2019 Season Preview - Galway United

Wed, Feb 20 2019

Alan Murphy began the 2018 season as a striker and finished as manager of Galway United, and will continue in 2019. Credit: Paul Dolan (ETPhotos)

Manager: Alan Murphy

Stadium: Eamonn Deacy Park

2019 Players in: Vinny Faherty (PAEEK), Iarfhlaith Davoren (Unattached), Andrew Peters (Claremorris AFC), Jeff McGowan (Limerick), Joe Collins (West United), (Cian Murphy (St Mary’s), Shane Doherty (Rowan University), James Tierney (Lifford), Kevin Horgan (Shamrock Rovers).

2019 Players out: Tadgh Ryan (Cork City), Sean Russell (Limerick), Robbie Williams (Limerick), Danny Furlong (Wexford), Alex Byrne (Emigrated), Eoin McCormack (Emigrated), Ryan Connolly (Ballyglass).

extratime.ie Key Man: Conor Barry

One of the few bright sparks during a dismal Galway United season in 2018 was Conor Barry. The 23-year-old midfielder appeared in all 27 First Division games for the Tribesmen and was their top scorer with ten goals as Galway finished a disappointing 6th.

Manager Alan Murphy will have been relieved to hold on to the talented midfielder for the 2019 season as he looks to build a Galway squad with a certain ethos based around his ‘DNA’ philosophy.

Barry seems to fit what Murphy is looking for and fans will be hoping the young midfielder can carry his form into this season as the Tribesmen look to shake off the stench of 2018.

Extratime.ie One to Watch: Colin Kelly

Alan Murphy has put together a very young squad for the 2018 League of Ireland season and one youngster that could flourish is 17-year-old striker Colin Kelly.

He made his first team debut for Galway last season away to Finn Harps, and went on to play against Wexford and Shelbourne before the season concluded, but it was at youth level where Kelly made headlines last season.

In his first season with United, the striker scored 30 goals for the under-17 team in just 25 appearances as well, as topping the goalscoring charts for the Connacht Schools team, scoring four goals in three matches as they won the interprovincial title last November.

Having already played some first team football, fans will be keen to see if the striker can bring some of his goalscoring abilities to senior football in 2019.

How they did last season:

League: 6th

The extratime.ie team predicted the Tribesmen would win the First Division last season and there was certainly a great deal of expectation from fans too as United looked to win promotion at the first attempt.

What an unmitigated disaster it was for Galway, however, as they failed to even mount a title challenge. They didn’t even manage to make a serious challenge for a playoff spot missing out on a play-off place by 12 points and finishing sixth.

Manager Shane Keegan was dismissed mid-way through the season, key players underperformed and an overall dark cloud hung over Eamonn Deacy Park for much of the 2018 season, with the hangover of relegation still surrounding the club.

Club legend Alan Murphy breaking the club all-time goalscoring record and taking over as player-manager, Tadgh Ryan’s goalkeeping performances, Conor Barry’s stylish play and the introduction of some promising young talent are about the few positive notes Galway fans can cling to after a disappointing season.

FAI Cup: Round 2

A routine win in round one away to Wexford’s North End United was followed by a routine dismissal from the competition by Premier Division side Bohemians at home in Eamonn Deacy Park.

An Eoin McCormack hat-trick was punctuated by a goal from Conor Barry as they defeated North End 0-4 to take them through to a meeting with Keith Long’s Gyspies.

Bohemians were too much for the Tribesmen, however, as goals from Darragh Leahy and Eoghan Stokes took the Dublin side through to the quarter-finals of the competition.

EA Sports Cup: Round 2

Cockhill Celtic were unlucky to go out in the first round of the competition as former Finn Harps and Derry City player Gerry Gill put the ball into his own net in the second half to allow Galway through to the second round by the narrowest of margins.

Connacht rivals Sligo Rovers were United’s next opponents in the competition and it took the Bit o’ Red until the 81st minute to break the deadlock when Adam Morgan struck to take the Premier Division club through to the competition’s quarter-finals.

What to expect this season:

It’s hard to know exactly what Galway United will appear in 2019. Some top earners have departed and there are only five players in the squad over the age of 25.

Many of the players signed either have very little or no League of Ireland experience.

Murphy is putting his faith in the young talent at the club and, with the manager having coached the under-17 side for a number of years, he’s probably the best person to assess how able these young players are for senior football.

2018 was a massive disappointment for Galway fans both in terms of their final league position and the overall performance on the pitch.

Expectations have been managed strictly during the off-season and fans will more than likely be pleased by some hard working performances from the young squad as well as some form of a challenge for a playoff spot this season, but a mid-table finish seems the more likely outcome in 2019 for The Tribesmen.

Title Odds: 20/1

First game: Shelbourne (h) – February 22nd (kick-off 7.45pm).