Another busy SSE Airtricity League first division weekend looms for Galway United, who host Cabinteely at Eamonn Deacy Park tomorrow before travelling to City Calling Stadium on Monday for a clash against Longford Town.
Undoubtedly it is a demanding stint for the Tribesmen, who have suffered a couple of losses to Bray Wanderers and Drogheda United since defeating Longford at home a fortnight ago. That was such a hugely positive display from Alan Murphy’s young team, but the United boss admits valuable lessons are being learned.
“It was so encouraging when we defeated Longford Town, but it is that type of a season, full of ups and downs,” Murphy says. “We filled ourselves with hope and then we make simple errors to knock ourselves back a bit. That is the nature of where we are at. All we can do is look forward to two big games against top four teams," he says.
“It is a great test again. Anybody who finishes above these teams will be winning the league. We were reasonably happy with our second-half performance in Cabinteely. We really pressed, and we did deserve something from the game."
However, he says, Cabinteely will be like a "wounded animal'" at the moment.
"Suffering two defeats has put a bad taste on their season because they were flying. They will be coming with their guard up, trying to make sure we don't spoil their party. We will be very much looking to do that, to get confidence back on board by producing a performance in front of our crowd.”
Murphy believes his youthful squad are gaining valuable playing time in senior football, ensuring that the future is bright in the west.
“The key to the whole thing is exposure and experience for players,” Murphy adds. “The really crucial part is the players, who have been identified as having serious potential, character, motivation, and application. For too long it was too easy to be a League of Ireland footballer in Galway because whoever wanted to could be one.
“That is a key part is putting the power back in the hands of management and the hands of people who know what they are doing. That is the really important ingredient in this transition period. It is to be able to identify players who can move forward with the club.
“Yes you will have fallers, players not up to the standard, but that isn't going to be the failing of the project. To really push forward, you are going to need these failings, you will have to test yourself against the best that is around. "
Murphy says United are trying to create a club that in two or three years time will boast a strong group of experienced players, who are largely local based and be able to compete for a league "where money isn't the deciding factor to get A, B, C, D, or E in from 400 miles away".
Despite suffering nine defeats in 13 matches Murphy remains hopeful his youngsters continue to improve.
“We are delivering really honest and hard working performances week in, week out,” he says. “Segments of quality, chunks of inexperience and errors, but that is part and parcel of it. This is how I want to move forward, I think it is refreshing. I think it is a definite pathway to success.
“It needs buy in from fans, from club, from players. It needs patience, and the honesty of endeavour we are getting at the moment.”