Victory for Galway United tonight and Mayo on Sunday would complete a perfect few days for Ronan Murray, who has been named the SSE Airtricity/Soccer Writers’ Association of Ireland Player of the Month for August.
The striker is still hoping he’ll be in attendance at Croke Park on Sunday to see if his native county can confound the odds against Dublin.
“It’s all that’s on anybody’s mind,” he says. “It’s the only topic of conversation and who can get tickets. I’m hoping to go, fingers crossed. Where I’m from, Belmullet, it’s very rural and other than the beautiful views and the times we get nice weather, sport is the focal point for everyone.
“Whether it’s a sliotar, a football or a soccer ball, you pick it up and play, and that’s what I did. I played GAA for the club until I was 15 and then I had to give it up for the soccer when I signed [for Ipswich]. I had the choice to make and I made the soccer one.” Unkindly asked which he’d prefer, Mayo to win the All-Ireland or Galway to remain in the Premier Division, he chuckles in anguish.
“Ye can’t do that to me! You can’t ask me that. Not a hope. Put that down as a no comment!”
Murray got his award for netting three times for relegation-threatened Galway in the league and claiming a hat-trick against Killester in the FAI Cup.
“There are definitely mixed emotions,” he says. “Of course I am proud personally but I would swap it 10 times out of 10 to get the club out of the current position and I believe we can get out of it. We have it all to do, though.”
Second from bottom Galway have four of their remaining six games at Eamonn Deacy Park, starting with tonight’s visit of Derry City, while the only side below them in the table, Drogheda United — who have one game in hand — welcome Bohemians to United Park.
Meanwhile, Bray Wanderers will have to try to put the dark clouds of the League of Ireland’s latest alleged match-fixing probe to one side when they host Limerick at the Carlisle Grounds this evening. The footballers’ union, the PFAI, have written to the FAI asking for details about their investigation into the latest allegations which, arising out of last Friday’s 5-0 friendly defeat to Waterford, have already seen gardaí question a number of Bray players. The PFAI were also expected to meet Bray players yesterday.
In the First Division tonight, Shelbourne host Athlone Town at Tolka Park while Waterford can put themselves within touching distance of the title and promotion to the Premier Division with victory over Wexford at Ferrycarrig Park (8pm).
“I think that we all know that it’s not going to be easy especially as it’s a derby game and they’ll be hoping to spoil the party,” says Blues defender Conor Whittle. “It’s dragging out for us now and we just want to get the job done but we won’t do that unless we are focused on our performance. Winning this game would be a major boost for us.”
Cobh Ramblers welcome Cabinteely to St Colman’s Park on Saturday night, looking to keep the title race alive.
Cobh manager Stephen Henderson was full of praise for Stuart Ashton, his staff and players having missed the last two games due to the passing of his father Paddy.
“The last few weeks I’ve found it difficult, the likes of Stuart being there for me and the players has been absolutely sensational,” said Henderson.
Ramblers remain five points behind leaders Waterford with just three games left to play, one of which is home to Waterford on the last day of the season. Cobh will be without Peter Callanan and Cian Coleman due to suspension.
Unless otherwise stated, all Friday games kick off at 7.45pm.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved