Large crowd expected at Eamonn Deacy Park

Buoyed up by a passionate and purposeful start to the campaign, Galway United now face Waterford FC at Eamonn Deacy Park tomorrow evening (7.45pm ).

Friday’s stirring win over Cork City at Turners Cross illustrated United’s defiance with manager John Caulfield delighted to secure the full complement of spoils.

“We knew going to Cork that obviously they had beaten Bray 6-0 the week before, there was a full house so the atmosphere was incredible,” Caulfield says.

“We brought a big support with us and created a great atmosphere for us. We knew we had to start the game well and I felt for the opening half an hour that we were probably the better team. We got a fantastic goal through Edward McCarthy.”

Wilson Waweru’s controversial sending off early in the third quarter ensured United had to be resilient.

“Conor Kearns made a number of good saves, certainly going down to 10 men so early in the second half, it was really a backs against the wall situation,” Caulfield adds. “The defending from the lads was superb. Conor in goals was absolutely fantastic and it was a sweet three points to get from our opening game.”

McCarthy’s sharp finish following clever approach play by Wilson Waweru and Alex Murphy proved to be the decisive blow.

“If you look at the game overall I thought in the first half that we played really well,” Caulfield says. “We kept the ball, our goal was a really top quality goal. We played from our own half, we had a couple of guys involved with great movement around the back by Alex Murphy and we ended up scoring. Certainly when we went down to 10 men you'd have to applaud the determination and grit.

“Even in that period with 10 men in the second half, we weren't always under savage pressure, on the counter attack on a couple of occasions we were trying to see could we nick a second goal. Ultimately to be fair in the last 20 minutes we showed determination.”

United newcomers Diego Portilla, McCarthy, and Manu Dimas all contributed handsomely. “It was an interesting one for the Spanish lads,” Caulfield replies.

“They are coming from a different intensity in games, so for defending corners and crosses so consistently it was a challenge, but they both did really, really well. Obviously Ed McCarthy, who I have a lot of time for, a young lad with tremendous energy, really improving, he has had a strong pre-season.

“If you look at the lads that are there from last year they have all got used to what we are trying to do. The training has been very hard in pre-season, but they have all responded really well.

“You have young Alex playing at left back, people look at him now just assuming that he is a regular in the team, but he is still only 17 years of age. Every day after training he has to go back to school. Overall it was a team performance, you have no choice going to Cork, unless everyone is at full tilt you won't get a result. Thankfully we were and it was a great three points.”

Caulfield expects another demanding test when an impressive Waterford outfit visit the west. “Waterford have been taken over recently by Richard Forrest, an English guy, he has invested a lot of money in them,” Caulfield says.

“They want to get straight back to the premier division and they are a big, strong side. They have won their opening two games and have been doing a lot of talking that they need to go back up straight away. We know how good they are and how tough they will be. For us since our last home game - the play-off against Bray - it is our first home game of the season and after the win in Cork it would be fantastic if we had a massive crowd.

“If we could create that atmosphere we had towards the end of last season because this league will be a very competitive and very tight league. Like last Friday night you need everyone to perform to their maximum. If we do that we have a chance, if we don't we will not get the points.”

That connection forged among the squad, staff, and supporters was evident in Cork. It is critical to maintain the positive relationship according to Caulfield. “The soccer team is a team in the community, it represents the city and county,” he responds.

“I would appeal to people that have never gone to Terryland to maybe start coming on Friday nights, maybe for other people that haven't gone for a long time or have been away for a long time to come back in to watch us, to get behind the team. Hopefully it might be the start of a very good campaign for us.

“The better the atmosphere, the bigger the crowd, the encouragement coming from the stand certainly helps the players, and the players remarked about that on numerous occasions last season.”

**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.


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