Mervue Utd and SD Galway return to League actionAugust 31, 2012 - 7:00am
The local battle to avoid the bottom of the Airtricity League First Division resumes tonight with both Mervue United and SD Galway in action, following last weekend’s break for the FAI Cup.
The two city sides have spent the season at the foot of the table, cut adrift from the other six clubs and left to wage their own battle for local bragging rights, and two wins on the trot for SD Galway – one of which was against Mervue United – has seen them close the gap to their cross-city rivals at the foot of the table to just a point, with just six games of the season remaining.
Mervue United should have seen action last weekend, having defeated SD Galway in the Third Round of the FAI Cup, but their Fourth Round tie away to Waterford last Friday night was postponed less than three hours before kick-off due to a waterlogged pitch at the Regional Sports Centre in Waterford.
The game was refixed for last Monday at the same venue, but Mother Nature intervened again, with the pitch still declared unplayable, resulting in the game being called off again. The one slight saving grace for Johnny Glynn and his players was the fact they had not left Galway on Monday when the game was called off – they had almost arrived in Waterford last Friday before getting word about the postponement.
That double cancellation will have hardly helped their preparations for tonight’s league game with Finn Harps (kick-off 7.45pm), but at least they will enjoy home advantage against a side they defeated at Fahy’s Field back in April.
Tonight’s game is the fourth meeting between the sides this season, with the three previous meetings going the way of the home side – Harps won a thrilled by the odd goal in seven in Finn Park in March, and recorded another single-goal victory in Ballybofey in July, Alan Murphy’s brace not enough to prevent a 3-2 defeat for United.
In between those two defeats came their only meeting so far this year in Fahy’s Field, and goals from Murphy, Jason Molloy and Barry McEntee sealed a 3-0 win for Mervue, their first win of the season in nine attempts.
The fact that those three games between the sides produced 15 goals suggests there will be plenty of goalmouth action tonight, and in that respect, the loss of Mike Elwood to suspension will be a blow to Glynn’s side.
Harps, however, have been hit even harder on the disciplinary side, with Thomas McBride, Aaron O’Hagan and leading scorer Kevin McHugh all ruled out of tonight’s game, while there are injury concerns surrounding Gary Merritt, Tommy Bonner and Paul McVeigh, and the fact that they have lost on all four of their previous visits to Fahy’s Field should tilt the balance in Mervue’s favour.
If that is the case, they will stay off the bottom of the table, but any slip-up will open the gate for SD Galway to leapfrog them in the table, as they also face a very winnable game tonight, away to Wexford Youths in Ferrycarrig park (kick-off 8pm).
For more, read this week's Galway City Tribune.