The start of the Airtricity League campaign is now only eight days away and Galway FC continue their preparations with two more friendlies against Mervue United at Fahy's Field this evening (7.15pm ) and UCD at Drom on Saturday afternoon (3pm ).
It has been an impressive and encouraging pre-season period for Galway FC, who have defeated three premier division sides in Sligo Rovers, Dundalk, and Athlone Town with decent footballing displays being produced. Manager Tommy Dunne's methods have drawn a positive response from the players and the respect is proving to be mutual.
Dunne is delighted with the graft his squad has demonstrated since the middle of January.
“Overall the work rate of the players, the general play, I think they are all buying into what we are trying to do,” Dunne says. “I'm happy enough with the commitment and the level of play. It can be better - there is work to be done, but the boys are enjoying it. They are happy and they are encouraged that we want them to play the right way, but you have got to be able to win too.”
Last Saturday's 1-0 triumph over Athlone Town at Eamonn Deacy Park supplied further evidence of Galway FC's willingness to pass the ball with nice approach play.
“I thought the boys did quite well - some of our play was good at times. You can play all the good football and can create chances, but if you are giving away soft goals by being sloppy, people will get disillusioned fairly quickly about what we are trying to do, so we have to keep doing things the right way. It was another good workout.
“We have picked up a few injuries which is disappointing, with Marc Ludden and Vinny Faherty. We already have two suspended for the first game against Longford anyway, so from that aspect it is disappointing.”
Stephen Walsh, who landed the winning goal against Athlone, and the immensely promising Ryan Manning, will serve bans carried over from 2013 for the Longford fixture which is a blow.
“Things can change quickly with injuries so you have to be ready,” Dunne says when asked whether he was close to selecting his match day squad for the Longford encounter.
Dunne is pleased his squad had another opportunity to perform at the Dyke Road venue when defeating Athlone. “The game was a really good workout for us. It was nice to get it because I feel it is important to play at your home ground. You need to get used to the surroundings. At different times I've found that players play differently in different pitches, so it is good that the boys are getting used to it.
“I think, especially in the second half, we didn't look under too much pressure. In the first half there were a couple of incidences and we just have to eradicate them, the little mistakes. It is not the opposition creating, it was us making mistakes.
“You don't want to give the opposition teams easy goals. If they cut you open with good play and score good goals, you say fair enough, but from sloppiness, no, we are not looking for that. Going into the Longford match we are still under no illusions we will be underdogs.”
Galway FC's performance drew favourable comments from Athlone Town boss Mick Cooke, who expects the Airtricity League newcomers to be in the promotion mix. “I think Galway FC will be contenders,” Cooke said.
“Tommy is very astute, he brought Cork up from the first division. He knows what he has to do. He has brought in some excellent players and I think they will give it a right go. It would be nice to see Galway in the premier division having played here myself for many years. From what I've heard and seen, I think Galway FC will be in the mix.”