At the start of a marathon League of Ireland season, Sean Connor stated Galway United’s objective was to finish the campaign ahead of Bray Wanderers, UCD, and Drogheda United so tomorrow’s match at the Carlisle Grounds matters deeply.
In the tussles with UCD and Drogheda, Galway have only registered two draws which has disappointed Connor, and with Bray enjoying a surprisingly productive opening to 2011, a clash with Pat Devlin’s charges now is significant.
Last weekend Derry City’s potent mixture of youth and experience ruthlessly punished Galway’s defensive slip ups and, although Galway competed honestly for much of the first half, the concession of two soft goals either side of the interval proved decisive.
Connor, who is currently focusing on eradicating mistakes, says United need to be clinical in a period of dominance.
“I was disappointed to lose against Derry, but there were certainly long periods of the game where I had to be happy with how we played. Probably we were unlucky to go in at half time one goal down, but we keep getting punished for mistakes and we don't seem to punish mistakes at the other end.
“I just felt we were undone by the quality they had. They are a good side, but for 45 minutes we matched them. I keep hearing about Derry being a young team, but we had a younger team on the park. Shane Keogh coming off the bench is 18, Stephen Walsh is 19, and Sean Kelly has just turned 22. Yes we have Shaun Maher, Brian Cash, and Bobby Ryan, but outside of them, our players are inexperienced and young and that is showing.”
Galway’s squad is short on numbers and this was highlighted again when Derry were in town. Deprived of Gary Curran’s energy, Alan Murphy’s subtlety, and Joseph Yoffe’s work rate, Galway simply did not have the armoury to cope with the Candystripes.
Curran and Yoffe are long term casualties, but Connor believes the unfortunate fact that several of his players train elsewhere and the lack of craft in the final third are the central factors hampering the team’s development.
“We were three players down who have been in the starting XI. Alan Murphy, Gary Curran, and Joseph Yoffe are big players for us so we were down. Joseph Yoffe is going to be out for six weeks at least. You can go back and look at every game we have played so far and my opinion is that the difference has been the strikers on the park. It is frustrating because we have to play three players who don't train with us. They train with other sides because of the financial restraints we are under and that is not good or conducive to being successful.”
•Galway United Supporters’ Trust will be running a bus to Friday’s premier division match at the Carlisle Grounds, departing from Pillo Hotel, Headford Road, Galway at 4pm. To book a seat contact Sean Flaherty 087-9696358.
• The next home match is against Shamrock Rovers on Friday April 29, (7.35pm ). Match tickets are on sale from the Galway United office at Terryland Park and from O'Briens Newsagents, William Street, Galway. Adult tickets cost €12, with concessions €10, secondary school students €5, and family tickets (two adults and two secondary school students ) are €20. Accompanied u12s are free of charge.