Galway FC take a two-goal lead to Tolka Park for tomorrow evening's SSE Airtricity League promotion-play off second leg, but manager Tommy Dunne insists the Tribesmen will not adopt a defensive approach at the Drumcondra venue.
Last Friday at Eamonn Deacy Park, Galway produced a polished performance, admirably dealing with Shelbourne's challenge as a Ryan Connolly penalty and a fine Gary Shanahan strike sealed a hugely encouraging success. Dunne arranged his team thoughtfully, with Paul Sinnott and Alex Byrne supplying plenty of midfield bite, allowing Connolly to influence the match impressively further up the park.
Although Galway hold a commanding advantage, Dunne insists his team need to be 'cute in the way we play' in order to thwart the Dubliners.
“I don’t think that’s the right way to approach the game by being too defensive, you’re looking for trouble,” says Dunne. “In saying that, we’re not going to be outrageously attacking either. We’ve got to be cute in the way we play.
“Shelbourne have to come at us, that’s OK, we will have to defend properly, but also it might give us some opportunities to attack. The guys are confident, we’re fit and we’re strong which is important. I think going there with 2-0 is fine just as long as we don’t get complacent and we don’t sit on the 2-0. We need to go to try to win the match.”
The stylish manner in which Galway controlled vast chunks of the opening encounter bodes well, but Dunne is adamant the tie is only at 'half-time' now.
“The performance was good and I thought we were the stronger team throughout the match, but we were playing at home, so we expect that. It’s only half time. We go to Tolka Park and they will be coming after us. I’m not trying to be negative. In football people always say 2-0 is the worst lead you can have, but in saying that, we will take that going to Tolka.
“We’ve just got to be positive, play our normal game to try to win the match. We’ve got to try to play the game on its merits, defend properly and attack properly and see what the outcome is.”
Galway's attack, set up with Shanahan and Ryan Manning prominent out wide and Connolly stitching the play behind Jake Keegan, had Shels in some bother. “I thought Gary Shanahan was unlucky, he possibly could have had one or two more throughout the evening,” Dunne reflected. “He got into good areas of the pitch. Ryan Connolly could have had one or two as well. It was nice to get the second goal, I think our play and domination and chances deserved that at least.”
Sinnott and Byrne dovetailed nicely in the centre of the park as Galway seized the initiative early on and Dunne was delighted with how the match unfolded. “It was important that we got as much of the midfield play as Shelbourne did. I found in previous games against Shelbourne, especially here, that we lost out once or twice in the midfield area because they had the extra man.”
Galway will be striving to record another positive result to earn a promotion-relegation play-off decider against either UCD or Athlone Town. Having only lost once away from home in the first division in 2014, Galway know what it takes to be safe and solid on the road. The same type of attitude and application must continue to be shown in the capital because Shels will be primed for this crucial battle.
•Galway United Supporters Trust will be running a bus to Friday’s first division play-off second leg at Tolka Park, leaving The Dail Bar, Middle Street, Galway at 4pm. Contact Ronan 087-6972823 or Dominick at 087-9163438.