Champions Rovers pip United late on

Galway United’s Al Amin Kazeem and Shamrock Rovers Daragh Burns in action from the SSE Airtricity League of Ireland Men's Premier Division game at Eamonn Deacy Park on Friday night. 
Photo: Mike Shaughnessy

Galway United’s Al Amin Kazeem and Shamrock Rovers Daragh Burns in action from the SSE Airtricity League of Ireland Men's Premier Division game at Eamonn Deacy Park on Friday night. Photo: Mike Shaughnessy

Johnny Kenny crashed home the game’s only goal in the 84th minute to continue Galway United’s miserable run against Shamrock Rovers in Eamonn Deacy Park last Friday night.

In front of a virtual sell-out crowd and the RTÉ cameras, Galway United competed admirably with the champions. However, their performance was not enough to stop a 21st straight defeat to the same opponents.

It is a remarkable run, stretching back beyond the infamous 2011 season to a draw in Tallaght on the 30th of October 2009. Rovers' manager Stephen Bradley played in midfield for the Hoops that day. His current striker Aaron Greene scored the goal for Galway that day.

The most recent iteration of Galway United has marked itself out as the most competitive in some years. The three games they have lost this season have all been 1-0 reversals. Only table toppers Shelbourne have conceded less goals.

It is in the attacking third where United have struggled. The Rovers game was their third blank in a row. They had missed Stephen Walsh for three games through suspension, but even their talisman couldn’t convert a couple of glorious crosses from David Hurley ten minutes before time.

There were of course plenty of positives to draw on. Al-Amin Kazeem attracted a lot of praise for his first full game at left-back. Ed McCarthy was tireless and provided plenty of dash on the right. Aodh Dervin had a big impact off the bench. Conor McCormack has been superb upon his return to the Premier Division. Brendan Clarke continues to be rock solid between the posts.

Nevertheless, Assistant Manager Ollie Horgan has little truck in moral victories. He said: “I’ve been there and John has been there. We’d much prefer if we didn’t play well and stole a draw or a win. I remember time and time again you’d shut up shop against Shamrock Rovers and they’d score.

“I felt at the time we weren’t in any grave danger of losing the game. We probably had the better chances in the second half but in the first half Shamrock Rovers were the better side. We switched off. If you switch off for a second you get punished.

“I thought we were very good as regards our shape, organisation, and togetherness. It’s better in my eyes to be competing with the best in the country than winning in the lower division. It physically and mentally tests you. I thought the lads were excellent, bar that moment of switching off.”

Horgan confessed the international break might be coming at a good time for United. They will be keen to get players back from injury and have more options in attack.

Six games into the season, they have already proven themselves competitive in the Premier Division. However, the division itself could scarcely be more competitive. The Easter Bank Holiday double-header of Derry City away (29th March ) and Bohemians at home (1st April ) are already being marked off on Galway calendars.

 

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