With the SSE Airtricity League first division play-offs edging closer, Galway United will be hoping to impress on home turf tomorrow when hosting Wexford FC at Eamonn Deacy Park (7.45pm ).
Victories over UCD and Cobh Ramblers offer significant encouragement as United want to finish the season with a real flourish.
Fixtures against Wexford, Bray Wanderers, and Cork City will complete United's league campaign ahead of what promises to be an intriguing and action packed stint in the play-offs.
United manager John Caulfield is encouraged by the form his team has shown during the past four months. "We have done very well since the break in June, we really have turned our form around, generally our performances have been very good," he says.
A strong connection has been forged between the players and supporters since crowds returned in reasonable numbers to Eamonn Deacy Park. Caulfield is keen to maintain that positive relationship. "Obviously we have three games left and we want to keep our winning streak going, we are really looking forward to the game with the crowd and the buzz," Caulfield adds.
Following the Wexford encounter, Bray Wanderers visit the banks of the Corrib with Caulfield expecting further large attendances.
"We are looking forward to the two home games," Caulfield says. "We had a tremendous atmosphere at our last home game against UCD. The next two Fridays we have Wexford and Bray, we are hoping for a big crowd.
"At the last match with the families and children it is great to see people at Galway United matches. We are really looking forward to another big crowd for the Wexford game."
United’s mixture of established and emerging footballers means significant expectation is attached to a squad, eager to secure promotion back to the top flight.
The continued development of Wilson Waweru, who has contributed seven goals in 2021, is a source of optimism as United get ready for a crucial spell. At the opposite end of the pitch goalkeeper Conor Kearns registered a clean sheet in Cobh and remains a key performer.
Conor O’Keeffe’s leadership and cool assurance at right back has been vital for United with Conor McCormack similarly effective in the centre of the park.
McCormack’s ability to dictate the tone and tempo of matches alongside the equally hard working Gary Boylan and David Hurley remains integral to United’s set-up.
In wide areas Caulfield has plenty of options with Mikie Rowe, Ruairi Keating, Shane Doherty, Colin Kelly, and Mikey Plaice all worthy candidates with different qualities. It will be interesting to see how United approach the upcoming matches, but Caulfield, ever the competitor, knows the value of victories and momentum.
Ensuring the team is primed for the play-offs which commence with a two legged semi-final on November 5 and 12 is precisely what Caulfield wants to do.
"The next three weeks gives us a chance to give game time to some of the lads. After UCD we went down to Cobh, we kept the momentum and winning gives confidence."