It has been a particularly demanding season for Salthill Devon, who will be eager to deliver a promising result at Drom on Saturday evening against Monaghan United.
Roddy Collins' team is heavily involved at the right end of the table and currently sit in third place - only two points behind Shelbourne, who host Mervue United tomorrow night.
Monaghan have only lost one of their six away encounters, suffering at Mervue's hands in Fahy's Field, but, having won three, Collins' side is able to register results on the road.
Salthill have lost a couple of players to the lure of a summer in the USA, and Cian Fadden and Cian McBrien were sorely missed last Saturday during the surprise FAI Cup defeat to Sheriff YC.
Repeatedly burned by Sheriff's physicality at set pieces, Salthill departed the competition despite a late Paddy Quinlan goal. Manager Paul McGee is doing his utmost to keep Salthill competitive and the switch of James Whelan into a central midfield role does provide a solid anchor.
Elsewhere Eugene Greaney, Enda Dunne, Ciprian Straut, and Etanda Nkololo will need to contribute handsomely if a sixth loss on Galwegian soil in 2011 is to be avoided.
Mervue were eventually beaten by a late flurry of Drogheda United goals in the FAI Cup and another testing trip to the capital awaits them now.
Alan Matthews has Shelbourne organised and efficient since the outset of the campaign and the Dubliners have only been defeated once in a dozen fixtures. That type of resilience is the trademark of Matthews' teams and Mervue will need to show that kind of resolve if they are to leave the Drumcondra venue with something.
Johnny Glynn's charges still sit in sixth place, which is a reasonable achievement, and Mervue will need Martin Conneely, Tom King, Rory Gaffney, and Jason Molloy to maintain their decent form.
Derek Crowe Memorial
• The annual Derek Crowe Memorial six-a-side soccer league will take place on July 16/17 at McHugh Avenue in Mervue.
This will be the 16th year of this popular competition in memory of the former Mervue and Galway United player. All teams are guaranteed at least three games in Saturday's league format.
This year’s competition will once again be limited to the first 64 teams. Entry fee is €80 per team. Entry forms for the tournament are currently available from the Mervue United clubhouse, Fahy’s Field, Sportskit (Mike Buckley ), and Great Outdoors, or online at www.mervueunited.com Teams can also enter online by e-mailing their entry to [email protected]. The closing date for entries is Friday July 8.
Full details on the tournament are also available online at www.mervueunited.com