United aim to build on positive start to new league season

Galway United make the trip to the spiritual home of Irish football tomorrow evening for what promises to be an interesting SSE Airtricity League premier division encounter with Bohemians at Dalymount Park.

Throughout the years United have enjoyed plenty of memorable evenings at the Phibsboro venue, but manager Tommy Dunne is expecting a demanding assignment against the Gypsies, who thumped Limerick FC at Jackman Park last Saturday.

Galway also suffered when allowing Derry City to stage a come-from-behind 2-1 victory at Eamonn Deacy Park on Friday, but Dunne's side outfoxed Finn Harps 3-2 in a lively EA Sports Cup clash on Monday. That pleased Dunne, who believes Keith Long's Bohemian side possesses plenty of guile.

“Finn Harps are physical, they played a lot of long balls in on top of us, so it was going to be one in which we had to defend as best as we possibly could,” said Dunne of the Harps triumph. “I thought the goals we conceded could have been avoided, but overall we are in the next round which is important.

“Friday night is another big game going up to Dublin. I think it will be a different type of game to the Harps one. No disrespect to Finn Harps, but Bohs will have that little bit more guile, they will have players testing you in different aspects of the game.

“I would commend Finn Harps, who look a strong outfit again. They were a strong outfit last year and they look so again this year physically. Bohs will be a test so we have to be up for it and ready for it. We will be.”

Having played two competitive matches Dunne believes United can make progress in the coming weeks and months. “We have a bit to do, we need to improve a lot on certain aspects of our game, but overall we are pleased and positive with a lot of things too.

“Alex Byrne, Jay Molloy, Cormac Raferty, and Padraic Cunningham got more game time which will bring them up to speed. The main thing for me is that we are in the next round of the cup and we picked up no injuries.”

Commanding centre-half Sam Oji was taken off as a precautionary measure in the Harps tie and Dunne hopes American defender Kevin Garcia will be available soon once a work permit is granted. “Sam's quad was a little bit tight, so we didn’t want to take any chances. Andy [O'Connell] came in and he did well. We are going to have plenty of competition for places. We have guys who can step in when needed.

“Kevin Garcia is getting ready to come into the group, he will give us another option. Steadily, but surely we are getting there. The important thing against Harps was to get the result, we can tidy up on a few bits and pieces.”

With Padraic Cunningham, Gary Shanahan, and Jake Keegan all scoring in the Harps triumph United attacked brightly with Dunne praising Jason Molloy's splendid left wing contribution. “I thought Jay Molloy was excellent,” Dunne admitted. “Some of his footwork and his deliveries into the box were great. There is no question about his ability, we have always said that.

“It is just to get him up to the physical aspect of the Premier Division. If we can get him to that we will have a real player. If we can get him to the physical power and strength he deserves to be and we want him to be at that would be great. He has been working really hard, I’m delighted by how he is working both in the gym and on the pitch. He had a niggle in pre-season, but he is coming out the other side of that.”

Versatile native New Yorker Jake Keegan continues to impress regardless of whatever role Dunne asks him to fill. Keegan featured on the left in the Derry loss and as a central striker in the Harps win underlining his ability. “We are happy to get into the next round,” Keegan remarked about Monday's success. “It was a decent enough performance in the first half, we struggled a little in the second, but we pulled through in the end.”


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