There is no denying it has been a truly horrific campaign for Galway United in every possible way, and another awkward Friday evening awaits at Terryland Park when Dundalk will provide formidable attacking opposition.
With strikers Mark Quigley, Jason Byrne, and youngster Mark Griffin all capable of finding the range, Galway can expect a tough test as Dundalk will be keen to eke out a win that can edge them closer to a top five finish.
Galway’s miserable losing streak stands at 23 games and there was little evidence provided at Richmond Park last Saturday that this run will end anytime soon. Only 80 seconds had elapsed when a Seanie O’Connor goal commenced the latest rout, and from that early stage the only thing that needed to be determined was the margin of the Saints’ victory.
By the time Paul Sinnott netted a late consolation goal Pat’s had already bagged six so a huge amount of damage had been done. All the good work when threatening Shamrock Rovers a fortnight previously was forgotten as Galway’s confidence levels were battered once more.
Now they face a Dundalk outfit which has the potential to create chances with a tidy passing approach. With Quigley, Byrne, and the talented Griffin around, Galway will need to produce a vastly improved defensive display, but that seems to be a challenge which cannot be reached.
Obviously problems exist elsewhere too as Galway’s midfield continues to be outmuscled and outthought. To have conceded 85 goals in 28 games shows remarkable ineptitude and Dundalk appear to be exactly the type of team to profit.
Gareth Gorman’s removal from the coaching staff was the latest unfortunate chapter in a year sprinkled with damaging moments. It has been such a traumatic spell for all associated with Galway United and the rebuilding task can certainly be classed as monumental.
Crumbs of comfort are hard to locate, but there have been nuggets of promise in the recent displays of Korean’s Yob Son and Jin Gu Kim. Chang Yeob Kim, Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to Ireland, will be attending the Dundalk encounter to mark the fact that his two compatriots are League of Ireland footballers.
Son, who celebrated his 21st birthday yesterday, is a versatile performer able to operate at the back or in the centre of the park. Aggressive and willing to attack the ball, Son’s aerial prowess will be needed in the remaining weeks of the campaign, especially in a tense play-off clash with a high-flying first division outfit.
Kim, a dead ball specialist, is comfortable on either wing and has offered glimpses of his skill, but, with Galway ailing elsewhere, getting enough service to the wide men has been a lingering problem. Considering that Galway spend most matches battling to contain onslaughts, it has been almost impossible for any of the attack minded footballers in the squad to perform.
Unfortunately that stark fact is unlikely to alter quickly, but Galway know that a play-off is imminent. Even though it is eight weeks away, Galway will need to be far more effective and efficient if they are to be competitive in that defining two-legged tie.
•Galway United will be holding its next Maroon Army draw at Friday evening’s home match at Terryland Park (7.45pm ). First prize in the draw is €500, with two runners-up prizes of €100. Application forms for the Maroon Army are available on-line at www.galwayunitedfc.ie, and from Ronan Coleman087-69722823. Galway United is re-launching the lotto draw on Tuesday September 13 at The Arches Hotel, Claregalway (7.30pm ). The jackpot will start at €2,000. Lotto tickets are available from the club office at (091-767336, from The Arches, from sellers around the city and county, and at the Dundalk match. The open market and car boot sale continues at Terryland Park this Saturday from 10am. Trading fee for cars is €5, vans and larger vehicles €10.