Spirited performance heartens Connor as focus turns to play-offs

Galway United's Gin Gu Kim and Shamrock Rovers’ Enda Stevens in action from the Airtricity League premier division game at Terryland Park on Sunday evening.   Photo:-Mike Shaughnessy

Galway United's Gin Gu Kim and Shamrock Rovers’ Enda Stevens in action from the Airtricity League premier division game at Terryland Park on Sunday evening. Photo:-Mike Shaughnessy

As Galway United have no further interest in the FAI Cup this weekend. there is no competitive fixture scheduled for Sean Connor's team, which took some plaudits from Sunday's thrilling tussle with champions Shamrock Rovers.

Despite a significantly improved performance, Galway still departed from Terryland Park pointless as their losing streak now stands at an incredible 22 matches in all competitions. Galway were spirited against the Hoops and a splendid goalkeeping display from Connor Winn kept the scoreline respectable.

It was a strange encounter as Rovers were forced to stage a recovery mission as Galway's passion surprised them. Michael O'Neill, the highly regarded Hoops’ boss, was effusive in his praise for the westerners' grit and determination.

"We had numerous chances and 3-2 was probably kind to Galway in the end, but, to be fair to Galway, I thought they played with great spirit. It is nice to see that because Sean [Connor] has not had the easiest of times here, but at least he can take some sort of comfort from the fact that his team are playing for him and there was no doubt that his team were playing for him."

Seeing that kind of pride will encourage Connor, who is already planning and plotting for a November relegation play-off even though a full series of league fixtures remain. "We just have to focus on the play-offs now,” Connor says, “ and getting some sort of consistency with our team selection. We need to get confidence and I think we are beginning to get some.

"It is not going to be easy in the play-off because they will be massive, big pressure games. We had one last year and mentally we are there so that has probably taken some of the pressure out of the league games. We need to continue this kind of form and commitment so we can pick up some results and show some form, that is crucial.

"You would like to think the level of football we have been playing at gives us a little bit of an advantage. The only thing in the back of my mind is that you are playing a team that is winning and has a winning mentality, but they haven't been playing at this standard of football. Irrespective of what people think, there is a huge gap between the premier and the first divisions. If we get a win and a couple of draws, it would help us a lot."

Connor also believes the July transfer window additions have strengthened Galway's cause and is hoping the run of defeats will stop soon with the reinforcements’ help.

"I thought the performance against Shamrock Rovers was worthy of a point and it is frustrating that all our good effort went to waste. It was a tremendously spirited performance. When you think of everything the players have been through here and all the nonsense we have to put up with over the last few weeks, the players have answered the critics. I think we have done that over the last three or four performances and getting the extra bodies in has helped. We have a bit more of a settled squad now even though I still haven't picked the same team two weeks running, but I was delighted with the effort.

"It was the first time in 15 weeks where I had the full complement on the bench and left players out of the squad. It was the first time in a long time I felt I had options on the bench who could have an effect on the game. To have Mikey Gilmore, Bobby Ryan to come on, Sean Kelly sitting on the bench, we had options which is rare for us."

Galway United - car boot sale

Galway United is hosting a car boot sale at Terryland Park this Saturday, August 27, from 10am. Trading fee is €5 for cars, €10 for vans or larger traders. For further information, contact the club office 091-767336 . Galway United is also holding a general knowledge table quiz in Crowes Bar, Bohermore, next Thursday, September 1 at 9pm. Entry fee is €40 per table of four. The August "Maroon Army" members draw will be held at the next home match, against Dundalk in Terryland Park on Friday September 9. First prize is €500, with two runners-up prizes of €100.

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