Galway United face a demanding four-day spell when hosting Bohemians in two important matches over the weekend.
On Friday Tommy Dunne’s improving side face the Gypsies in the SSE Airtricity League premier division, while on Monday an EA Sports Cup quarter-final is scheduled for the Dyke Road venue.
Dunne now wants United to build on a hugely satisfying success achieved over Derry City which featured goals from Padraic Cunningham and Jake Keegan last Friday evening.
“To go to the Brandywell and to pick up the three points was very pleasing,” Dunne says. “There aren’t many teams in the league that will beat Derry City as convincingly as we did on Friday.
“I’ve played for Derry City and I know how difficult it is to play there. It’s always a challenging venue and not many sides will pick up points there and Galway United don’t have the best record there. But I have to say, the players really were fantastic on the night.
“Everything was right, our attitude, the way we went about it, the work rate, the desire and the players' application. It all came together. I’ve said it from the start, there is a real integrity and honesty in this group of players.
“When you look back at the game, we didn’t start brilliantly, but after a nervy enough beginning, we were worthy winners on the night.”
Hit by injuries and suspensions, Dunne was thrilled how a reshaped Galway defence, marshalled by skipper Paul Sinnott, coped.
“Paul Sinnott filled in at centre half and he did fantastically well. He’s comfortable on the ball and he reads the game well. I thought he was brilliant over the course of the game. He wasn’t the only one either – right across the group, the work rate and desire was fantastic from the players.
“Gary Shanahan typifies what we’re all about. If you could bottle what Gary Shanahan has, then you’d be worth a few quid. He will run, and run and run. You can’t buy what you get from this group of players and that’s why I enjoy working with them. If we can continue to improve playing wise and fitness wise, we can do well.”
Now Dunne wants the sporting public in Galway to back his young squad, which continues to deliver wholehearted displays.
“I think these players deserve people to come out and support them. I guarantee for the price they pay into the ground, they’ll give their money’s worth.
“When I saw we got more than 3,500 for the play-off final against UCD, it disappoints me that we don’t get crowds like that at every home game. I think the boys deserve the support of the Galway people and when they do turn out, they’ll be pleasantly surprised."
New York native Keegan feels United should now target a top six finish.
“We spoke about how big the game was beforehand and we agreed that games like this can determine if we’re going to be near the bottom or up near Longford and Derry further up the table," Keegan says.
“First and foremost, our goal was to stay up, but in the last weeks we’ve won three out of five and things are definitely looking up. Now we’re more than confident that sixth could be a realistic goal for sure.”
Keegan is looking forward to the two clashes with Bohemians. “It’s a great opportunity for everyone. Hopefully we’ll get good crowds at Eamonn Deacy Park on both nights.
“Bohs are doing very well this year, they’re third now, it should be a difficult challenge, but one that I think we’re up to. We can build on the Derry City performance and get a couple of bodies back and hopefully get two good results.”