate loss to Shamrock Rovers in a fixture that Galway bossed for long spells, Connor highlighted the importance of obtaining positive results at this stage of the season. That is why Galway badly craved something from the trip to the capital last Friday and Sheppard stroked home a valuable goal.
There are plenty of promising footballers in the west so Stephen Walsh’s impact as an emergency front-runner over the past two games is particularly notable. Educated with Galway Hibernians, Walsh has been proven to possess the necessary heart and honesty to make a contribution in the maroon shirt. Walsh will be needed in the coming weeks and months to maintain such a high level as Galway seek to avoid a dreaded relegation play/off.
Sporting Fingal participated in a six-goal thriller with Shamrock Rovers last Sunday so there is no doubting their ability going forward. Galway troubled the Dubliners back in April and were only thwarted by a last-gasp Eamon Zayed equaliser, so the westerners have every reason to be confident.
Following a surprisingly shaky spell, Barry Ryan has returned to form in the past fortnight and was so unlucky to concede against Dundalk. The clean sheet Ryan posted in Belfield will have offered an injection of confidence and Galway will need their goalkeeper to be polished in the autumn.
Stephen O’Donnell’s midfield promptings, allied to the skills of Seamus Conneely, Jamie McKenzie, Rhys Meynell, Derek O’Brien and Gary Curran, ensure Galway have the weapons to hurt an expensively assembled Fingal. Sheppard’s pace will bother Fingal so the battle in the centre of the park carries deep importance as the visitors frequently operate with three players inside. That is Liam Buckley’s favoured formation, but Galway negated that well when Fingal were last in town.
Curran and O’Brien are able to put in shifts on the flanks, lending assistance to those in the middle, so there is no disguising the fact that Galway can rattle the Dubliners.
•Remainig tickets for next Monday’s friendly against Liverpool XI are on sale from the following outlets : Galway United office, Terryland Park ; O'Briens Newsagents, William Street; Zhivago Records, Shop Street (Ticketmaster ) and the Square Inn, Athenry. Tickets will also be on sale at Friday evening’s home match v Sporting Fingal (7.45pm ) and from Elverys Sports, Galway Retail Park, Headford Road on Saturday only. For further information, contact Ronan Coleman 087-6972823, or visit www.galwayunitedfc.ie