By Oisín Bradley
It is a case of clarity at last for Galway United and the rest of the SSE Airtricity First Division sides this week, following the announcement of fixtures for the forthcoming campaign
John Caulfield’s men returned to collective training on the first of February, and the intensity will surely be thrown into sharper focus given the looming nature of matchday one.
The FAI have come under criticism in soccer circles for their delay in the release of fixtures, and this announcement will be welcomed by many from the boardrooms to the stands despite its tardiness
It’s a home start for last season’s play-off finalists, as they face Shelbourne in Eamonn Deacy Park on March 26th. Shelbourne were one of the sides to suffer the drop from the top tier of Irish football in 2020, and this clash will be considered a great barometer for two sides who will be eyeing promotion from the offset.
The fixtures don’t get any less significant from then on in, with matchday two seeing the men in maroon making the short trip down the M6 to take on Athlone Town. The Midlanders will be looking to improve on last time out, when the visitors swept their local rivals aside with consummate ease in a 4-1 rout.
Cork City will welcome Galway United to Turners’ Cross in league action for the first time since 2017. However, both sides’ fortunes have been dipped since then, and their star has fallen significantly since that 2-1 win for the Leesiders, who went on to become Premier Division champions that year.
Caulfield will face off against his former employers for the first time since his departure, and his current club will be looking for a reversal of the fortunes on that day, when Garry Buckley’s fine strike and a Lee Grace own-goal sealed the win for the hosts.
The Tribesmen will be aiming to once again to secure their berth in the promotion play-offs, which will be two-legged fixtures starting on Friday, November 5th.
Recent reports have suggested that a second additional team will be added to the league. Limerick outfit Treaty United were expected to take the place of Shamrock Rovers B for the current campaign, however, according to the Irish Daily Star, British and American owned Dublin County FC also look set to be joining the First Division ranks this season. Irish football’s governing body are thought to be considering re-releasing the First Division fixture list on account of this structural change,
Galway United Fixture List:
March 26th – Galway United vs Shelbourne
April 2nd – Athlone Town vs Galway United
April 9th – Cabinteely vs Galway United
April 16th – Galway United vs TBC
April 23rd – Galway United vs UCD
May 1st – Cobh Ramblers vs Galway United
May 7th – Galway United vs Bray Wanderers
May 14th – Galway United vs Wexford Youths
May 21st – Cork City vs Galway United
May 28th – Shelbourne vs Galway United
June 11th – Galway United vs Athlone Town
June 18th – Galway United vs Cabinteely
June 25th – TBC vs Galway United
July 2nd – UCD vs Galway United
July 9th – Galway United vs Cobh Ramblers
July 16th – Bray Wanderers vs Galway United
July 30th – Wexford Youths vs Galway United
August 6th– Galway United vs Cork City
August 13th – Galway United vs Shelbourne
August 20th – Athlone Town vs Galway United
September 3rd – Cabinteely vs Galway United
September 10th – Galway United vs TBC
September 24th – Galway Unted vs UCD
October 2nd – Cobh Ramblers vs Galway United
October 8th – Galway United vs Bray Wanderers
October 15th – Galway United vs Wexford Youths
October 29th – Cork City vs Galway United
*The above fixture list is accurate as of Friday 19th of February, and may be subject to change pending the admission of an additional club to the League of Ireland First Division