Galway United v Cork City: Four key battles

Two teams have dominated the First Division title chase since the season kicked off in February and Galway United and Cork City meet for the second of four duels tonight
Galway United v Cork City: Four key battles

Cork City's Matt Healy celebrates scoring.  Picture; Eddie O'Hare

It’s the big one. Two teams have dominated the First Division title chase since the season kicked off in February and Galway United and Cork City meet for the second of four duels tonight.

As with the initial game at Turner’s Cross, where 4,884 fans turned out, Eamonn Deacy Park is expected to be throbbing.

Twelve wins from 15, one more than Cork, has given Galway a two-point advantage and tonight’s result could be pivotal to the outcome, even with half of the season left.

Here we look at some of the key battles in store.

Stephen Walsh v Ally Gilchrist:

Traditionally a defender, Caulfield’s conversion of Walsh into a frontman has paid dividends with his eight goals putting him top of the scoring charts.

No-nonsense centre-back Gilchrist is similarly experienced and their duel, particularly in the air, promises to be fascinating.

Conor McCormack v Matt Healy:

City’s former general from their 2017 double-winning team has reunited with Caulfield in the west and even after turning 32 last week, possesses the nous and guile to make his presence felt.

Healy is at the opposite end of his career and the extension of the rookie’s loan from Ipswich Town was the news his namesake Colin wanted to hear. Expect a few lively tussles in the engine-room when Healy tries to make his trademark dashes from deep.

Diego Portilla v Ruairí Keating:

One of two Spaniards recruited by Caulfield from a shopping trip to the continent, Portilla has been a revelation at the back, with his fusion of leadership and presence. 

Keating returns to one of his former clubs as the established striker in City’s artillery, yet still not hitting his peak.

John Caulfield v Colin Healy:

Former manager and player look horns again with the mind games in full flow. Healy heard enough of Caulfield’s mental ploys during their time together to dismiss the reverse psychology attached to burdening City with the tag of overwhelming favourites for promotion.

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