United need a dividend to brighten their dark hours

Galway United head into the final game tomorrow evening before the League Of Ireland's seasonal break charged with the task of taking a dividend from the side immediately above then on the premier league table when the team travels to Drogheda.

Sean Connor's side will be attempting to find some consolation following their collapse at home to league leaders Sligo Rovers.

Last Friday's 8 - 0 loss to Sligo Rovers in Terryland Park was the most depressing evening for Galway soccer since League of Ireland football became a reality in 1977. The emphatic nature of the defeat and the gap between the two sides made this a most bitter evening for Galway followers. Notwithstanding that Sligo Rovers are now an exceptional footballing side that boasts real claims for the league title - and that there was some comfort in seeing a decent attendance again in Terryland - home fans struggled to find any consolation.

The recurring run of previous defeats seeped into United's game last Friday and the gulf in experience, conditioning, and class was relentlessly exposed by the crack visiting side.

To the credit of the home support, they did not dessert the team and head for an early exit. The presence of so many ex-Galway stars in the Rovers ranks made the evening even more turbulent for United loyalists.

At this time of crisis it isdifficult to visualise where United can begin a fight-back to gain some credibility as a premier division outfit. Perhaps the visit to Drogheda tomorrow evening represents some kind of opportunity for fashioning a display that will take some of the toxins away from the Sligo debacle.

While United's defensive frailties are obvious, much of the difficulty comes from midfield where there has been limited possession garnered and a most nervous attempt at bringing real zest into the team's attacking play.

Expecting youngsters to compete every week on level par with seasoned professionals is a great deal to ask United's current squad, but sadly that is now their lot.

Drogheda won no points, but a huge amount of respect for their sterling efforts against Shamrock Rovers last Friday and they will see tomorrow's contest as a great chance to put further daylight between themselves and a struggling Galway outfit. Currently Drogheda enjoy a six-point advantage over United.

Mick Cooke has assembled a reasonable squad in his short time as Drogheda boss. Keeper Stephen Trimble, defenders Alan McNally and Philip Hand, midfielders Mark O' Brien and Lee Lynch, and front-runners Tiarnan Mulvenna and Dinnny Corcoran have been to the fore for the Louth side this seaon. Drogheda have only won once at home this season, but their display against the Hoops drew considerable plaudits.

Much depends this week on how Sean Connor has been able to recharge his young squad. Handed the skipper's armband, Alan Murphy's experience and motivational powers will be well tested. It is important that a much more competitive demeanour be injected into United's game. Knowing what is needed is not the same as being able to address the issue. Any dividend from tomorrow's game would be greatly appreciated.

Off the park, United's management committee and activists continue to battle with the club's financial demands. To that end the club is holding a Poker Classic in the Eglinton Casino, Eglinton Street, Galway, on Saturday, August 13. Entry fee is €50, with a guaranteed prize fund of €5,000. The Historical Walking Tours of Galway continue on Saturday, July 23, from The Spanish Arch (2.30pm ).


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