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League Preview: Galway United -v- Dundalk

Thu, Apr 27 2017

Dundalk's Robbie Benson competes with Galway United's Alex Byrne and Vinny Faherty. Credit: Eddie Lennon (ETPhotos)

GALWAY UNITED

The beginning of Shane Keegan’s tenure as United boss was probably exactly what the former Wexford Youths manager was looking to avoid.

 

With no wins, just five points collected and currently sitting at the foot of the table, it’s been a rough start for the Tribesmen.

 

A sublime David Cawley strike five minutes from time earned them a well-deserved point against Limerick last week, their fourth draw in their last five league games.

 

Scoring has been an issue for the Connacht men, they hold the unenviable title of the worse attack in the league, scoring just six times.

 

They’ve also failed to find the net more than once in a game this season, and have only lead on one occasion so far this year when Ronan Murray put them ahead against Sligo.

 

Galway have conceded the fifth least amount of goals this season with 13, putting them ahead of the likes of Shamrock Rovers and Bray, although they’ve failed to keep a single clean sheet.

 

Winter acquisition Ronan Murray has been the bright spark at Eamonn Deacy Park since his arrival however.

 

The former Plymouth Argyle striker’s attacking prowess and eye for goal has been vital at times for United, scoring crucial goals to help his side avoid defeat.

 

In fact, three of his four goals came when Galway were behind, including an 89th minute penalty against St Patrick’s Athletic.

 

The Tribesemen are at 100% for the clash with no suspensions as well as a clean bill of health, which will leave Keegan with plenty of options come Friday night.

 

Speaking to the club's website in preparation for the game, Keegan acknowledged Galway’s early season troubles and immediately knew what his side needed to do.

 

"The issue early in the season for us was we had periods where we were good for 45 minutes and poor for 45 minutes. We seemed to solve that but it seems we've sort of reverted back to that again.

 

“Given the strength that Dundalk possess, if you're poor for 45 minutes, they'll punish you. We need to show it over 90 minutes.

 

"They're not the type of team to concede three goals from open play in a game. For us, it's going to be a case of having to play without the ball for periods, with them really testing our work rate and concentration levels.

 

"There will be chances that will arrive for us over the course of the game. Against Dundalk, you've got to take the chances when they appear and we need to be clinical."

 

DUNDALK

The champions returned to winning ways last week with a 2-0 win over Bohemians at Oriel Park after a disappointing loss at the hands of Bray Wanderers a fortnight ago.

 

Goals from Dave McMillan and Michael Duffy were enough to kill off the Gypsies and maintain their spot in second on goal difference ahead of Bray.

 

The Oriel faithful might be disappointed with their teams position though, with nine points separating them and first placed Cork City.

 

Losses to Bray, Derry City and Cork have given Stephen Kenny’s men an uphill battle if they want to try to reclaim their title for the fourth consecutive year.

 

Despite these set-backs, it’s very much been the same old Dundalk with the fast, exciting brand of football you’d expect.

 

Patrick McEleney looks set to take the place of past Lilywhites like Daryl Horgan, Andy Boyle and Richie Towell by breaking out this year and establishing himself as one of the league’s best players.

 

The former Derry man has been in top form and his link up play with frontman McMillan has been exquisite.

 

 

McMillan continues to be an important piece in the Dundalk setup like he’s been for the past few seasons, having netted five times this year including a brace against Finn Harps.

 

Sean Gannon and Robbie Benson are unavailable for the Lilywhites, as both have been ruled out for the next month with hamstring and knee injuries respectively.

 

Full-back Shane Grimes returned to full training in the past week as he continues to recover from the hamstring tear he suffered against St Pats last October.

 

Paddy Barrett returns to the side having sat out last week’s win over Bohemians, the centre-half has recovered from the knock he sustained against UCD in the EA Sports Cup.

 

“I felt it was a big three points for us last week against Bohemians,” Duffy told the club's website.

 

“We needed to bounce back after the league defeat the previous week and it was a good win for us on the night.

 

“We controlled the game and played some good passages of football. We are very happy with the win and we got what we wanted.

 

“I think that early goal was what we needed in the game. It seemed to settle everyone down and we were able to get into our game then. We played some good football and you can see that we are really improving each week.

 

“I was delighted to score on the night myself, I missed one in the first half and I was disappointed with that but it was important to get that second goal, it made the last 20 minutes a lot easier and I was pleased to get my name on the scoresheet.”

 

This will be Duffy’s first trip to Galway as he never faced them during his first stint in the league, despite this however he thinks it’ll be a tough challenge but remains confident of all three points.

 

“I have never played in Galway in the league actually but it is another challenge for us. We want to get on a bit of a run now and put together a few wins. It has been a bit stop start but we are doing well each week.

 

“It’s going to be another difficult game for us. Going away from home is never easy in the league but we are confident after our win last week and hopefully we can come away with another three points.”

 

 

Referee: Ben Connolly

 

 

MATCH FACTS

Both sides feature three players that have played for both teams. Vinny Faherty, Connor Winn and Gary Shanahan were all on the books at Dundalk at one stage while Paddy Barrett, Gary Rogers and Stephen O’Donnell have all played for the Tribesmen.

 

This is the first time that the sides will meet without the battle of the Horgan brothers after Daryl’s departure to Preston since Galway were promoted back to the Premier Division in 2015.

 

Galway league last five: DDLDD

Dundalk league last five: WLWWL

 

 

BETTING

Galway 7/1; Draw 4/1; Dundalk 4/11.

 

PREDICTION

Galway United 0-2 Dundalk

 

 

Galway United

Injured: None.

Doubtful: None.

Suspended: None.

 

Dundalk

Injured: Robbie Benson, Sean Gannon.

Doubtful: Shane Grimes.

Suspended: None.