AIRTRICITY LEAGUE (Preview): GALWAY UNITED vs UCD (Friday, 7.45pm Eamonn Deacy Park) 


Even this early in the campaign, Galway United face a must win match in the First Division when they host table toppers UCD hoping to hang on to the coattails of the runaway leaders. 

The students are top on 26 points from 11 games, eight ahead of the Tribesmen.  And a home defeat for the maroon outfit will leave automatic promotion prospects a difficult task to achieve.

Galway United have been good at home.  It’s away defeats that see them slip and they currently sit in fourth place on 18 points.  Though their game in hand away to Cobh Ramblers is on June 4th and that’ll be another crucial fixture.

After goals for Eoin McCormack, Marc Ludden and Stephen Kenny helped them to a comfortable 3-0 victory over Athlone Town last Friday (4th May), they followed it three days later with a loss.  Jesse Devers late Bank Holiday Monday goal giving Finn Harps a 1-0 win.

Galway manager Shane Keegan has been given a boost with top scorer Danny Furlong back to full fitness and he should restore his partnership with McCormack up front.

Tadhg Ryan will take his place between the sticks; Gary Shanahan, Stephen Walsh, Maurice Nugent and Ludden are expected in defence; while Ryan Connolly, Kenny and Conor Barry should feature in midfield.  Ronan Manning, Carlton Ubaezuonu and Alex Byrne will compete for the last spot.

Despite being held 1-1 by Shelbourne seven days earlier, UCD responded by giving Wexford FC an 8-0 trimming and come into the game with confidence.  Jason McClelland scored a hat-trick while Liam Scales, Yoho Mahdy and captain Gary O’Neill were also on target.

Conor Kearns is their keeper; Dan Tobin, Maxim Kougan, Scales and Josh Collins are the defence; Daire O’Connor and O’Neill will operate midfield with Mahedy, Timmy Molloy or Kevin Coffey.  McClelland and top scorer Georgie Kelly will run the attack.

The teams drew 1-1 in March with Furlong and Collins netting.  This is Galway United’s only home game against UCD but they do travel to Belfield in July.  Realistically anything short of victory will be a poor result but they do face a team with 28 goals in 11 matches.

Verdict: Draw