John Caulfield is hopeful Galway United can finish the opening series of the SSE Airtricity League first division on a positive note when hosting Wexford FC at Eamonn Deacy Park on Saturday (5pm ).
Killian Brouder struck the only goal of the game as United eventually fended off Cobh Ramblers’ spirited resistance on Friday.
“The way we looked at it was Cobh came with nothing to lose, again we had a fantastic crowd and a great atmosphere at the match,” Caulfield says.
“Certainly in the first half we had a number of chances to score. Some nights you get that through good goalkeeping and last ditch tackling and missing a few chances that can happen. The second half became more edgy, but from our own point of view Killian Brouder popped up to score the goal. At the end of the day that was the difference, taking the three points which was important after taking no points the week before.
“I always keep saying every week is a different challenge, people are sick hearing there are no easy games, but they are just the facts. A lot of time when you are playing teams that have no pressure and their expectations aren't high, because of the way we have started our expectations are higher, but it was a difficult game and we were happy to get the three points.”
Caulfield praised goalkeeper Conor Kearns’ contribution. “You could see that Cobh sat in, sat deep, and tried to play on the counter attack which they were dangerous on,” Caulfield added.
“As soon as we scored they threw caution to the wind and threw a number of men forward. Conor Kearns, in particular, his handling was really top class. The lads at the back stood up and defended well, it was nice to get another clean sheet.
“On the opening day of the season in Cork we got a clean sheet, we didn't get one since. So it was nice to get a clean sheet, we had been good at that last year. This year we have conceded in a number of matches, it is always nice to get a clean sheet for the goalkeeper and the back four.”
Wexford manager Ian Ryan has carried out impressive work with Caulfield praising the manner in which they have developed.
“When Ian Ryan took over last year they were bottom of the table with no wins, very few points and in the second half of the season they were the second most in form team behind ourselves which shows you how much progress that they had made,” Caulfield says.
“We know how difficult the games last season against them were. Ian has turned them into a really efficient unit, this year he has brought in the likes of Dinny Corcoran, who was a prolific goalscorer for Bohemians. They have Jack Doherty and Conor Barry, one of our own lads, who is living in Dublin. They have retained Lorcan Fitzgerald, they have also brought in Paul Hunt and Joe Manley, the centre back, who was crucial in Longford's promotion bid a couple of years ago.
“Conor Davis, another forward who was prolific with UCD and went to Derry - a lot of players that have a lot of talent. This season they have won a number of games, they were unlucky to lose 2-1 against Waterford and 1-0 against Cork. It shows you how close they are.
“Five o'clock is an unusual time on a Saturday evening, we are hoping for a bumper crowd with the schoolboys and schoolgirls with families to come out in big numbers. Hopefully we can create the atmosphere we get at the night matches.”
Attaining a level of consistency is Caulfield’s objective. “At the moment with seven games gone we are second,” Caulfield says.
“We have the game in hand this weekend on Cork, it has been a good first quarter. Obviously if we can win we go joint with Cork so that is certainly a challenge. For ourselves it is about trying to be consistent week in, week out. The league is a marathon, 32 games.
“There is nothing won or lost this weekend, but from our point of view being at home in front of our own crowd, and we are trying to make Terryland into a fortress it would be nice to get another three points.”
**Listen to the full interview with Galway United manager John Caulfield on this week’s ‘Cian on Sport’ podcast available on Soundcloud, Spotify, and Apple Podcasts.