It’s Derby weekend in the League of Ireland, and there won’t be a more important Derby than the one in Eamonn Deacy Park tomorrow night.
Galway United host Sligo Rovers as the hosts go in search of their first league win of the season. It’s been a turbulent start for new United boss Shane Keegan, and defeat to Sligo will no doubt have fans sharpening their knives for the chop.
Yes it’s only five games into the season, but with three clubs to face relegation at the end of the season too many defeats early in the season will be disastrous. Getting out of the relegations spots could just prove too difficult if club’s fall 6-8 points behind so early on.
United boss Shane Keegan is well aware of the importance of the game when speaking on the club’s website, “When you look at the league table, the importance of it, it’s far from just a normal game.”
“There is the derby element to it, then there’s the fact that we’re both struggling at the bottom of the table and need the points. It’s extra important.”
“There is no point playing the game down, it’s a massive game for both sides and both sets of fans too I’m sure.”
“If you win a game, all of a sudden your position looks a lot healthier in the table. If you put back-to-back victories together, all of a sudden you’re looking very healthy. We have that in us.”
“The performances have been there by and large to suggest that we’re on the verge of getting it right. It’s a combination of us being more clinical and cutting out those silly errors that are marring our overall general performances.”
“At this level, those will kill you. We need to get ourselves over the line on Friday night.”
Sligo Rovers Manager Dave Roberson told their club’s website, “Galway are a good footballing side. Every game in which I’ve managed Sligo Rovers against a Galway side has been entertaining and also decided by just a single goal.”
“You can expect an end to end game. This is the type of match everyone looks forward to because you can play and pass the ball with the good surface they have down. We played in pre-season and it was a really close game and we can expect something similar on Friday.”
“It was extra disappointing to lose in the manner of last week. I have been hurting all week and the players too. The one thing we know is this group will stay positive, true to our belief and our style of play.”
“We wanted to build on the positive performances we were starting to produce and we have to get back to that on Friday. It’s fair to say there is pressure on both team to put more points on the board and we will be doing everything to get three more on Friday.”
Sligo need to bounce back after their last-gasp defeat last weekend, especially after losing a 1-goal lead.
Robertson told us after last week’s defeat to Finn Harps, “It’s a devastating blow to lose any game too a penalty in injury time after taking the lead, especially a North West Derby.”
Former Sligo midfielder David Cawley said”We must all bounce back with a positive performance & result away to Galway now this Friday.”
“The win in the EA Sports Cup was a long time coming. It was important to do a good professional job. In fairness to Mayo, they were set up well and they caused us a few problems in the first half.”
“We took our goals and kept a clean sheet. Hopefully we can build on that on Friday against Sligo Rovers.”
“Connacht Derbies are big games. Especially when you consider where both sides are in the table, a win would be big for both and it puts an extra bit of pressure on. Hopefully we can come out on top and take the three points.”
“It would be a big three points if we can get them. It’s so competitive, we’ve lost and drawn games where we should’ve won, but we weren’t getting the goals.”
“It’s alright saying you should’ve won this or that game but you need to be getting the points on the board. The performances have been positive, we can’t be too down, it will click eventually and hopefully that’s on Friday against Sligo.”
Alex Byrne will miss the game through suspension, while Maurice Nugent (knee), Padraic Cunningham (hamstring) and Gavan Holohan (hand) are all sidelined. Kevin Devaney (foot) will undergo a late fitness test ahead of the game.
There is one absentee for Rovers. Regan Donelon misses out through injury (bruised foot) but there are no other concerns.