With FAI Ford Cup action taking centre stage domestically, Galway FC do not have a fixture this weekend, which is a pity considering how well Tommy Dunne’s side performed when defeating Shamrock Rovers B at Tallaght Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
Inspired by a dynamic Jake Keegan display, Galway cruised to a convincing 3-0 victory over a very much in form Hoops outfit.
Colin Hawkins’ shrewd work with Rovers’ second string has them viewed as a competent and competitive outfit at this level, but Galway summoned a polished performance which pleased Dunne.
“It’s no coincidence that Rovers had won three games in a row, we knew it was going to be tough, but on our performance – that’s the best we’ve been all year,” said Dunne.
“Attackingwise, defensively, we were really good. To me, that’s the most important thing. We got the three goals, the three points, and a good performance.
"We knew it was going to be a difficult day. They had a sprinkling of good players coming down from the first team. Ciaran Kilduff on his day is as good a striker as anyone in Ireland and I thought our two centre halves did really well against him.”
What encouraged Dunne most of all, though, was the manner in which Galway battled from start to end. “The best thing for me was we were solid as a team,” Dunne reflected. “Once we’re solid that’s the most important thing because I do think we’re good enough to create chances and score goals, but sometimes I think it’s been our Achilles heel that we’ve let in too many, and we looked a lot more solid against Rovers on Sunday.
“Rovers are a threat. Chris Lyons is a seasoned performer in the premier division, never mind the first division, and Ciaran Kilduff also, so overall from that aspect we’re just delighted that we were solid, it was great."
New York native Keegan brought his seasonal league account to 10 goals and Dunne hopes Galway can retain the promising attacker’s services for next season. “Jake has been fantastic since the start,” Dunne said. “He’s come in as an outsider to League of Ireland football. The basic requirement of any player is work rate and, if you’re talking about somebody who epitomises work rate, it’s Jake Keegan.
“He’s somebody we would love to keep and we’ll be looking to. He could become a hero for people in Galway. ”
On Saturday week, September 20, Galway face an awkward assignment against a durable and improving Finn Harps. All three league collisions between the teams have ended level, but Keegan feels a Galway victory would maintain the promotion drive.
“We’ve won three league games in a row, we want to push on,” Keegan said. “We’ve drawn with Finn Harps in all three games in the league, so if we can get a win up in Eamonn Deacy Park in two weeks, then it will be great for us to put a bit of space between ourselves and Wexford before the last game of the season.”
The upcoming tussles with Finn Harps, Cobh Ramblers, Shelbourne, and Wexford Youths carry significance, but Galway, gaining confidence and momentum, have already posted three wins in the final series of fixtures as another interesting month looms.