By Cian O’Connell
Galway FC's SSE Airtricity League first division campaign continues with a testing trip to the RSC tomorrow for a clash with Waterford United (7.45pm ).
Despite suffering a 1-0 defeat in Friday's opener against Longford Town, Tommy Dunne's side took plenty of positives from that tight contest, and with nine changes for Tuesday's EA Sports Cup first-round tie with the Mayo League, Galway secured the win with goals from Marty Owens and Jake Keegan.
Waterford drew their fixture at Ballybofey last weekend so Dunne is looking forward to the examination in the southeast now.
“We know it will be a tough match in the RSC. Waterford is a good side with a lot of good players coming back in,” Dunne says. “Waterford got a good away draw against Finn Harps, and from what I was told, they were the better side in Donegal.
“ We are starting to get near where we want to be and we are starting to produce better performances. A lot of the team from the Longford game were rested, so we should be fine for Friday.”
Derek O'Brien, Stephen Walsh, and Republic of Ireland schools captain Ryan Manning were suspended for the Longford clash, but all made an impact in Tuesday's success over Mayo. Manning's skill and O'Brien's ability to fashion opportunities were evident so Dunne was encouraged.
“The level of the performance kept going right through the second half against Mayo and we took our goals quite well.
“It is good to have options. Derek got a good 70 minutes. Jason Molloy was carrying a bit of a knock at the start, but we started him, hopefully he will be OK.
“Mayo were competitive and they had a right go at us, but over the course of the game, we had a lot of good chances. We probably had two or three clear-cut chances in the first half that we just didn't take.”
One of the most pleasing aspects for Dunne has been the defiant manner in which his team has defended in its first two fixtures. On Friday Connor Gleeson was given plenty of protection by a back four that featured diligent displays from Colm Horgan, Martin Conneely, Ross Kenny, and Marc Ludden. For the Mayo encounter custodian Ger Hanley was solid behind a unit marshalled by Cian Fadden and Mike Elwood. Dunne was satisfied following the Mayo League triumph.
“I thought the back four and Ger Hanley did quite well. Our general play was good at the back. Cian Fadden and Mike Elwood were very good starting the game with Hanley. It was a pleasing evening overall against Mayo. It was a good, competitive match in which we had to keep our concentration from start to finish. That isn't a bad thing either.
“For next Friday there could be one or two changes and I don't think it will affect the strength of the team.”