Cup quarter-final kickstarts tough trio of fixtures for Galway

Jake Keegan, Galway FC, and Ciaran Coll of Finn Harps in action at Eamonn Deacy Park. 	  Photograph: 
Mike Shaughnessy

Jake Keegan, Galway FC, and Ciaran Coll of Finn Harps in action at Eamonn Deacy Park. Photograph: Mike Shaughnessy

With three matches in seven days, an important week looms for Galway FC, who travel to St Colman's Park tomorrow for a vital SSE Airtricity League first division encounter with Cobh Ramblers.

Next Tuesday Tommy Dunne's side face an EA Sports Cup quarter final contest at Ferrycarrig Park against Wexford Youths, while on Friday May 30 Galway embark on another journey to Tolka Park for a highly significant league tie with Shelbourne.

How Galway fare in these upcoming clashes will be revealing and interesting to monitor. Tough tests are coming thick and fast, so how Galway deal with the trips around the country carries huge importance.

The relevance of these assignments should not be underestimated as Galway seek to respond following two bitterly disappointing draws with Shamrock Rovers B and Finn Harps. Despite stitching a five-game unbeaten run together in the first division, Galway feel they should have posted more points during this spell.

There has been a solid cut to Galway's defence since March, but the Harps’ joust highlighted the need to be more clinical at the opposite end of the park. Currently nine points behind table-toppers Shelbourne, Galway are aware that nothing less than a victory will suffice in Cobh.

Martin Cambridge's Cobh have endured difficult moments in the opening two and a half months of the campaign. The statistics confirm just how much Cobh have struggled, so low confidence is an issue. When Cobh came to Eamonn Deacy Park at the beginning of last month they attempted to play a nice brand of football, but Galway were smart and efficient on that occasion with Ryan Manning's splendid goal decorating a comfortable success.

A key figure in that particular Galway triumph, Stephen Walsh, misses the upcoming Cobh and Wexford Youths' clashes through suspension which is a blow. Walsh's honesty and willingness to graft is vital to the Galway cause so the red card picked up at Tallaght Stadium is proving costly.

However there are reasons for optimism as Galway ready themselves for a defining stint. The spirited manner in which Galway have played suggests the squad is both organised and ambitious about making waves domestically. Clearly a work in progress, Galway have potential, but they know positive results need to be delivered in the coming weeks and months.

Connor Gleeson has registered five clean sheets in 11 matches, while Ger Hanley's two appearances between the sticks in the EA Sports Cup have also concluded with a couple of shut outs.

A team featuring the creative talents of Ryan Connolly and Ryan Manning is bound to craft opportunities. Taking an increased percentage of them is what Galway need to do quickly. While not as fluid as in previous games, Galway still had sufficient chances to defeat a plucky Finn Harps outfit, who battled admirably for so long with 10 men following the dismissal of Caoimhin Bonner.

Paul Sinnott did rescue a point for Galway with a last-gasp goal, ensuring Galway avoided a third defeat on home turf. Away from the Dyke Road venue Galway's record is mildly encouraging, winning one and drawing four of their five fixtures. Such a level of industry and application has to be demonstrated during the demanding schedule that awaits. Making a bold promotion bid is the aspiration so the full complement of spoils have to be pocketed down south tomorrow.


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