Keegan looking to bounce back on the double

A hectic SSE Airtricity League premier division weekend beckons for Galway United, who face Finn Harps at Ballybofey on Friday (8pm ) before returning to Eamonn Deacy Park action against Shamrock Rovers on Monday (7pm ).

Following last week's 4-0 loss to Cork City at Turners Cross, manager Shane Keegan hopes United can respond against Harps and Rovers.

"To be honest, considering we are looking to get points on the board, to have two cracks at it in the space of a couple of days is great," Keegan says.

"I do think our fitness levels are quite good, so managing the two games won't be much a problem to us. We might have to change some of the personnel, but I have confidence we do have a bit of strength in depth there - we can make three, four or five changes without weakening the team in any great, shape or form.

"To get two bites of the cherry is what we need really because there is no getting away from the fact that we are disappointed with the start."

Keegan believes the next two results could put Galway in the position they had planned to be.

"The Cork game, let's be honest, at the start of the season when you are looking at where you are going to pick up points, you probably aren't pinpointing that one. If we can make a good impression over the two games at the weekend, to try to regain some ground, we could be back to where we intended to be after four games if we had a right good weekend."

Harps, managed by Galway native Ollie Horgan, is a hard working outfit worthy of the utmost respect. Former Northern Ireland international Paddy McCourt is a notable close-season addition. Shamrock Rovers will then bring a talented team to the banks of the Corrib on Monday, including former United skipper Ryan Connolly and teenage goalkeeper Kevin Horgan.

Despite suffering a couple of defeats, Keegan is encouraged by the response of United supporters. "I'm realistic enough to know they aren't going to have endless patience, nor would I expect them to," he says.

"We need to start getting points on the board, to keep that support and to keep supporters happy. I have to say I have been very impressed with the attitude of the players going through this bit of a rough patch, yet the mentality still has been very good."

Keegan has been busy also visiting juvenile clubs throughout the county since starting his role and is willing to give youngsters an opportunity in the first team.

"At underage level, I worked with children for the best part of 10 years before I stepped up to this level. I have a genuine interest in it, no doubt about it," Keegan says of underage development.

"Definitely you have to keep an eye out to see if there is anyone we haven't brought into the set-up yet who is good enough. It also gives you a chance. We have Maurice Nugent and Declan Sharkey in already, it is hard enough for them to get into the starting XI, but it is good to have a look at them to see how they can progress.

" I gave a few 17 year olds their debuts at Wexford. I have no problem at all throwing in a 17 year old if he is good enough."

• Galway Soccer Co-Op are running a bus to Friday's premier division match between Finn Harps and Galway United in Ballybofey, leaving The Dail Bar, Middle Street, at 3pm. Seats can be booked by contacting Stephen Dowling 086-2361040 or Ronan Coleman 087-6972823.


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