A busy weekend beckons for Galway United in the SSE Airtricity League first division with an away fixture against Bray Wanderers tomorrow and a Monday home clash against Treaty United.
It will be a revealing stint for United, who demonstrated admirable character to earn a 2-2 draw against Waterford FC on Friday. Waterford dictated the agenda in the opening period, but goals from Jordan Adeyemo and Stephen Walsh ensured the spoils were divided.
United manager John Caulfield was satisfied with how his team responded under pressure. “Obviously Waterford are the favourites for the first division so we knew it was going to be a difficult game,” Caulfield says.
“They are a big, strong, physical side, but they also have some tremendous players. Certainly in the first half we weren't as good as we could have been. To go in at half-time two nil down it was thoroughly deserved from Waterford.
“We had a look at things at half-time, we came out in the second half, we had a fantastic crowd of more than 3,000, we got a great goal to bring it back to 2-1. The atmosphere was electric, the crowd were right behind us, Waterford seemed to buckle a bit in the second half. We started playing with intensity, moving the ball very quickly.
“Stephen Walsh getting the goal to bring it to 2-2 with 15 minutes to go, it looked like it was there for us to take the three points, but in fairness to Brian Murphy he made two fantastic saves.”
“Overall it was a strong second half by us. What it shows is how good we can be when we play with that intensity and move the ball, but on the other side we made a slow start and that shows what can happen. We need to try to rectify that for Friday night.”
Two matches are now scheduled in quick succession. “That is always a huge challenge,” Caulfied says.
“Always the danger is if a fella gets injured or a knock on the Friday he will miss the Monday game with such a tight turnaround. The plus side is that we have a number of lads on the bench chomping at the bit to get playing.
“Our squad is quite strong so from that point of view it is a tough schedule the Friday and Monday, particularly having to travel back from Bray. Obviously you won't get back until the early hours of Saturday morning.”
Being prepared for a physical battle at the Carlisle Grounds will be critical according to Caulfield. “The most important thing for us is to make sure we are prepared in Bray and ready to go,” Caulfield says.
“We know Pat Devlin's teams are very tough. Despite having a slow start, losing to Cork heavily at home, they turned around went to Waterford and were narrowly beaten 1-0.
“They have had an extra week to prepare after a free weekend so you know what you are going to get when you go to Bray. If you're not ready for the game, you are going to drop points. We have to make sure that we don't start like we did against Waterford.”
Having collected four points from two demanding matches against Cork City and Waterford, Caulfield is optimistic about the season ahead.
“We feel that we have a nice group of players, who really apply themselves brilliantly in training every day and on the pitch,” he responds.
“We are trying to bring that confidence out in them. Hopefully with the early couple of games and the results we have got that the players will develop and flourish into a very good team.
“I believe we have that potential, but the lads must deliver. Early indications are that we have a lovely bunch of players.”