A demanding test awaits for Galway United at Tolka Park tomorrow evening, but Alan Murphy’s team will travel to the Drumcondra venue buoyed after an emphatic victory over Athlone Town last Friday.
Goals from Cian Murphy, Conor Melody, Vinny Faherty, and Wilson Waweru secured a most satisfying win for United, who were boosted significantly by the return of goalkeeper Kevin Horgan following a severe kidney injury.
The United custodian supplied leadership and presence when Athlone posed some awkward questions initially, and it was fitting that the visitors also registered a clean sheet. Horgan’s younger brother Chris enjoyed his most effective outing in a United shirt, while Cian Murphy and Stephen Walsh were assured throughout.
Elsewhere Joe Collins’ energy and effort was appreciated by the healthy United crowd in the midlands. Now the challenge for the Tribesmen is to try to replicate that level of performance against an expensively assembled Shelbourne side.
Manager Murphy was thrilled three points were put into the account at Lissywollen. “I'm pleased for my bunch of players and my staff that our luck maybe turned around a little bit,” Murphy says.
“I think our performance level was pretty much where it has been a lot of the time to be honest. We have been competitive in every game, that was shown again. The first goal in these games can maybe dictate things at times, and we have been unlucky to be at the wrong end of the first goal in a lot of games. I thought our players acquitted themselves very well.
“You just need to look out at them - the passion they showed, the want, the way they celebrated goals - it means so much to them.
“That is what this whole thing is about. It is about growing the club again, getting a really, really honest bunch of players who can come in week-in week-out, make mistakes but try to fix them, to have that huge honesty and hunger. That was evident.”
Despite United having chalked up an impressive triumph, Murphy remains cool. “Had we got some luck in the previous games, we could be talking different,” Murphy admits.
“That is the project. It will be a little bit stop-start. We aren't going to get carried away with ourselves because we had a good win in Athlone. We need to get our heads down again to prepare properly, to make sure we are what we are - hard working, really honest, and that we care. That is what we are about.”
Ultimately Murphy acknowledges that confidence can be taken and momentum generated from the display against Athlone. “Four different goalscorers means four different chunks of confidence that we instil into people,” Murphy adds.
“Then you look at a clean sheet and five chunks of confidence that goes into people with your keeper and back four and even a holding midfielder, so maybe six little chunks. That is what we look for. It is a process this whole thing, it is step by step.
“It will be slow at times, it will be quick too. This will definitely help in terms of confidence for this young bunch of players. We won't get carried away with it, neither players nor management.”
Murphy was pleased United was clinical in converting opportunities during the Athlone success. “We were, it is funny sometimes when I listen to people sometimes about being toothless in the box, the formation is wrong, I'm looking at it saying what formation did you think we were playing?” Murphy states.
“The commentary is so far off at times, but we are in our own little bubble. We know what we are doing, what we are trying to do. We scored goals, we took our chances, other nights we haven't taken our chances.”
The next opportunity is against Shelbourne and Murphy will have his young team primed for a battle.
* Galway United Friends Co-Op is running a bus to Friday evening's match at Tolka Park, leaving from Crowes Bar, Bohermore. Seats can be booked by contacting Dominick Walsh at (087 ) 9163438 or Stephen Dowling at (086 ) 2361040.