Another important SSE Airtricity League first division encounter is on the agenda for Galway United, who host Cabinteely at Eamonn Deacy Park with manager John Caulfield encouraged.
A stirring United revival last Friday culminated with a last gasp winning goal over Athlone Town, who had controlled the opening period. Annaghdown teenager Alex Murphy’s splendid debut and Conor McCormack’s dynamic midfield display dominated post match discussions as United gleaned the full complement of spoils.
“I'm delighted for the players and supporters,” Caulfield says. “The players hadn't played well in the first half, certainly Athlone had played really well to dominate the game. In the second half the players came out, they played like how I have seen them in training and some of the time this season. It was a good performance.
“Obviously with the supporters there that gave a great lift in the second half, the encouragement coming from the stands. To come back in the game after being one down, to beat another very good side, two one, with the late winner obviously meant we were very pleased.
“I know that type of performance is in the team, I'm just now talking about our consistency. That is what we are trying to work on. If we can become consistent week in, week out you will improve your performances then.”
Murphy, 16, enjoyed a most productive first display at senior level in the maroon jersey. “There has been great work done by the Academy with all of the underage coaches, who have been working hard over the last number of years,” Caulfield says.
“Obviously Johnny Glynn has great structures put in place for everyone. We see that there is a number of talented lads coming through. It was fantastic for young Alex to come in, to play, he did very well.
“I would never hesitate to give any player an opportunity to come in if I felt they were ready for the occasion. He is a young lad so we have to protect him, to look after him.”
Caulfield, though, is adamant about ensuring Murphy’s development remains smooth. “Certainly I could see him playing a number of games between now and the end of the season,” Caulfield adds.
“It is very hard at that age to be a regular.
“He has tremendous attributes, but as a manager it would be wrong of me to expect him to play week in, week out because our league is very physical, very demanding. At the same time he gave a very good performance which was pleasing to see.
“Hopefully that will show other young players within the club and underage structure that the opportunity is there.
“They will be given an opportunity to step up, but it is always difficult. I don't want to go overboard because the development of players between 16 and 17 to 20 and 21 physically and mentally is tough.
“That is why a lot of times it does take players until they are in their early twenties before they make a breakthrough. It isn't as simple as it looks, but Alex is a special talent. We need to mind him and protect him.”
Cabinteely, who defeated Cork City at Turners Cross, will provide a stern test at the Dyke Road venue according to Caulfield. “You look at Cabinteely with Pat Devlin and Eddie Gormley - one of the longest serving managements in the league - last year they were on top of the league for a long, long time, they fell away in the run-in,” Caulfield says.
“This year they are in the pack, they have regrouped. Always a hard working team, always difficult to beat. They went down to Cork last week and had a fantastic result. They are ahead of us in the table, we know they are a very solid and tight unit, who like to play on the counter attack.
“They are very hard to score against, we know there is a huge challenge for us. We need to keep a clean sheet, we are at home, we know the huge threat they pose against us, but after winning last week we have to hope the second half performance, to see can we carry that into the next game. We will need to do that if we are to have any chance of getting a good result.”