Date: 7:45 p.m. March 4, 2011
Venue: Terryland Park
Galway manager Sean Connor has found it extremely difficult to put a squad together for the new season. Uncertainty over their league status added to severe financial restrictions have led to the loss of many key players.
Goalkeeper Barry Ryan has gone to Limerick while Stephen O’Donnell and Karl Sheppard have both been snapped up by Shamrock Rovers. Defender (and emergency ‘keeper) Rhys Meynell is at Stalybrige Celtic and won’t be returning until the summer at least while Seamus Conneelly is now at Sheffield United.
The arrival of Karl Moore, Enda Curran and Shaun Kelly go some way to redressing the balance while the return of Alan Murphy from long term injury is as good as new signing. Connor also succeeded in signing five players on Thursday, adding ‘keeper Greg Fleming along with Shaun Maher, Bobby Ryan, Sean Kelly and Brian Cash.
Pats, meanwhile, approach the game without three suspended players and two further injury doubts. Striker Danny North is one of the suspended trio which will leave Pete Mahon short up front unless new striker Ian Ryan receives his international clearance in time for kick off.
Ian Bermingham, who missed the Setanta Cup match on Tuesday, is not expected to recover from illness although Daryl Kavanagh trained on Wednesday night and may make the game.
Mahon will know that his side are favourites to take the points on Friday but he will also be wary of underestimating Sean Connor’s competitive instincts. But even Connor will do well to inspire cohesion in a group of players, many of whom will not have played together before kick off.
Doubtful: Enda Curran, Steve Feeney.
Suspended: Paul Sinnott.
St Patrick’s Athletic
Injured: Ian Bermingham (illness).
Doubtful: Daryl Kavanagh, Ian Daly (international clearance).
Suspended: Danny North, Stephen Bradley, Paul Crowley.
Referee: Padraig Sutton.
Paddy Power odds: Galway United 7/2; Draw 5/2; St Patrick’s Ath 8/11.
Extratime prediction: An away win for Pats, 1-0.