In a hugely competitive SSE Aitricity League first division crucial games are arriving thick and fast for Galway United, who travel to Turners Cross tomorrow for a clash against Cork City (7.45pm ).
Buoyed up by a last gasp win over Wexford FC when substitute David Hurley netted a delightful goal following an astute Conor McCormack pass, United will be eager to deliver another positive result Leeside.
During the closing stages of the Wexford encounter McCormack and Hurley combined to telling effect which pleased manager John Caulfield. “We have been working on a lot of things, that play the ball had come into the box, it was initially cleared, but in fairness to Conor he showed his experience and knowledge, he just didn't whack it down the centre, he put a clever ball over the top for Dave Hurley,” Caulfield recalls.
“To be fair to Dave, he had a great first touch, he got inside his man, and it was a fantastic goal. To score so late was obviously gutting for Wexford, but for us after the week before, conceding so late, it was a brilliant winner for us.”
With three points pocketed United’s perseverance was rewarded. “On paper you are going into a match after a couple of tough weeks for Wexford,” Caulfield says.
“They changed their manager during the week, the players had a bounce. We had a number of chances to score the first goal, but the longer the game went on and the goal wasn't scored, it gave Wexford confidence.
“In fairness to the lads they kept going, they kept battling, trying to see if they could get the winner. We had chances, but in the end it was a tremendous finish from Dave. You come out of the game with three points, that is the most important thing.”
Caulfield returns to familiar territory at Turners Cross where he enjoyed many successful days as a City player and manager. The United boss, though, is firmly focused. “I think enough has been said about my time with Cork, I have played against them when I was in amateur football managing Avondale and UCC,” he says.
“So I have been in the away dressing room before, but the most important thing for us is that it is another huge game. It is the end of round one, our ninth match. Cork is a huge club, I know all about it. For us it is about preparing right.
“They've had a slow start to the season, but they have got a win and two draws in their last three matches. So we know it is going to be a very tough game, but our performances have been quite good. We are creating chances, it is just about taking more chances. We know it is going to be extremely tough.
“I know a lot about Cork's players, obviously I know Colin Healy well, I appointed him as Academy manager when I was there. It is about us making sure we give a very good performance. As I keep saying every week the quality and standard of the league means a lot of the teams are very even. It is about producing on the day and we need to perform well.
“After the win last week and the late goal, with a new team it is about self belief and confidence. Hopefully the late winner will give us that.”
With Ronan Manning unlikely to feature for several months due to a knee injury, the depth of the United squad continues to be tested. Caulfield was satisfied with how his substitutes performed in the Wexford tussle.
“It is the only way you can have it if you want to have any hope of trying to challenge up in the play/off spots which is what we are hoping to do,” Caulfield says.
“Mikey Place came on at half-time, he made a big impact, Dave Hurley came on, he had an impact, Colin Kelly, Wilson Waweru. You need that, you need all of the guys on the edge, who are disappointed not to start, that when they come on to the pitch with fire in the belly, ready to go, and to make an impact.
“Thankfully we have seen that over the course of a number of matches this year with the late goals against UCD, Treaty, and Wexford. We have been getting late goals and impact off the bench, that is what you need.”