Earning a top four promotion play-off spot remains Galway United’s objective, so Saturday’s trip to St Colman’s Park (kick off 7.45pm ) for a clash with Cobh Ramblers will be another important game for Alan Murphy’s team.
Last Friday at Eamonn Deacy Park United proved far too strong for lowly Athlone Town, who were unable to deal with an improved performance from the home team. Conor Barry, Carlton Ubaezounu, Eoin McCormack, and substitute Ronan Manning bagged goals for United, who also gave debuts to teenagers Adam Rooney, Chris Horgan, and Wilson Waweru.
Promising central defender Rooney, who played at U17 level under Murphy last season, was praised for his performance. “I thought he did well on the night and he is only going to get better with partnerships with whoever it might be - Stephen Walsh or Robbie Williams,” Murphy says.
“Adam is the future, that is what we need to look at. Yes, we are under pressure at the moment, we want a play-off spot. I brought Adam to the club, along with a few other lads, and he has done it for me.
"He has really taken off as a player since last year. Nobody knew him as a player, but we had a great year with the U17s, then there was talks of trials and that sort of thing, and there will be in the future.
“Wilson Waneru and Chris Horgan are youngsters I have worked with throughout my career with the Connacht Schools and Galway United U17s, and again they are the future. It was important to give Wilson his time on the pitch even though it wasn't that long.”
Murphy, who remains in charge of the U17 team this year, combining it with his interim first team position, is also adamant about the potential of some other emerging talent.
“Colin Kelly and Donal Higgins have trained with us, they are excellent technical players and I keep saying it to them and to the U19 players that if you are good enough, you are old enough,” Murphy says. “My own career and Derek O'Brien's career we started at that level when we were that age, we haven't forgotten about that, and if it is right, they will be introduced.”
Plenty of positives
Staying in the promotion hunt is precisely what Murphy wants to do so this weekend’s encounter carries huge importance. Murphy took plenty of positives from the Athlone triumph.
“We were a lot more positive and what I mean by positive is attacking positive and territorial positive rather than playing it back and across the pitch,” Murphy says.
“There was an awful lot of tactical work put in on that, it was still a United that wanted to get the ball down to play, but it was a cutting United. I thought it was a breath of fresh air and I thought at times Carlton was a real, real danger. I thought Conor Barry took up some brilliant positions and was a breath of fresh air in terms of his ability on the ball. It is a work in progress.
“Next week could be a completely different game away in Cobh. Again it will be a grinding out a result, I'd imagine, and there may be a need for a different set of tactics.
“I won't be trying to reinvent the wheel every second week. I have said to the lads it is about us, not the team we are playing at the moment. We need confidence and players that are at it; that is where we are starting from.”