Season Review 2020: Galway United

Tue, Nov 17 2020
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None Credit: Al Robinson (ETPhotos)

Team: Galway United

Manager: John Caulfield

Top Scorer: Carlton Ubaezuonu (4 league goals)

Stadium: Eamonn Deacy Park

Highest Attendance: 150

Lowest Attendance: 0

 

Star Player: Shane Duggan

The tenacious and aggressive midfielder was a big part of the engine of this year’s Galway United squad.

Duggan had been a First Division winner and named as the second tier’s Player of the Year while with Limerick and his experience showed all season at Deacy Park.

He assisted five goals during the First Division campaign as well as contributing with two of his own.

That second goal of his came against UCD in the dying second of the last game of the regular season to secure a draw.

It was that goal and point that managed to cap off a huge revival for the club and sneak them into the playoffs.

Best Young Player: Wilson Waweru

Brought through into the first team at Deacy Park by Alan Murphy in 2018, the teenager has continued to develop this season.

Only the three goals to his name this season, although one was all important as it took Galway past Bray Wanderers in the first round of the playoffs.

He’s strong and quick, has all the makings of a really good striker and put in a number of good performances this season.

Best New Signing: Kevin Farragher

Farragher departed Galway after the club’s 1-0 win over Cabinteely in September, just as the side were coming into form.

The defender had been Galway’s most consistent player even when the side was struggling towards the bottom of the table.

His mature performances stood out in a Galway squad that looked lost for much of the first half of the year.

Had he seen out the season there’s a good chance Farragher would have beaten out Duggan for the position of star player.

What we expected they would do:

Ahead of the League of Ireland season the staff at extratime.ie predicted that The Tribesmen would finish fourth in the First Division.

What they actually did:

First Division

Galway parted ways with manager Alan Murphy in August after the side went seven games without a win under the Mayo native.

Consecutive losses to Longford Town and Drogheda United, with Galway languishing near the bottom of the First Division saw the end for Murphy at Eamonn Deacy Park after two years in charge.

The club turned heads when they announced that former Cork City boss John Caulfield was appointed as manager.

United’s fortunes on the pitch changed dramatically and they won seven of their remaining ten First Division games under their new manager.

Bray Wanderers wound up missing out on the First Division title after losing to Galway in the second last game of the campaign, with Carlton Ubaezuonu netting in injury time.

A goal by Shane Duggan deep into injury time against UCD in their last League game to rescue a point proved invaluable as Galway eventually leapfrogged Cabinteely after a points deduction following a Wexford appeal.

A second trip to the Carlisle Ground in the space of seven days for the playoffs saw Galway beat the runners up once again, courtesy of a Wilson Waweru goal.

The following round had Galway face off against Longford Town at the UCD Bowl, but it was here that their season ended with a 2-1 loss, a disappointing ending to an amazing second half of 2020.

FAI Cup

Galway’s appearance in the FAI Cup is notable due to their second round fixture against Shelbourne coinciding with John Caulfield’s first game in charge of The Tribesmen.

Despite being dumped out by The Reds on a 5-2 score line in Eamonn Deacy Park, a spirited performance against superior opposition would prove to be a sign of things to come as Galway then focused on their First Division campaign.

What they need to improve on for next year:

It might be a bit cliché but Galway United need to hit  the ground running next season.

Had The Tribesmen played throughout the year as they did in the second half of the season there’s a good chance Eamonn Deacy park would be hosting Division football in 2021.

With their top goal scorer of the season netting four times throughout the season, a proven and reliable striker might be the centrepiece that John Caulfield looks for this offseason.

With the recent announcement of Padraic Cunningham's return maybe they have their striker.

The club did well defensively in the second half of the season in particular but they left themselves vulnerable in terms of personnel in the end and they must ensure that the situation does not repeat itself next season.

Joshua Smith made just a couple of appearances before being ruled out for the season through injury, while Kevin Farragher ended up departing the club due to returning to education.

Maurice Nugent moved back from midfield to fill in at centre-back for the end of the season but any injury to the core back four of Nugent, Brouder, Lynch and Ludden, as in the UCD game in October, resulted in a significantly weaker defensive line.

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