In a highly competitive SSE Aitricity League first division, important matches are arriving thick and fast for Galway United, who face Cobh Ramblers at St Colman’s Park on Saturday (7pm ).
Last Friday United came from behind once more to divide the spoils with UCD as Ruairi Keating and substitute Padraic Cunningham netted second half goals during an eventful encounter.
Having staged a late revival mission against Treaty United the previous week, manager John Caulfield is encouraged about the resilience his team continues to demonstrate.
“In these games we've had opportunities to go ahead, that hasn't happened,” Caulfield says. “The main thing is we are showing tremendous character which the guys are doing. The squad certainly has come together, there is great camaraderie amongst the group.
“It is just not as simple as putting 20 guys together with it clicking straightaway. I feel over the last couple of weeks things have definitely gelled much better.”
Caulfield is excited about the ability of attackers Keating, Cunningham, and the promising Wilson Waweru.
“The performance last week I thought was very good and it was good for the forward players,” Caulfield adds. “Willy [Waweru] had scored a couple of goals coming on, but it was good for Podge [Cunningham] and Ruairi to get off the mark last Friday night. Hopefully that is a good sign going forward.”
Having leaked a couple of soft goals in the UCD match, Caulfield is hoping United can reduce the defensive lapses in concentration.
“Since the league has started we have gone behind in all of the games bar the Shelbourne one obviously which was nil all,” Caulfield comments.
“Against Treaty we scored very late to get the equaliser, again the other night we scored to bring it to 2-2. I think the main thing for us is that we have conceded a number of sloppy goals, that is something we need to rectify very quickly.
“We are working hard at doing that, but I definitely thought against UCD, who I said at the start of the season, that they are one of the main favourites. A lot of people don't see UCD in the same light as they would see Cork, Galway, Shelbourne, Bray, and Athlone, but UCD are always a dangerous team.
“I felt last year they were the best team in the division and they were very unlucky in the play/offs. This year they are better, I think, than they were last year.”
The United boss remains optimistic ahead of the trip south. “I felt the last night our display was very good, I felt it was more like the Galway United we all want to see, but we obviously need to cut out the mistakes and soft goals,” Caulfied remarks.
“Certainly for the lads to come back on two occasions, particularly the second goal. To be fair to the lads, they kept going, and showed the character within the group.”
Stuart Ashton’s well organised Cobh outfit will be primed for a battle. “Cobh have had a good run, they have had two draws and a win in their last three games,” Caulfield acknowledges.
“St Colman's Park, I know it like the back of my hand, it has always been a very difficult venue, a nice little ground with a tight pitch with a bit of a slope on it. Cobh are always very game, at home particularly.
“I saw them on Saturday against Bray Wanderers, and I saw them a number of weeks ago against Treaty. In both games they showed tremendous battling quality.
“They play quite direct, they are quite efficient at it. As I keep saying every week in this league you have to prepare for every team. That is no different for us this Saturday.”