Galway United travel to Limerick tomorrow night to take on Treaty United in the SSE Airtricity first division in the Markets Field (7.45pm ).
With United lying second and Treaty in fifth, the encounter could serve as a dress rehearsal for a play-off tie in a few short weeks. Nonetheless, the game carries plenty of significance in its own right, and United will be keen to build on a big win at home to Cork City.
Momentum is a key theme for United manager John Caulfield as he looks forward.
“We are focusing on seeing can we build momentum after Cork. We want to nail down second spot and we are going to Limerick to win the match. We may make some changes, but our total focus is on winning the match and keeping momentum for the playoffs.”
Although the playoffs are the most likely destination for United, there will be hope among supporters that United can win to at least test the resolve of leaders Cork City in the run-in. The Leesiders need six points from their final three games to guarantee the title and promotion. Their own form has been shaky of late with only eight points from the previous eighteen on offer, but a favourable run of fixtures against Wexford, Athlone Town and Bray Wanderers will help their cause.
Whatever the permutations, John Caulfield is looking no further than Friday.
“They [Limerick] are a very experienced team, possibly the most experienced of the part-time teams. Tommy [Barrett] has done a great job. Every game between us has been really tight. They’re in a cup semi-final, Enda [Curran] has been in fantastic form for them. We know how difficult it will be.”
With six former United players involved in Treaty’s recent FAI Cup quarter-final triumph, it will be a familiar but stern test for United. The Tribesmen have prepared well for the trip and recorded a 2-1 win in the Showgrounds last Friday against Premier League opposition in Sligo Rovers.
In Caulfield’s estimation it was "a great run out. We gave everyone game time.” And he will be pleased Rob Manley and Wilson Waweru provided the goals.
There was further positive news in terms of strikers this week as talented teenager David Tarmey signed his first professional contract with the club. Caulfield heaped praise on the youngster who has featured five times for the first team this campaign.
“He’s a brilliant finisher, quick and skilful. We’re very optimistic, and the most important thing for David is to keep his head down and work really hard.”
Some personnel concerns still linger however in the build-up to tomorrow as Caulfield provided an update on his squad. “We have [Conor] McCormack on the way back, [Killian] Brouder is on the way back and Manu Dimas. Rob Manley had a knock.” He remains hopeful some of these players can make the match day squad on Friday and help his side to another valuable win.
*Galway United Friends Co-op is running a bus to Friday's first division match at the Markets Field, leaving from The Connacht Hotel, Dublin Road, Galway at 5pm and picking up at the Maldron Hotel, Oranmore. To book a seat contact Stephen Connolly (085 ) 2206645.