Cup action offers United a welcome respite from league misery

Galway United, experiencing their most worrying spell in two decades, will take a welcome and much-needed break from league action this weekend as they head to Oriel Parkfor a testing FAI Cup clash with Dundalk on Sunday.

Ten top-flight losses in a row ensure Galway are rooted to the bottom of the table and they now are low on hope and confidence.

Losing by six goals against a rampant Eamon Zayed-inspired Derry City offered a harsh reminder of how tough life can be at this level and Galway will need a vast improvement if they are to be competitive with Dundalk.

The Lilywhites, beaten in the Setanta Cup decider by Shamrock Rovers last month, are a similar outfit to Derry in that they can pass and like to probe from wide areas. Daniel Kearns and Ross Gaynor are among the most effective wingers in the division and Galway must defend in numbers and with desire if they are to frustrate the locals.

Dundalk manager Ian Foster is relishing the opportunity of preparing the Louth side for a collision with one of his old clubs.

“It’s always nice to play in the cup competitions. It’s obviously disappointing that we’re playing another team from our division - you always want to play somebody different. But we want to be successful in the cup competitions. We’ve already got to one cup final, the players have had a taste of it. We have a difficult game against Galway United. Form goes out the window. But we’re looking forward to it. We’re the home team, it will be a little bit different playing on a Sunday afternoon, and we’ll be desperately trying to win the game.”

Foster knows Galway will end their wretched run at some stage. “We just hope it’s not against us. We’re desperate to get through to the next round of the cup. You see it in FA Cups right across the world - teams from lower divisions beat higher teams – there are always giant killings. It will certainly be nothing like that because Galway are in our division and they’ll be coming to Oriel Park trying to get a result.”

Galway's two matches with Dundalk in 2011 have both ended in wins for Foster's team, but the Tribesmen certainly gave them a real scare at Oriel Park in March. A powerful, late header from Shane Guthrie ensured Galway left empty handed and in the most recent encounter at Terryland Park set pieces were again the problem for United.

Teenage centre half Michael Hector, recently handed a new contract by Reading for his exploits during a loan stint with Dundalk, was the reason Galway took nothing from that game either, bagging a rare brace, his first goals in senior football.

Torched in the Brandywell, Galway will be subscribing to the theory that anything can happen in cup football. Greg Fleming must be given sufficient protection and dealing with Dundalk's pacy free and corner kicks will carry deep importance.

Galway have to be busy in the centre of the park and being clinical in front of goal too is another prerequisite, but with Mikey Gilmore providing energy and enthusiasm in attack, the home rearguard will not be given too much peace, space or time to dwell on the ball. It is that type of never-say-die attitude that is required if Galway are to get out of this utterly miserable slump.

• Galway United Supporters’ Trust is running a bus to Sunday’s FAI Cup third round match at Oriel Park, departing the Pillo Hotel, Headford Road, Galway, at 10am. To book a seat contact Sean Flaherty 087-9696358.


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