AUTHOR: Kieran Burke – @Kieran_B_Sport
Galway United simply couldn’t live with the consistency of Shelbourne last season as the Tribesmen again found themselves in the playoffs only to fall at the first hurdle. While Shelbourne blew most teams out of the water financially in the First Division last season, Galway United were perhaps the only side who could go toe-to-toe with the Drumcondra outfit given United’s full-time status and strong financial backing. As a result, last season can only be viewed as a failure for John Caulfield and co and 2022 very much looks like a chance of redemption with the well-backed Shels now out of the picture and the second-tier having a more open look.
Jordan Adeyemo appeals as a quality signing from Drogheda United and the striker could feature in the race for the golden boot this season but otherwise, Galway’s business has been far from spectacular. Diego Portilla and Manu Dimas are the latest in a long tradition of foreign imports to Terryland but are total unknowns while youngster Evan O’Connor has little to no senior LOI experience having spent time with the Midlands clubs, Athlone and Longford Town respectively. The same can be said for O’Connor’s ex-Athlone teammate Oisin O’Reilly but at least Ed McCarthy and Charlie Lyons come with proven form at this level following moves from Treaty United and Cobh Ramblers.
One big plus in pre-season for Galway has been the return to fitness of Francely Lomboto, who looked set for a big season last year only to suffer a broken leg in pre-season but himself and Adeyamo should give United plenty of bite up top. However, much of last season’s squad that underperformed despite arriving with big reputations remain, as does a manager whose style of play can be very conservative at times, to say the least. I do expect Galway to be there or thereabouts but I can see them just coming up short when it comes to the ultimate prize.
BTS PREDICTION: Playoffs.
STAR PERFORMER: Jordan Adeyemo (Outside shout for golden boot).
ONE TO WATCH: Francely Lomboto (No defender will enjoy marking him).
For previews & predictions on EVERY GAME across BOTH DIVISIONS this weekend in the League of Ireland, be sure to tune in to S6EP1 of Between the Stripes LOI podcast with special guests: Kevin Doherty, Dan O’Reilly, and Cristian Magerusan. Available here or wherever you get your podcasts from.