Galway United Season Preview, Predictions.
Title Odds- 20/1.
New Signings: James Tierney, Kevin Horgan, Andrew Peters, Cian Murphy, Iarflaith Davoren, Mark Hannon, Joe Collins, Shane Doherty, Vinny Faherty, Jeff McGowan.
Departures: Tadgh Ryan (Cork City), Sean Russell (Limerick FC), Alex Byrne (emigrated), Eoin McCormack (emigrated), Robbie Williams (Limerick FC), Ryan Connolly (Ballyglass FC), Ronan Manning (Athlone Town).
Key Player: Conor Barry.
One of the standout players in a disappointing season, having Barry re-sign for 2019 was a big boost for United- particularly with him being the first player to commit himself. Hopefully he can drive on from a promising season on a personal note last season, and prove a creative driving force behind United’s push for promotion.
Star Signing: Vinny Faherty.
Vinny Faherty’s return to Galway could prove crucial. United severely lacked goals at times last year, and something Vinny has proven in the past is that if the service is provided he will score goals.
One-to-watch: Colin Kelly.
Colin Kelly turned heads last season, scoring 30 goals for Alan Murphy’s Under 17 side, before making the step-up to the senior side. Kelly is undoubtedly a player with bags of potential and the United faithful will be hoping he can kick on this season.
Where did it go wrong last season?
A lack of consistency and desire ravaged United’s season and never allowed any significant run of form to develop. Defensive frailties foiled United’s attempts to build any sort of meaningful form. Alan Murphy will also be hoping to stop his side leaking as many goals from set pieces as they did last season in the coming months. A lack of goals, particularly away from home, meant United didn’t do enough going forward to compensates for defensive mishaps.
What improvements have been made?
Project DNA seems to have addressed the lack of desire and motivation seen in the squad last season, promoting players who genuinely want to play for the club. Defensive reinforcements have been brought in which will hopefully shore up the defense somewhat. Vinny Faherty’s return, along with other promising new signings and young players emerging from the youth system offers a lot of hope for improvement. If Faherty has brought his shooting boots with him on his return to Terryland it would be a huge step towards improving on last season. The likes of Stephen Walsh, Marc Ludden, and Iarflaith Davoren should also provide invaluable experience in a squad that has a very young age profile.
Main concerns for this season:
A lack of experience in a very young squad could make it difficult for United to settle into this season, particularly with a difficult opening fixture against Shels. If defensive weaknesses, particularly from set-pieces, persist from last season then United could struggle to compensate for it going forward. The blog’s player of the year last season, Tadhg Ryan, has since moved onto Cork City leading to a lack of goalkeeper cover. Kevin Horgan and James Tierney have returned to the club, however it still remains a position in which United are very light of cover. In recent seasons United have been consistently foiled by a glaring Achilles Heel their away form. If this issues remains unaddressed then United could struggle this season.
Can Vinny Faherty rediscover his old form?
In the two seasons prior to his departure Faherty notched a combined 24 goals in the premier division. His form didnt fare out quite as well with Sligo but if he can discover that kind of form again, now plying his trade a division lower, United will be a lot stronger this season. It would also contribute a lot to improving United’s away from, as although United’s defensive record away from home was similar to their home record, they simply didn’t score enough on the road. One huge factor that will affect Faherty’s form, however, is the service he receives.
Will the young guns find their feet in senior football?
Following a disappointing showing from many senior players last season there has been massive changes in United squad. This has led to the development of Project DNA. Although the project is undoubtedly a positive step forward for the club, recruiting players who will give their all for the crest, it remains to be seen how well such a young squad will fare in the short to medium term.
Will the supporters back the team?
Last season as United’s form steadily decreased, so did the match attendance and atmosphere. There has already been a lot of positive developments over the course of the off-season but it remains to be seen if that will persist throughout the season. For the meantime it is important that everyone gets behind the Reclaiming the Dyke initiative and take advantage of reduced ticket prices on the opening day.
In the premier division, I expect this to be a big year for Pats and I can see them winning the title. In the First division, I expect to see a much improved effort from United but I think it might just be a bit too soon for such a young squad to mount a serious title challenge. That said, I would expect a decent challenge to be offered up in the race for promotion, hopefully resulting in promotion back to the Premier Division. Shels have gone from strength to strength in transfer window and will undoubtedly be strong favourites for automatic promotion. Bray have also strengthened their squad hoping to return to the Premier Division on the first time of asking and should be there or thereabouts come the business end of the season.
United- Vinny Faherty, First Division- Vinny Faherty, Premier Division-. Mikey Drennan.
United- Conor Barry, First Division Dylan McGlade, Premier Division- Chris Forrester.
Player of the year…
United- Conor Barry, First Division Dylan McGlade, Premier Division- Mikey Drennan.
Young Player of The Year…
United- Colin Kelly, First Division Colin Kelly, Premier Division- John Mahon.
First Division- Dean Delany, Premier Division- Tadhg Ryan.
League Tables, Cups…
|1. St Pat’s (Champions)||1. Shelbourne (Promoted)|
|2. Shamrock Rovers (Europe)||2. Bray Wanderers|
|3. Dundalk (Europe)||3. Galway United (Promoted)|
|4. Cork City (Europe)||4. Longford Town (EA Sports Cup)|
|5. Derry City||5. Cobh Ramblers|
|6. Bohemian (FAI Cup)||6. Drogheda|
|7. Waterford||7. Athlone Town|
|8. UCD||8. Wexford Youths|
|9. Finn Harps (Relegated)||9. Cabinteely|
|10. Sligo Rovers (Relegated)||10. Limerick|