Home win could edge Mervue closer to the top

Boosted by an encouraging draw with Waterford United, Johnny Glynn's Mervue United host Finn Harps in a crucial first division encounter tomorrow evening.

In a highly competitive league, only four points separate Waterford United in third and Harps in sixth, so there is plenty to play for at Fahy's Field.

A home win could edge the Galwegians ahead of Waterford in the standings and Glynn's charges were safe and solid in the south east last weekend.

For the past 15 months Mervue have repeatedly eked out decent results against Waterford and they produced another gritty, rearguard action to disturb the Suirsiders once again. Despite a mixed start to the campaign Waterford still feel that promotion is a distinct possibility, particularly with new signing Conor Meade, who had been prolific in the Cobh Ramblers shirt.

Meade had a goal disallowed during an initial burst of Waterford pressure, but Mervue coped well, protecting talented goalkeeper Conor Glesson. At the back Martin Conneely was composed, while the diligence of Michael McSweeney, Marc Ludden, and Noel Varley carried significance too.

Inevitably Ryan Manning was a threat up top and the exciting teenager was unfortunate not to poke a winner for Mervue.

Harps, disappointed to be sixth position, having only won five out of 17 fixtures at this level, need to stitch a sequence of victories together, but they have the pace and potential to do just that.

It promises to be an open and attractive clash with the two teams craving the full complement of spoils to inject urgency and momentum into their respective campaigns.

Though Salthill Devon have endured an exacting couple of weeks with the departures of several key contributors, Jumbo Brennan's side was still able to defeat Wexford Youths at Drom on Friday.

Salthill now make the short trip across the M6 to Lissywoolen for a match with Athlone Town, who are very much involved at the business end of the table.

A freak first half versus Wexford, which was dripping with goals and drama, showcased the promise of former Bray Wanderers attacker Graham Kelly, who continues to impress and improve for Salthill.

Jakub Tomanica and Jamie McGlynn had already left Salthill before news filtered through during the week that the influential Derek O'Brien had signed for promotion-chasing Longford Town. So relevant when Salthill tussled with Longford recently, O'Brien did enough to secure a deal with the midlanders, who look premier division bound.

Brennan, though, has been busy attempting to bolster his options with Dan Cunningham and Oscar Sibanda featuring in the success over Wexford. Ronan Forde, Colm Horgan, Mixie Harty, and Jean Biansumba were others to catch the eye for Salthill, who were prompted by Kelly, who notched a brilliant brace.

Now Salthill face a tricky assignment at Lissywoolen tomorrow against Roddy Collins' Athlone Town outfit, who trail Longford by four points.

Salthill have been gaining in hope and confidence over the past two months, narrowing their own gap on Cobh to three. Avoiding another last placed finish is the objective for Salthill and there is evidence to suggest it is a mission they can accomplish.

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