With an SSE Airtricity League first division play/off berth already secured, Galway United travel to play Cobh Ramblers at St Colman’s Park tomorrow (7.45pm ).
Friday’s 4-1 success over UCD illustrated United’s athleticism and ability with Wilson Waweru, Mikie Rowe, Shane Doherty, and Padraic Cunningham contributing goals for John Caulfield’s outfit.
Despite the absence of two prominent suspended players, goalkeeper Conor Kearns and captain Conor McCormack, United still prevailed.
Caulfield acknowledged the tone setting midfield display from Gary Boylan, who was terrific for the home team. “He was, we all know how brilliant Conor McCormack is and what brilliant leadership qualities he has, but the fact we knew he was out gave us a chance to work on the partnership of Gary Boylan and Maurice Nugent in the middle of the park,” Caulfield says.
“Of course Maurice has played at centre back for us more or less since I came in charge, at the same time he had played in the middle of the park before. It gave us the opportunity for the two weeks to work on it.
“Obviously Gary was superb, but I thought Maurice was superb in there too, they complemented each other very well. We all know how fantastic Conor McCormack is, for him to be missing in any game is never nice. Thankfully on the day it did not cost us.”
The United boss was delighted by the manner in which United eventually shrugged off UCD’s challenge. “In a number of games we have maybe scored one goal and sometimes a second so it was nice the other night that we hit four,” he adds.
“I keep saying the scoreline flattered us a little bit because UCD are a really good team, our defending was very, very good. At various stages they could have gone ahead or equalised, they had opportunities in the second half at two nil. They were always in the game so in the end it probably flattered us a little bit.”
An enthusiastic Eamonn Deacy Park audience enjoyed the encounter. “Certainly it was nice for us to score four goals, the atmosphere was really fantastic,” Caulfield says.
“If we can have that atmosphere for every home match we can turn Terryland into a fortress, that is what we need to do. Right throughout the game, and even in the second half when it was on a knife edge at one nil, and the game was tight when they had come right back into the match the noise levels were fantastic.
“That is what we need. With the lads on the pitch working as hard as they can and the fans in the stadium putting all of their energy in behind the team it is a powerful combination. Long may that continue.”
United’s focus has switched to Cobh with Caulfield completely aware about the dangers of the upcoming tussle. “Cobh always and historically going back many, many years ago when I was a player myself with Cork - no matter what position Cobh are in, St Colman's Park is always a tough venue,” Caulfield says.
“It is a tight pitch, they are a proud town with a strong soccer club, they always give everyone a really tough game. If you go down to Cobh and you don't have your sleeves rolled up preparing for a battle you are not going to come out with anything.
“You can talk about philosophies about how much you want to play and pass the ball, but when you go down there you need to be prepared to battle hard first. Hopefully then you can show your quality. They are under new management, Darren Murphy, a guy I know very well, he has introduced a lot of new players, young players.
“They have not got the rub of the green in the last few weeks, but every game they have been involved in has been very close. I am expecting a really tight game. The most important thing for us is that last week's performance is no good to us if we don't go to Cobh working as hard if not harder in this match on Friday night.”