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League of Ireland Premier | Gameweek 21
Jun 13, 2024 at 7.45pm UK
Eamonn Deacy Park
Drogheda United

Galway United
3 - 0

Walsh (7', 61'), O'Keefe (90+3')
FT(HT: 1-0)

O'Brien (48')

Preview: Galway United vs. Drogheda United - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Thursday's League of Ireland Premier clash between Galway United and Drogheda United, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Both aiming to return to winning ways, Galway United and Drogheda United will square off at Eamonn Deacy Park on Thursday.

The visitors remain eight points adrift of automatic safety at the bottom end of the League of Ireland Premier Division in the midst of a six-match winless run, while their hosts sit fifth after back-to-back defeats of their own.

Match preview

Galway United return to League of Ireland Premier Division action on Thursday with the aim of bouncing back from consecutive defeats in what has otherwise been an impressive first half to the season on their return to the top flight.

After topping the League of Ireland First Division last time around, Thursday's hosts enjoyed a pleasing start sitting in the top half on 27 points from their first 17 outings, having picked up seven victories across those games while only suffering four defeats, culminating in consecutive victories over Drogheda United and Dundalk.

In a trip to their upcoming visitors in mid-May, John Caulfield's side came from behind in dramatic fashion to prevail at United Park, as Maurice Nugent levelled the game at two goals apiece in the 91st minute before Stephen Walsh netted the winner deeper into injury time.

The Crusties have been unable to extend that impressive run in two further attempts since, though, now heading into the reverse fixture on the back of a pair of losses in the top flight, firstly falling just short away at St Patrick's Athletic before most recently visiting Derry City on Friday and leaving empty-handed as Will Patching and Patrick Hoban netted goals in the final 25 minutes to wrap up a 2-0 home triumph.

Despite their recent dip in form, Galway United do remain fifth in the League of Ireland Premier Division with just four-point gaps up to third-placed Shamrock Rovers and fourth-placed Waterford with a game in hand on both, and they will set out to bounce back and narrow that gap with an eighth league victory of the campaign on Thursday.

In their way stand a visiting side in search of a much-needed win of their own, with their standing in the fight for survival becoming more desperate.

After their seventh-placed finish in the League of Ireland Premier Division last time around, Drogheda United have endured a tough start to the 2024 campaign, initially picking up three wins and 15 points from their first 15 outings.

The Drogs have since hit a dismal run of form since their latest victory in early May, adding just one more point to their tally in five further attempts, firstly suffering four straight defeats beginning with the agonising 3-2 loss at home to Thursday's hosts, before falling short in the following meetings with Waterford and Shamrock Rovers.

A trip to Sligo Rovers then followed and Kevin Doherty's side again left empty-handed, eventually losing 2-1 having failed to find a leveller after Jack Keaney pulled a goal back at the beginning of the second half, before they most recently hosted eighth-placed St Patrick's Athletic and ended the losing run in a goalless stalemate.

While Drogheda United will be pleased to see the back of such a rut, they do now find themselves six games without a win in the relegation playoff place, with St Pat's having remained eight points ahead with that draw, and Doherty's men will now be desperate to return to winning ways and kickstart an upturn in form to improve their survival hopes.

Galway United League of Ireland Premier form:

Drogheda United League of Ireland Premier form:

Team News

Galway may opt to make several changes to their starting XI from last week's 2-0 defeat, with Stephen Walsh vying to return and lead the line from the outset after Karl O'Sullivan was preferred up top against Derry City.

O'Sullivan may instead drop into a supporting trio alongside David Hurley and Ed McCarthy, while Maurice Nugent could again join Conor McCormack in the engine room in a 4-2-3-1 setup.

Elsewhere, Rob Slevin and Killian Brouder are mainstays in defence and should continue their partnership in front of veteran stopper Brendan Clarke.

Drogheda United could also make a change in attack after their goalless draw last time out, with Frantz Pierrot likely to come in and start up front having netted a joint-team-high tally of five goals so far this term.

If he does lead the line, Zishim Bawa may move out to the left wing, while Adam Foley is a danger man on the right-hand side having contributed four goals of his own thus far.

In the absence of key midfielder and captain Gary Deegan through injury, Ryan Brennan and Matthew O'Brien will continue to partner up in the midfield, while Jack Keaney and Andrew Quinn will again get the nod over Hayden Cann at the heart of the defence.

Galway United possible starting lineup:
Clarke; Esua, Slevin, Brouder, Kazeem; Nugent, McCormack; O'Sullivan, Hurley, McCarthy; Walsh

Drogheda United possible starting lineup:
Wogan; Heeney, Quinn, Keaney, Kane; Brennan, O'Brien; Foley, Markey, Bawa; Pierrot

SM words green background

We say: Galway United 2-1 Drogheda United

With both teams desperate for a return to winning ways, we anticipate a competitive encounter on Thursday and give a slight edge to the hosts, having enjoyed an impressive first half to the season with the Drogs stuck in more of a rut.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

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