Galway United manager John Caulfield is delighted with goalkeeper Luke Dennison’s rich contribution in recent weeks.
Before Friday’s SSE Airtricity League first division 0-0 draw against Treaty United, Conor Kearns had started every league fixture in 2021.
Kearns’ controversial red card in the win over Cabinteely at Stradbrook the previous week meant Dennision had to assume responsibility. The Californian responded in style making a penalty save in the Cabinteely encounter and subsequently performing well in the Treaty stalemate.
“It is difficult from Luke Dennison's point of view,” Caulfield says. “Some of the most under rated keepers around the league are the reserve keepers. While outfield players on the bench can get a run at different times and in different situations, a reserve keeper never gets a run unless the keeper gets injured or suspended.
“He came in at the break, we lost Kevin [Horgan], who was a fantastic goalkeeper, who emigrated. We got Luke in, he has trained brilliantly, he has a great attitude. It is just fantastic that he has got the opportunity, he did fantastic in Cabinteely, to save a penalty and keep a clean sheet for the rest of the game.
“Obviously playing Treaty you know you are going to be defending lots of set pieces, he did brilliant. It was great for him to get another game and clean sheet, it just gives the goalkeeper that bit of confidence.
"Plus it gives him a chance, he is challenging Conor, he is in the seat at the moment. He is available for the next game because Conor is suspended, it gives him another chance. From a manager's point of view if you have competition like that, the guy that comes in does the business, performs well, he helps the team, that is what you want.”
A clash with UCD at Eamonn Deacy Park on September 24 is United’s next assignment so Caulfield and his coaching staff intend to use the extra training time wisely.
“It gives you an opportunity when you have that week to do a little bit of extra work,” he says. “You deal with it, you know it is coming, and it is the same for nearly all of the teams in the division. The difference this week is that instead of playing a match on Friday we get an extra day of training. It gives you a chance to work on some stuff.
“Obviously from our own point of view we have been generally throughout the season quite strong defensively. We have kept a lot of clean sheets.
“In attacking areas we have created quite a number of chances in a lot of the matches, we have not been taking our chances as much. That is an area we are working hard on, trying to see can we obviously get more goals.”
Caulfield felt that United could have been more clinical during the Treaty tussle. “When you look at the games this year between ourselves and Treaty they have been tight,” Caulfield adds. “Look at Treaty's record defensively, they are one of the top defensive teams in the league.
“They are well oiled and well drilled, they play on the counter attack. They sit in and they are extremely dangerous from set pieces and throw-ins.
“With a lot of ex Galway United lads we knew how difficult the games were because we drew with them earlier in the season. We beat them one nil down there, but at the same time their goalkeeper was man of the match, he made three outstanding saves.
“When you get those opportunities in tight matches you need to take them. If you go ahead it forces the other team to come out, it opens up a bit more.
“That was the disappointing thing, but overall it was another clean sheet. The performance - I thought we passed the ball very well at times, but it was just unfortunate when we created the few chances we did not take them.”