Match preview by Kieran Burke (@KieranBTS/@BetweenStripes)
On a weekend of big boxing action, undoubtedly one of the main events of the 2018 First Division campaign takes place this Friday night in Galway, as Longford Town travel to Eamon Deacy Park for a titanic second tier showdown.
Shane Keegan’s Galway United are the hosts as their Midlands visitors come into this one off the back of hammering local rivals Athlone Town 5-1 at the City Calling Stadium last time out.
Goals haven’t been an issue for either side so far this season with United putting four past Athlone, three past Cabinteely and two past a resilient Drogheda side, however they did surrender that two goal in their most recent outing against Tim Clancy’s ‘’Drogs’’, who managed to rescue a point despite having a man sent off at United Park. Keegan’s men also failed to shut out an impressive UCD side, who the Tribesmen drew 1-1 with a couple of weeks ago.
There is no doubt as to where Galway’s main threat will come from on Friday night and that is through former First Division winner and Wexford legend, Danny Furlong. The in form striker has already bagged six goals this season and will certainly return for Friday’s game having sat out that trip to Drogheda on Monday.
As for Neale Fenn’s Longford, ‘’De Town’’ will have to make to do without the services of three-time League of Ireland champion, Darren Meenan who suffered a nasty hamstring injury in Longford’s 3-2 defeat at Tolka Park a fortnight ago. Fellow winger, Peter Hopkins is rated as 50/50 having also done hamstring damage during that Tolka Park slugfest, while Dylan McGlade must again watch on from the stands through suspension.
However, in more positive news, Sam Verdon is once again available following his sending off in Drumcondra. Full-back’s Tristan Noack-Hoffman and Adam O’Connor both played a half against Athlone, as the latter was forced off through illness, meaning Fenn may have a selection headache for Friday’s game in more than one position with the likes of Dean Byrne and local lad, Aodh Dervin bang in contention for respective starting berths following their impressive performances in the Midlands derby. Alan Kehoe is the final player on the Longford Town treatment table as he continues to recover from a slight knee injury.
Kick-off at Eamonn Deacy Park is 7.45pm this Good Friday with a win for the hosts giving them the potential to reclaim top-spot from UCD, while a big away win for Longford would see them move onto ten points, which is the same tally Drogheda United and UCD currently find themselves on. A huge game to say the least as the 2018 SSE Airtricity League First Division really starts to heat up.
You can listen to Kieran Burke's interview with Galway United manager, Shane Keegan on our SoundCloud channel.