United aim to cause cup upset in new Caulfield era

John Caulfield’s first game in charge of Galway United will be tomorrow’s Extra.ie FAI Cup second round clash against Shelbourne at Eamonn Deacy Park.

The former Cork City boss was an interested spectator at the Dyke Road venue when United shared the SSE Airtricity League first division spoils with Bray Wanderers last Friday.

That match highlighted the task Caulfield has inherited as Matthew Connor’s accomplished goalkeeping performance ensured United earned a draw with a tidy Bray outfit.

Caulfield has been busy putting together a new backroom team for the remainder of the campaign with Colin Fortune and Johnny Glynn set to occupy roles. Glynn, United’s FAI Cup final goalscorer, will also remain in charge of the underage set-up at the western club.

Caulfield says he will finalise one or two more additions to the club over the next week, but is “delighted with the quality of the lads who are around the club at the moment”.

Top-flight Shelbourne, who include former Galway United players Gary Deegan and Karl Sheppard, in an experienced squad, will provide a stern test according to the new United chief.

“The first game against Shelbourne is a fantastic game to look forward to,” Caulfield says. “They’ve spent the last six seasons in the first division and were promoted last season and have done really well in the premier division so far.

“They’ve got some really experienced players in Gary Deegan, Karl Sheppard and Ciaran Kilduff. They’re all players that have been well established league winners and cup winners.”

While acknowledging Shelbourne’s class, Caulfield is adamant United can deliver a gritty display on home turf.

“It’s a fantastic tie for us, “ he says. “Obviously they’ll be overwhelming favourites, but to have them coming to Galway for my first game in charge, and the fact that it’s a cup game, we can go out and have a real cut at them, and look to cause a major upset, so we’ll be working hard all week to prepare for the game.

“With the talent and quality they have, we’ll have to be at our best to cause an upset,” he says.

Significant potential exists Corribside, and Caulfield wants to turn United into a serious outfit once more.

“I always felt during my playing career that Galway United was a huge club, competing at the top of the premier division for many years in the late 80s and 90s,” he says.

“Obviously, as we know in the last while since the club got relegated, it’s been very difficult to get back up, but there’s still enormous potential within the club, great facilities, a massive city, a great area.

“You look at the west of Ireland and all the good players who have come from Galway, Mayo, Roscommon, Limerick and Clare. That’s a huge area, and we need to develop a very strong local west of Ireland team down the road.

“Sligo have done that, and Galway United always had that before, but it has dropped off and we haven’t been competitive for a long time, so it’s my aim to get back and make us a competitive team.

While unfortunate crowds are not coming to games at the moment, he says when Galway are challenging and very competitive, there is great local support.

“Hopefully over the next 18 months that will happen.”


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