With each passing week every SSE Airtricity League premier division clash seems to be increasing in importance - thus Saturday’s Showgrounds clash between Sligo Rovers and Galway United can certainly be classed as crucial.
Despite producing a plucky performance, United’s set piece frailties were once again exposed by Shamrock Rovers, who claimed victory at Eamonn Deacy Park on Friday evening.
United manager Tommy Dunne admitted it was a disappointing outcome.
“I am afraid it is a familiar story for us to be truthful,” Dunne said. “From my point of view to come in after the break against a top side was tough. Early on in the game I thought Rovers were sharper in the game and were a little bit stronger.
“As the game wore on we did better in the first half, but I’m afraid to say our Achilles heel this year has been set pieces. It has cost us again. To be honest, it is more to do with concentration, fellas switching off - it can be a bit of complacency and a lack of professionalism and discipline.
“That is what is costing us in games. We are there or thereabouts with everybody. Until such time as we eradicate those basic set piece issues we will have a problem. I know it takes a bit of time to get used to this type of thing, but it is a case of sink or swim. It is at the stage of the season where that type of thing, if we keep doing it, will put us in trouble.”
Against Cork City recently United delivered a similar display which was not rewarded with any points – an issue which bothers Dunne.
“We got a great start to the second half, not too dissimilar to the Cork situation, but again the set plays let us down. If you can’t defend a set piece, then you have a problem.”
Former Corofin United and Athenry attacker Colm O’Donovan, who only signed last week, was a surprise inclusion in the starting XI.
“Colm did quite well in training so we decided to have a look at him. He did OK, it is an introduction for him into the premier division back from junior football. As he gets up to speed with the training and the games I think he will be an addition to the group.
"I think generally across the board, we are not far off. It is just the basic stuff that is costing us. If you have one individual who is not at it, then it costs the whole group.”
Enda Curran made an impact as a second-half substitute, while the return of Jason Molloy and Dave O’Leary following injury and suspension bolsters Dunne’s options for the trip north west.
“You look at certain things and certain things are in your mind tactically. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. The boys came in for the second half, they made an impact. Their attitude was good towards the game and they did well.
“Jay Molloy has had some niggly injuries so we left him out because we didn’t want to take any chances. Gary Shanahan was able to get through with a little niggle, while David O’Leary comes back after suspension. We will have more bodies to choose from, but we are going to Sligo which is a tough place to go.
We have to make sure we are clued in and that we go after the game. That is what we are looking for.”
Owen Heary’s departure as Sligo manager was announced last Friday, but Dunne still expects a tough test at the Showgrounds.
“I thought they were a strong group with Owen. I think they are a strong group now. I thought they stole three points on us the last day. We will be going to Sligo to try to pick up three points. That is what we will be doing.”
Galway United Supporterys Trust are running a bus to Sligo on Saturday, meeting at The Dail Bar, Cross Street, at 4pm. Seats can be booked by contacting Dominick Walsh at (087 ) 9163438.
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For further information, contact Ronan Coleman 087-6972823 or Pa Spelman 086-0832349.
Galway United Supporters Trust are running a bus to the Airtricity League premier division match against Sligo Rovers on Saturday, July 4, meeting at The Dail Bar, Cross Street, at 4pm. Contacting Dominick Walsh 087-9163438to book a seat.