Shamrock Rovers' Graham Burke will come back into contention after missing Tuesday's win over Limerick with suspension.

League Preview: Galway United -v- Shamrock Rovers
Published: August 17, 2017

GALWAY UNITED

Galway United host Shamrock Rovers on Friday (kick-off 7.45pm) knowing a win would move out of the relegation zone and above Limerick, at least temporarily, in the table.

 

History doesn't favour them as they haven’t beaten the Hoops in a remarkable 26 game sequence in all competitions dating back over a decade.

 

Since their last league action, Shane Keegan’s men were beaten by Dundalk in the EA Sports Cup semi-final and progressed by Killester in the FAI Cup First Round – but only thanks to penalties after the sides couldn’t be split by extra time.

 

“We weren't at our best in our Cup games against Dundalk and Killester, but we have to put those games to one side now and focus on getting back into our league form,” Keegan told the club's official website.

 

Prior to the cup action, his team had three wins from their last four league games.

 

"We are looking at our remaining eight games, five of them are at home, if we can even do the business in our home games, they have the potential to get us out of where we are.

 

"Shamrock Rovers will be motivated. They're very much in the hunt for Europe. They've got some fantastic players and they're a big side, who look a threat at every set piece. We will have to be on our game defensively and make the most of the chances we carve out.”

 

"If you can come away with a win in a game like this, it's a massive boost for everybody and it instils real belief.

 

“It will be tough, it's a big ask, but I don't think it's mission impossible and I think we are confident of going out there and giving it a right go."

 

Keegan has a full squad to choose from although he can no longer call on Lee Grace who has made the switch from Eamon Deacy Park to Tallaght Stadium ahead of the closure of the recent transfer window.

 

 

SHAMROCK ROVERS

The Hoops are looking to move to within two points of third place Derry City with a win in Galway on Friday night.

 

They come into the game on the back of winning their last three competitive games without conceding a goal.

 

“We knew coming into this week we had a real chance to go and put some real pressure on Derry,” Hoops head coach Stephen Bradley said to the club's official website.

 

“We started that on Tuesday (wining 2-0 in Limerick) and now we need to go and finish it tomorrow by going and winning the game, and see where that takes us.

 

"We're playing well and winning games. We'll go down and try and do that again tomorrow. We're expecting a tough game.

 

“We know they'll be up for it so we've got to make sure that we're ready to go and fight and match them for everything they have.

 

“We've obviously won the last few games against them but some of them have been tight and I'm sure it'll be no different tomorrow.

 

“We've just got to go with the right attitude and hopefully come out on the right end of a result.”

 

The Hoops were well worth their victory in Markets Field earlier this week. Having taken the lead just shy of half time from a corner thanks to David McAllister, Rovers racked up six corners in the opening ten minutes of the second period.

 

Their second goal from Ronan Finn came soon after and from yet another set piece as the Hoops skipper exploited poor Limerick defending.

 

“I think our deliveries from set plays have been really good. The ball is put into the box, whether it's Brandon (Miele), Ryan (Connolly) or Graham (Burke) it's top class delivery so we just need to make sure that the timing of our runs are good so we can get on the end of them.

 

“It was a great finish by Ronan Finn as well, he made it look easier than it was. It was a great touch on his chest and then a side foot.

 

“He could have slashed at it or put power into it but he didn't, he took control of it and slid it in with his right foot.

 

“We're a different team than the one that played Limerick in Tallaght earlier in the season. We're maturing and getting better.

 

“When we go 1-0 up like that the players look a lot more comfortable. It was good to see them go and take the game to Limerick."

 

Bradley played Connolly in a more advanced role against Limerick but that is a position Graham Burke is likely to take back as he returns from suspension.

 

“Ryan Connolly did really well up higher but it didn't surprise us because he's played a lot there in his career.”

 

Both Sam Bone and Pico Lopes are available for Rovers but Luke Byrne is still a doubt and Paul Corry continues to miss out but he is recovering from a knee operation he underwent earlier this week.

 

Simon Madden’s run of 123 consecutive league appearances comes to an end as he is attending a family wedding.

 

 

Referee: Anthony Buttimer.

 

 

MATCH STATS

Ronan Murray is the top scorer for the Tribesmen with nine league goals (13 in all competitions). Top marksman for Rovers in the league is Gary Shaw with 7 but Graham Burke, like Shaw, has scored eight in all competitions.

 

Rovers are looking for the 17th league win in a row against the Tribesman which would break outright a club record in the league which dates back to a run in the 1920s and 30s of 16 consecutive win over Jacobs.

 

Galway’s Gavan Holohan has scored five goals in his last three league games and Gary Shaw has got four goals from his last three starts against the Tribesmen.

 

 

BETTING

Galway United11/4; Draw 12/5; Shamrock Rovers evens.

 

PREDICTION

Galway United 0 – 1 Shamrock Rovers

 

 

Galway United

Injured: None.

Doubtful: None.

Suspended: None.

 

Shamrock Rovers

Injured: Paul Corry.

Doubtful: Luke Byrne.

Suspended: None.

Unavailable: Simon Madden.


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Macdara Ferris

Macdara Ferris is a contributor since 2007 to Hoops Scene (Shamrock Rovers' match day programme) and the co-author of Tallaght Time: Shamrock Rovers 2009 to 2012. He still believes that one day he will see Rovers win the FAI Cup. The first international game he attended was Luxembourg being dispatched 2-1 at Lansdowne Road by Jack Charlton's Ireland team.

He has been a writer with extratime.ie since 2012 covering the League of Ireland, the Irish National team and a few Champions League finals. He has also been known to pop up in far flung places like Ballybofey, Belfast, Berlin and Brazil to report for extratime.

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