Date: 8 p.m. Aug. 5, 2016
Ref: Derek Tomney
Vinny Faherty 45' -
Galway United will welcome Stephen Kenny’s ground-breaking Lilywhites to Eamonn Deacy Park on Friday night looking to capitalise upon what will surely be a fatigued Dundalk team as a consequence of the efforts the Louth men put in during Tuesday night’s incredible 3-0 demolition of BATE Borisov in Tallaght.
The Tribesmen have hit a rocky patch mid-season having begun 2016 like the proverbial house-on-fire, with European qualification appearing attainable. The President’s team have won only one of their last five, and two of their past ten league encounters, a measly run which has seen them drop well of the pace of those residing in the European places while also becoming embroiled in the scrap for a top half finish.
Home form is what Tommy Dunne has built his success upon since taking the reins at Terryland Park in 2014. Having relied on it in order to secure Premier Division survival last term, this season has seen Galway pick up fifteen of their 27 league points to date in the Western seaboard venue, something which has allowed them to stay purposefully in the top half all season.
In recent weeks though, United have suffered several setbacks in terms of losing playing staff. John Sullivan, arguably their best player during the season’s dawn transferred back to Bray Wanderers due to personal commitments, while Eric Foley and Ruairi Keating are other notable omissions from the strong 26-man squad that Dunne assembled in early 2016. The pair have joined Glentoran and Finn Harps respectively.
Nonetheless, Dunne can be pretty contented with how the 2016 campaign is unfolding, despite the recent turmoil both, on and off the field. The Dubliner has called for calmness and consistency ahead of the Lilywhites’ visit to Galway city tomorrow night.
Dunne told galwayunitedfc.ie: “I was at Dundalk's game against BATE in Tallaght Stadium, it was a wonderful performance from them. We're really looking to the Dundalk game, especially after they secured such a high profile win in Europe. It's a great test for us.
“It just shows that if we're not one hundred percent tuned in, then the quality that Dundalk possess will cause us serious problems. Everybody at the club is relishing the match. It's an exciting game to look forward to, both teams play good football.
“The reason teams are in the top half is they have that level of consistency, they perform at a level for more sustained periods. We need to make sure that we're a little more consistent in our performances. We're keen to give a good account of ourselves as always in-front of our supporters."
Dundalk will look to cap off a week which produced arguably their finest European night of all time with victory at Eamonn Deacy Park in tomorrow night’s league meeting with fifth-place Galway United.
Stephen Kenny and his side wrote their names into club, League of Ireland and national folklore with their ruthless three-goal demolition of a BATE side which watched in awe as David McMillan put himself top of the Champions League scoring charts with a goals either side of the interval, before Robbie Benson erupted Tallaght Stadium for the third time on the night in stoppage time.
Before taking on the Tribesmen tomorrow night, the border outfit will watch intently on as they await confirmation of their opponents in the final qualifying round of the competition, in the knowledge that a Europa League group placing and millions of euros is secured.
The two-and-a-half-day turnaround, coupled with the fact that Galway is one of their longest road-trips of the season wasn’t something that Stephen Kenny was particularly content with when asked after Tuesday’s game, however, having not had a domestic encounter since July, 5, the Lilywhites will surely be keen to return to SSE Airtricity League action with a win.
Galway have been a thorn in the side of Kenny’s men since their return to the top-flight though. Although, they are yet to defeat the reigning double holders in league affairs since 2009, they did knock the Lilywhites out of the EA Sports Cup last season while also providing stern tests on their last two visits to Oriel Park, both games were scoreless at half-time.
Ronan Finn sustained an awkward looking groin strain in the BATE game, joining centre-back Brian Gartland on the injury-table, otherwise, Kenny has a full squad to pick from when heading west on Friday afternoon.
Ahead of the match, Kenny told dundalkfc.com: “It’s a quick turnaround for us tomorrow and one we have to bring ourselves back down to earth quickly for. Galway United are fifth in the table and pushing for Europe so we will get a tough game down there. We have experience of this, the run of matches, and we are capable of keeping it going but we have to focus quickly.
“The adrenaline from the other night can help us and give us energy going into the game tomorrow. It’s a very important game for us.”
Referee: Derek Tomney.
Tomorrow night’s meeting will be the 80th meeting of the sides with Dundalk aiming to extend their unbeaten record against Galway to a record 20 games.
Dundalk’s Gary Rogers, Paddy Barrett and Stephen O’Donnell are all former Tribesmen, with O’Donnell and Daryl Horgan also being Galweigans natively. Galway players; Conor Winn, Vinny Faherty and Gary Shanahan are all former Lilywhites.
Brothers Colm and Daryl Horgan will face each other tomorrow night for the seventh time since Galway regained their Premier Division status in 2014.
Galway United 9/2; Draw 3/1; Dundalk FC 4/7.
Galway United 1-1 Dundalk FC.
Injured: Padraic Cunningham (groin) & Jesse Devers (hand).
Doubtful: Stephen Folan & Gary Shanahan.
Injured: Brian Gartland (wrist) & Ronan Finn (groin).