A demanding weekend in the SSE Airtricity League first division looms for Galway United, who face Treaty United at the Markets Field tomorrow (7.45pm ) before hosting Longford Town at Eamonn Deacy Park on Monday (5pm ).
United manager John Caulfield, encouraged following impressive wins over Waterford FC and Bray Wanderers, is relishing the upcoming challenges.
“We are looking forward to this weekend, we have a double header - Treaty on Friday night with a lot of the Galway lads playing us,” he says. “We know what it means to them so we must be ready and right for the game.”
Tommy Barrett has stitched a decent squad together – packed with former United players – so Caulfield is completely aware of the threat that will be posed.
“Even though they are a part-time club they probably have the most experienced part-time club in the country,” Caulfield adds.
“When you look at the quality of the likes of Joe Gorman, Marc Ludden, Jack Lynch, Enda Curran, Stephen Christopher, players that have been in our league for four, five, or six seasons - lots and lots of experience - [Jack] Brady in goals, [Charlie] Fleming at right back, a very experienced team.
“Plus the fact that a lot of them have so many connections with Galway United adds that extra bit where the lads are part-time with Treaty and they are all working, and want to show how good they are. They are very strong defensively, they don't give away goals, they play on the counter attack.
“They are very strong at long throws and corner kicks so it will be another game where we will have to be at our best, and we know that.”
Caulfield was satisfied with how United dealt with a spirited Bray second period display on Friday.
“We were very happy, obviously we took the game to Bray, we played really well in the first half,” Caulfield says.
“Stephen Walsh showed great composure to score, from then until the half-time whistle Stephen McGuinness made two fantastic saves and certainly we had opportunities to get a second goal. Our play - our passing and movement was really good - the disappointing thing was that we only went in at half-time at 1-0 because we felt we deserved more than that.
“In the second half, to be fair to Bray, they came out, threw a bit of caution to the wind, and pegged us back a bit. With the long throws and free kicks they caused us a few problems in the second half early on. Once Dave Hurley scored the penalty we managed the game out well, overall it was a convincing win for us.”
The fact that United have been so solid defensively in recent weeks matters. “I think the most important thing for us is we have two wins in the last two weeks and we have kept two clean sheets,” Caulfield responds.
“That is pleasing because keeping clean sheets has been a little bit of an issue for us in the first part of the season. The lads are working really hard, even the fact that Mikie Rowe and Shane Doherty were missing at the weekend, the guys coming into the team have all stood up and are working really hard.”
Ben Molloy’s inclusion in the United matchday squad was another talking point following the Bray triumph. “The crucial thing for me as manager of the first team is that you want to promote players from within,” Caulfield says.
“You want to give opportunities to players from our academy, to see that there is a pathway here - that if you are good enough you will get an opportunity. Since I have come here in the last two years we have brought a number of players into training, obviously we all know about Alex Murphy, but many of our players like Francely Lomboto, Wilson Waweru, and Ronan Manning have all got game time and are part of the first team.
“It is important with Ben coming on to the bench that they can see what is required. We bring in several players throughout the season from our U19 and U17 squads to show them the training, the intensity, and where they need to get to.”
Emerging players can make an impact for United according to Caulfield. “We think we have some tremendous players coming through, but it is about being patient and them doing the right thing, for me making sure we can get them into training, to develop them,” he adds.
“It is good for Galway United players in our academy that there is a pathway - if they have the attitude and determination to go to the highest level in this country the opportunity is there for them.”
**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.