Resilience needed as stretched United host Dundalk in FAI Cup 

A demanding FAI Cup third round fixture beckons for Galway United, who host Dundalk at Eamonn Deacy Park tomorrow evening.

The SSE Airtricity League premier division table toppers were stunned by Galway in a dramatic EA Sports Cup semi-final penalty shoot-out at the same venue earlier this month. That evening Dundalk opted to rest several first choice players while Galway produced a gritty performance with goalkeeper Ger Hanley impressive.  United are currently dealing with a severe injury crisis, but manager Tommy Dunne will be able to recall Colm Horgan, who missed Monday's league draw with Drogheda United.

Forced to start three u- 19 squad members, Aran McConnell, Antaine O'Laoi, and Conor Melody, Dunne was delighted United ended a four-match losing sequence.   However with Stephen Walsh, Marc Ludden, Ryan Connolly, Andy O'Connell, Killian Cantwell, and Padraic Cunningham all on the treatment table, Dunne's options continue to be limited.

“The only player we will have back in contention is Colm Horgan,” Dunne says. “It will be pretty much the same group plus one. How we mix and match, we will have a look.

“If Dundalk were down the amount of bodies we are down, they’d find it difficult, never mind us. Overall, I was just pleased with the Drogheda result and the fact we picked up a point considering all the things we have gone through over the last week or so. The boys were extremely positive against Drogheda, we were delighted to pick something up.”

Galway's attitude and application impressed  against Drogheda. Jake Keegan's opportunistic goal gave the Tribesmen a half-time advantage, but Drogheda levelled, courtesy of Mick Daly with 20 minutes remaining. Hanley was excellent between the sticks as a spirited United held on to claim a share of the spoils.

“We looked a threat. Jake Keegan did fantastically well up on his own. The support he got from Conor Melody, Gary Shanahan, and Antaine O’Laoi was fantastic," said Dunne. " All of those young players that came in did fantastically well. I did think we were led fantastically well by Paul Sinnott, Sam Oji, and the other boys at the back. They made sure we were hard to beat. It was a huge boost for us.”

The previous Friday United suffered a heavy loss as Bohemians cruised to a convincing success at Dalymount Park. It meant Galway were particularly anxious to start well when Drogheda visited the west.

“It is important to be solid. We always say if you don’t concede goals, you give yourself a chance to pick up points,” Dunne said. “We have conceded too many recently. We went to Dalymount, and it was one of those nights where everything went wrong for us, but we learned from it. We were competitive against Drogheda and we battled really well. 

“The draw keeps us on the same points as Drogheda. We are a point ahead of Derry again. Sligo are only a point behind us, so it is tight. Hopefully we will have a good number of players back for the Cork City league game next week. If we get some of them back. I think we will be competitive.”

Dunne is adamant  the relegation battle with Limerick FC, Sligo Rovers, Derry City, Drogheda United, Longford Town, and Bray Wanderers will go down to the last game.

“It is going to go to the wire. We know that. As long as we are battling, we will keep going. We need to be positive, to do things right. I think the young players typified the resilience and the desire to do well.”

 

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