After suffering a disappointing defeat to Longford Town Galway FC, manager Tommy Dunne wants his team to 'bounce back' immediately in tomorrow evening’s SSE Airtricity League first division at the RSC against Waterford United.
Following the 3-0 Longford loss a critical clash looms for the Tribesmen and Dunne is seeking an instant response. “We have to bounce back. It is as simple and straightforward as that,” he says. “We were not happy with how it went against Longford. We were flat, I thought the whole ground seemed flat, the supporters and the team.
"They were waiting for us to get them going and we were possibly waiting for them to get us going. In saying that as a team you have to create your own atmosphere. When you concede a bad goal like the one we conceded, you’re giving yourself an uphill climb.”
Don Cowan punished a lapse in concentration after nine minutes and, just when Galway appeared to be acquiring momentum, Longford skipper Mark Salmon struck a delightful volley from distance. In the second period Gary Shaw sealed the deal with Longford's third, so Dunne is demanding Galway take something from the trip southeast.
“We have to get focused to get back into the swing of things,” Dunne says. “We’ve fallen further behind Shelbourne, but we still have to play them twice. We have to play Longford once. Longford are the ones in the driving seat. We have to go to Waterford trying to get three points. It was a bad start to the third phase, but we have to get something in Waterford now.”
Galway's attacking options have been bolstered by the midweek signing of Enda Curran, who could emerge as a key figure in Dunne's squad. Curran, 22, has already featured domestically for Galway United, Mervue United, Salthill Devon, Athlone Town, and Derry City so is well aware of what is required at this level.
Last year Curran was excellent in the Salthill shirt before switching to Athlone where he played an important role in the midlanders' promotion-winning campaign. Curran can be clinical in the area converting opportunities so Dunne will trust his latest addition can keep Galway in contention at the business end of the table.
“We played some really good stuff in the first half,” says Dunne. “ We got into some great areas of the pitch and probably had more chances than Longford, but if you give up a soft goal like we did for the first goal, a basic defensive header, and you don’t defend it, then that’s what happens. The dynamic of the game changes.
“You then have to go and chase the game which I thought we were doing quite well in the first half. We were creating chances without being too open and then I suppose it’s a wonder strike that makes it 2-0. In the second half we never got going, we didn’t defend properly over the course of the 90 minutes."
Ensuring Galway are mentally tuned in for every challenge is something Dunne is keen to work on. “I think we had too many players that just weren’t at the pitch of the game against Longford, we didn’t have that urgency. Teams that are going to be there or thereabouts or going to be contending for leagues at any level have to be at it all the time. The week we had, training was OK, but I just sensed we didn’t have that urgency about us. Yes you have a rest, you let your body recover, but in your mind you still need to be tuned in.
“We were probably better than Longford for most of the game. That doesn’t win you matches, it’s about not conceding and scoring goals, and in that department Longford were better than us, simple.”
While the Longford reversal was a blow Galway will still make the long trek Suirside attempting to replicate the dash displayed just before the mid-season break. Curran's capture is a statement of intent ahead of a tricky contest that will be revealing.