Caulfield urges United supporters to get to Eamonn Deacy Park early

Galway United host Bray Wanderers on Friday

Galway United manager John Caulfield remains hugely optimistic about the future of the club with Bray Wanderers set to visit Eamonn Deacy Park in the SSE Airtricity League first division tomorrow (7.45pm ).

With decent crowds and a vibrant atmosphere United has stitched a three match winning sequence together, including two triumphs on home turf in front of an appreciative and expanding audience.

Caulfield is encouraged by the positive reaction in the west. “What is a professional football club?” Caulfield says. “It is all about a community, what you want is for a team to show the passion on the pitch, for the people in the community to come out to support it. That is why we live for sport, definitely we have been down for a number of years.

“We made the play-offs last year out of the blue really. This year we have been much more consistent. The support has been phenomenal, everywhere I go around the city and county I meet people, they are just so delighted. We need to keep it going and the main thing to bring that passion back into the club so people can be proud that we have a very good team representing them on the pitch.

“We have only made the play-offs, we know how difficult they can be as in the play-offs it is knockout football, but we have seen over the last six or seven weeks how the team has ignited the city and county, how the people have come out to support the team, and how they have ignited the players on the pitch. Long may that continue.”

The United boss is expecting a demanding encounter against Gary Cronin’s tidy and talented Bray outfit. “Both games have been very good,” Caulfield says about the previous two fixtures involving the teams.

“Earlier in the season they got a late winner when they scored against us here. On that night for parts of it they were very good, then we came back into the game. We equalised, we had numerous chances to go ahead, we didn't take them, and they sneaked it.

“In the away match at the Carlisle Grounds we played very well that day, certainly we had a number of chances to win it. Bray, under Gary Cronin, they have been in the play-off positions for the past number of years.

“He has assembled a very strong team, a very good footballing team with lots of threats up top with [Gary] Shaw, [Joe] Doyle, and Brandon Kavanagh. We know it will be another cracking game, the big thing for us is we need to play extremely well, to perform in the game.”

It is why Caulfield is urging United enthusiasts to get into the Corribside venue well before kick-off. “Hopefully we will have another very big crowd, the one thing I would say is because the crowds are getting bigger every week that people get into the ground early,” Caulfield adds.

“A number of people told me it took them 10 or 15 minutes to get in because the crowds were so big, I'm appealing to people to get in when the teams are warming up from seven o'clock, to create that bit of an atmosphere as the lads are warming up.

“Since I have come to the club I have said how important the home support is, I really felt in Covid times that we suffered because we had no crowds behind us. Teams liked coming to Terryland when there was no crowd there, but the atmosphere was incredible the other night.”

The success over Wexford FC offered further hope as first half goals from Stephen Walsh and David Hurley put United in a commanding position. Ian Ryan’s promising Wexford responded to trim the deficit and when United’s Maurice Nugent was sent off Caulfield’s charges had to show real grit to earn the full complement of spoils.

“It was a very good win, we played well in the first half,” Caulfield says. “In fairness to Wexford they were also very good, since Ian Ryan has taken over as manager two and a half or three months ago he has made a big difference to them. They are a much different team compared to the first half of the season. They played really well, we had to defend very well.

“Obviously when we had Maurice sent off after half-time we were down to 10 men, at 2-1 you knew you were probably going to be under the cosh a bit. Our defending was fantastic, we had a few opportunities in the second half to get a third goal. At the same time our defending was very good, it was a great night getting the win and having such an atmosphere at the match.”


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