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Salthill look to spoil hoops trip

AS ONE Galway man pulled off heroics in goal to help his team earn a result and frustrate the favourites at Wembley on Wednesday night, the fans of Salthill Devon are hoping for more of the same in the FAI Cup tonight.

David Forde put in a man-of-the-match display in Ireland's 1-1 draw with England and Devon's stand-in manager John 'Jumbo' Brennan expects his own keeper Ronan Forde, a cousin of the Ireland number one, to be just as busy this evening when Shamrock Rovers come to Galway in the FAI Cup.

As far as the bookies are concerned, Salthill Devon are no-hopers for this game, rated at 12/1 for a win against a Rovers side desperate for their first Cup success since 1987.



Yet the hard-working squad and staff at the Galway club draw on a number of positives for the visit of the Hoops, including the performance in goal of a Galway man in London.

"David Forde had a great game for Ireland against England, we have his cousin Ronan in goal for us and we might need a big game from him as well," said Brennan, who is taking charge of the first-team while manager Tony Mannion is away from the club for health reasons.

"We have a number of very good young players at the club, and Ronan – who is only 22 – is one of them. We play in the First Division with not much publicity or media focus every week, but I have seen our lads for a long time now and I have confidence in their ability to do something.

"Someone like Enda Curran, who scored two goals when we had a great win away to Cobh in the league last week and also scored against St Pat's in the EA Sports Cup, is a very promising player. Graham Kelly, who is ex-Bray, has come into the side and done really well, and we have lads like Robbie Gaul and Cian Fadden who will all look forward to this game tonight, as a chance to show what they can do," added Brennan.

Although it was another club from the city, Galway United, who shocked Shamrock Rovers in the FAI Cup final in 1991, there could be some omens there for tonight's game.

"I wasn't involved in that one. I only joined Galway United the following season – they managed to win the FAI Cup without me," jokes Brennan. "But I have heard some people around the place refer to that this week. Rovers were the red-hot favourites for that game, I think their fans thought that all they had to do was turn up and beat Galway, but Galway won the Cup."

Salthill Devon also draw confidence from their display at home to a Dublin team in a Cup game earlier this month, as Premier Division leaders St Pat's needed extra-time to overcome the Galway side in the EA Sports Cup, Curran putting his side in front only for Pat's to equalise and force the game to extra-time.

"We were good that day against Pat's. We played and even though they rested players we made them work very hard for their win," says Brennan.

"One aspect for us tonight will be the Rovers team. If Rovers make a lot of changes and play a weakened team I think our players would see that as a lack of respect and use that to their advantage.

"I know Trevor Croly from being on the pro-licence course with him so I have a lot of respect for Trevor. We know it won't be easy in any shape or form tonight.



"But all the pressure is on Rovers. This game is a chance for our lads to play on a bigger stage. I have told the players it's a chance for them to show other clubs what they are capable of."

Croly says he will not take the Galway side for granted. "We're aware that this could be a potential banana skin, so we will need to be very focused for the game," said the Rovers boss.

"We have had Salthill watched and seen footage of them play and so know that they could be dangerous, and that was shown in their recent progression in the EA Sports Cup ahead of St Pat's. We won't be expecting to just go down there and pick up a win, but if we fully concentrate on the game and play to our abilities we can."