Mervue must withstand Athlone challenge

Johnny Glynn's Mervue United return to Fahy's Field tomorrow evening charged with getting back to winning ways against Athlone Town, while Salthill Devon have a stiff test Leeside against high-flying Cork City.

Athlone saw off the challenge of Wexford Youths by 2-0 last week. That win places the Midlanders just a point behind Mervue on the league table. Their last visit to Galway saw them defeat Salthill by the same scoreline. Their youthful squad has been boosted by the signing of goalie Brian Collopy from Fairview Rangers. Mike Kerley will assuredly have his side primed for tomorrow's engagement.

While there was no dividend from the trip to Limerick last Friday, Mervue still posted a creditable performance that won them real respect.The team back on Mervue soil will be more than determined to ensure that another substantial display earns them the three points. The form of Ger Hanley, Tom King, Mark Ludden, Martin Conneelly, Kevin Crehan and Rory Gaffney suggests the Mervuemen should be strong enough to withstand the visiting challenge.

Devon's return to action in Cork after last weekend's break sees them pitted against an accomplished Cork City outfit that successfully negotiated its way over the challenge of Finn Harps last Saturday. Despite failing to convert a penalty in the first half, two second-half Shane Duggan goals saw them move into joint second place. A side featuring the talents of Mark McNulty, Greg O Halloran, Derek O Brien, Vinny Sullivan and Graham Cummins must be accorded every respect.

Manager Paul McGee can draw on such able footballers as Ronan Forde, James Whelan, Gearoid O Leidhinn, Ronan Quinlan and Colm Horgan in his bid to coax a serious display from the Seasiders who could certainly do with a break at this point of the seaon.

The presence of such able youngsters as Jason Lyons and Timmy Molloy in first division action indicates that the Salthill boss is not averse to drawing from the club's youth ranks as the need or occasion arises. Few understand the Cork footballing lore better than the wily ex Irish international and he can be expected to have his lads well up for the City match.

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