It might be early in the SSE Airtricity League First Division season, but there is no disguising the importance of tomorrow evening’s tussle when Alan Murphy’s Galway United host Cabinteely at Eamonn Deacy Park (7.45pm ).
Following two disappointing draws away to Shamrock Rovers II and Wexford FC, United are now under pressure to deliver a win on home turf. A resilient Cabinteely have chalked up three victories in the campaign ensuring they will arrive in the west armed with momentum and confidence.
On Tuesday on the banks of the Corrib, United eventually shrugged off Athlone Town’s resistance, courtesy of goals from Alberto Cabanyes and Wilson Waweru. Murphy made nine changes from the team which divided the spoils with Wexford at Ferrycarrig Park with goalkeeper Mícheál Schlingermann and captain Shane Duggan supplying significant experience for the League Cup clash.
United encountered problems, but a much-improved second half display was sufficient to earn a passage into the second round.
Murphy is hopeful his team can now stitch a run together. “It has been a funny start to the season with the first game being postponed initially,” Murphy says. “Then the second game going the way it went in terms of the football taking a back seat. Obviously the Wexford game was disappointing, I don't think we had a shot on target.
“We should have had a good few. We have an important spell coming now with home games. Hopefully, it will be a positive week and we will be able to reflect on it and be positive about it. It is very important we are focused and that we keep trying to improve within the camp. We can't be looking outside.”
Fortunately the United squad is deep, which is proving to be vital considering there have been injuries and illness from the outset of the campaign.
“ I'm in the League for 20 years," Murphy says. “I know what it takes. If anyone thinks you get 18 players, you get no headaches and just fingers crossed that everyone stays fit, that just won't happen. I needed to make sure we have a squad, we do have that and they will get chances.”
The United boss is also encouraged about how those who have joined the club have integrated into life in Galway.
“The recruitment process was good,” Murphy reflects. “They are good guys and they are fitting in very well. It is early days, but there has been no hassle in terms of fitting in. The football will hopefully come very quickly after that with the team gelling. With the squad, hopefully the performances and results will follow.”
Cabanyes’ goal and assist in the Athlone success offered some encouragement ahead of the critical Cabinteely contest. If a serious promotion bid is to be launched, these are precisely the type of fixtures in which United must demonstrate passion and purpose.