A strange week for Galway - ranging from the delight of another Dalymount Park success over Bohemians to the despair of a humiliating EA Sports Cup exit to Cockhill Celtic - concludes tomorrow when Sligo Rovers visit the banks of the Corrib for a crucial Connacht derby.
Having dashed out of Phibsboro content with a safe and solid display that yielded a fourth win in five matches against Bohemians, everything appeared rosy for Galway. Monday’s tussle with Cockhill Celtic was appealing, but within minutes of that encounter, it was apparent Galway were in bother.
The depth of the Galway squad is a problem and this was exposed. When Gary Curran departed, there was a distinctly average look to the home team’s attacking play. Cockhill were physical and determined and that was enough to ensure they recorded their best result, nudging Galway from the competition despite a lead Joseph Yoffe goal. Peter McKinney, the bustling Cockhill centre forward, roared back with a hat-trick of his own and it was an altogether different feeling Galway experienced compared to the satisfaction in the capital when the Gypsies had been shocked again.
Galway’s grit in that 0-1 win over Bohemians was admirable. Paul Sinnott and Shaun Maher marshalled the defence well, while goalkeeper Greg Fleming made saves when required, and manager Sean Connor was pleased with the performance.
"The back four were great. Shaun Maher has been a tremendous addition, he has given his experience to us. Shuan Kelly has loads of energy and I think he has become a better defender and he is only 22. If there is a better right back in the league than Shaun Kelly, I would like to see him.
"We worked on the back four all week and they know they have a good goalkeeper behind them and that helped. That gives them a lot of confidence. I am delighted with Greg Fleming. One or two people were a little bit critical of him because we conceded six goals, but none of them were really his fault. I knew he needed to get his match legs and against Bohemians the two saves he made were as good as Joseph's goal and he made a penalty save against UCD.
“Two clean sheets for a squad with our budget is tremendous. There is lots of positivity around the football club with the new structure and this win is another piece of good news.”
Having bagged two goals against Bohemians and Cockhill, Connor believes that Yoffe has the potential to make an impact in the west. “Joseph was with us last summer and we wanted to sign him, but we couldn't get the money. He is a finisher. He took the penalty really well in Dundalk and the goals will do his confidence the world of good. ”
Connor’s charges will be keen to cleanse the 3-1 Cockhill defeat from their system, but a Sligo squad stuffed with smashing players, including several Galwegians, will represent a daunting challenge. “It is a long time since we beat Sligo,” says Connor. “ We had two good draws with them last season and, if we play like we did against Bohemians, we can get another positive result out of the game.”