Terryland fans’ positivity for Derry

Stephen Walsh of Galway United, centre, celebrates with team-mates after scoring their side's first goal during the SSE Airtricity Men's Premier Division match between Shamrock Rovers and Galway United at Tallaght Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile.

Stephen Walsh of Galway United, centre, celebrates with team-mates after scoring their side's first goal during the SSE Airtricity Men's Premier Division match between Shamrock Rovers and Galway United at Tallaght Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile.

On paper, Galway United have a tough task tomorrow, Friday, May 3, when they host one of the pre-season favourites for the league title: Derry City.

Yet United will carry confidence into the tie. Just five weeks ago they travelled up to Derry and won. Last week, they ended a miserable run of results to pilfer a precious point against Shamrock Rovers.

There is plenty of positivity around this game, as Galway fans savour a visit from Derry City. They are a highly regarded club in the West which brings a loyal and passionate following. Historically they have played attractive football and promoted local heroes. Their current crop is littered with talent and serial winners.

It is United however that returns to Eamonn Deacy Park as only one of two sides unbeaten in the league in their last four outings. Their reputation was only further enhanced in Tallaght.

The visitors frustrated the champions for the first half. Rovers were stymied by an organised and committed United rearguard, and created little of note.

Brendan Clarke sprang into action in the second half to save a Dylan Watts penalty after Jeannot Esua was penalised for handball.

Seven minutes later, Stephen Walsh scored a goal that will further enhance his considerable folklore amongst the United faithful. The dynamic Ed McCarthy found his run with a clever hooked pass. Walsh collected, composed himself, and struck low across the keeper for an unlikely lead.

Unfortunately, United couldn’t hold out for a first away victory against Rovers since 1994. Dylan Watts’ delivery eventually told, and Johnny Kenny, as he did in March in Galway, struck late to deny the Tribesmen.

John Caulfield’s men will have taken plenty more than the point home. Clarke was cool and commanding again in goal, despite being beaten by Kenny’s header. He was ably assisted by a rearguard that limited an injury-hit Rovers side to few sights of goal. In midfield, Aodh Dervin and Conor McCormack stood out, each continuing their rich vein of form.

All hands will be needed at the pump again if United are to back this up with another result against Derry. The visitors’ form has stabilised, and they come to Galway on the back of impressive results and performances against St Pat’s and Waterford.

The visit of Patrick Hoban to his home county will attract significant attention. It will do so not just for what the Loughrea man has achieved in an illustrious career, but also because he is still the marquee and form striker in the league. His nine goals so far in the league already mark him out as the man to beat for the golden boot.

He has plenty of support. While Patrick McEleney and Jordan McEneff remain sidelined through injury, Michael Duffy, Danny Mullan and Will Patching provide threats from midfield and out wide.

United have already proved themselves against the best. Amazingly, they have already taken points from every team except Bohemians. Their ‘goals against’ column remains the envy of the division. If there is to be any improvement in United’s sterling start, perhaps it is in their home form.

 

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