It’s been all change at Galway over the winter since Alan Murphy was appointed manager on a permanent basis.
The club legend and record goal scorer has placed a large emphasis on youth in his squad with just a small group of players over the age of 25 contracted to the club as they look to banish the demons of a tough 2018 season which saw them finish 6th in the First Division having been tipped to win the title before the season began.
The club are expecting a large crowd to turn out for the opening game of the season and Murphy is relishing the prospect of taking on the much fancied Shelbourne as his side kick-off their campaign.
“We have the champions elect at home in the first game of the season and it's a brilliant one to start with for the team, the city and county, to encourage people to come out and get behind their club,” Murphy told the club’s website.
"Both players and management are really looking forward to it, we've prepared well and are in good spirits. A lot of work and a lot of development has been done both on and off the pitch in the last 150 days. The identity of the club has changed dramatically in that period.
"It's hugely important that a big crowd from the city and county get behind the players on Friday night. It's paramount to the project, we're trying to develop locally based players that are identifiable within the community and that have confidence in their our own ability.
"We'll create a product on the pitch that Galway United fans can identify with and that they can come up here and be guaranteed that they will see hard work and application."
Andrew Peters misses out with an ankle injury while Conor Layng continues to recover from a cruciate injury picked up last season. Jeff McGowan is a doubt for Friday night’s fixture with a hamstring issue.
Shels will be looking to put the disappointment of last year’s playoff loss to Drogheda behind them as they go in search of the First Division title having been tipped for promotion, after a number of eye catching signings during the off-season.
Amongst those signings are Conan Byrne and Ciaran Kilduff who could make their competitive debuts for the club at Eamonn Deacy Park.
New Shelbourne manager Ian Morris faces his first competitive game in charge as the Dublin club travel west to face Galway United on the opening night of the season.
Despite the impressive recruitment drive over the winter the rookie boss will not be taking The Tribesmen for granted on Friday night.
“Galway have got some good players in over the off-season. The city will be right behind them, and their players will be playing with pride,” the manager told the club’s website.
“It will be a really good atmosphere with a packed house and these are the games you want to relish if you want to be battling at the top of the table.
“Every one of our players has shown quality in pre-season. If a player gets a run in the team, it’s up to them to stay in the team,” he said.
Ian Morris will be delighted to have a clean bill of health for his squad for the trip to Connacht with the only absentee being James English who serves a suspension after being sent off during the game against Drogheda United at the end of last season.
Referee: Eoghan O’Shea
Shelbourne have beaten Galway United in their last three meetings with the Dublin side winning 2-0, 2-1 and 3-0 on each of those occasions.
The sides open their First Division campaigns against one another on Friday night, but they also finished their regular season campaigns last year against each other when Shels won 3-0 last September..
The Tribesmen have not won a league game since last July’s 3-2 victory over Cabinteely last July in Eamonn Deacy Park.
Galway United 11/4; Draw 12/5; Shelbourne 4/5.
Galway United 1 – 3 Shelbourne
Injured: Andrew Peters and Conor Layng.
Doubtful: Jeff McGowan.
Suspended: James English.