United’s solid start boosts promotion bid

Whether a good start can be half the battle for Galway FC remains to be seen, but there is a sense Tommy Dunne's side is beginning to believe that an SSE Airtricity League first division promotion bid is possible.

As Galway continue to produce clever footballing displays, those following the team home and away are encouraged by the recent evidence. The most impressive performances and results so far have been on the road where the wins over Shelbourne in the League and UCD in the FAI Ford Cup confirmed the promise of this Galway outfit.

Even when Galway were not at their fluid best, Dunne's youngsters were still able to earn the full complement of spoils from Friday's encounter with Wexford Youths.

“It was very hard fought and I don’t think anybody is surprised at that,” was Dunne's verdict. “I think Wexford Youths are a team that are going to be there or thereabouts right at the end.

“We looked like the travelling over four away matches might have caught up on us and in the second half we looked like we were struggling a bit at times. I have to say Wexford are well drilled, but still we were a threat and the great thing is that we always pose a threat, no matter what way the game seems to be going and we showed that.”

One of the most unheralded aspects of the new club is that locals are contributing handsomely. Galwegians from every corner of the county and those with serious pedigree in other codes are the mainstays of the current set up.

The desire Galway continue to show is encouraging for Dunne, who highlighted goalkeeper Connor Gleeson's contribution to the Wexford triumph. “We possibly could have killed the game off, now Connor Gleeson pulled off a fantastic save, point blank, but that’s why he’s there. He’s worked hard and he’s done well and we’re delighted that he got his just rewards.

“It’s great going into the break having picked up another three points, the boys can go away now and have a bit of a rest, not too much, there’s a bit of work that they’ll have to do over the break just to keep themselves ticking over. If they can get a bit of sun and some rest it should bode well for the second half of the season.”

Another key contributor for Galway has been Ryan Connolly and Dunne reckons the Ballyglass native is developing nicely. “We’ve encouraged Ryan, people have been saying we’ve been short on bodies getting into the box, but we’ve worked on that and in fairness to Ryan he joined in with the play well, it was a well worked goal and a good finish from Stephen Walsh .”

Setbacks have occurred, the opening night loss to Longford Town was disappointing considering a large crowd had watch Galway compete valiantly. Then there was a cruel last-minute defeat to Shels in April. There was also the concession of a stoppage-time goal at the City Calling Stadium when Stephen Rice pounced at the death to nick a point for Longford. That was another game illuminated by the skill of Ryan Manning, who has been watched by representatives of Everton throughout the past 18 months.

How Galway have responded to the blows is a testament to the spirit Dunne, Leo Tierney, and Alan Murphy have cultivated. Staying true to their passing principles has enabled Galway's journey to develop. When the action recommences next week on Friday June 27 when an expensively assembled Longford visit the west again, Galway will be accompanied by equal measures of hope and expectation.


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