Caulfield looking forward to crunch Cork clash

Galway United host Cork City on Friday at Eamonn Deacy Park

A gripping SSE Airtricity League first division season continues to unfold with Galway United hosting Cork City at Eamonn Deacy Park tomorrow (7.45pm ).

John Caulfield's United earned a record equalling seventh league win on the spin when eventually shrugging off Athlone Town's spirited resistance on Friday.

Ultimately, United's perseverance was rewarded courtesy of goals from teenager Alex Murphy, David Hurley, and substitute Ronan Manning.

"In their previous three matches they had only been beaten by the odd goal against Waterford, Cork, and Longford - the other challengers for the title," Caulfield says.

"We hadn't played as well - at the start of the game - as we had in the previous weeks, we were slow out of the blocks.

"Even though we dominated possession, we weren't playing with the same intensity that we like to do. Although we had a couple of chances in the first half we went in at half-time nil all, and we weren't happy. Certainly in the second half we were totally dominant.

"I keep saying that every week you must perform from the start, if you don't and you aren't as good as you have been the previous week then there is always a danger that you could leave points behind. Thankfully at half-time we got a few things sorted, we won 3-0, another clean sheet which we are happy about."

United's defensive nous has been evident throughout the campaign with goalkeeper Conor Kearns and centre halves, Diego Portilla and Killian Brouder, instrumental.

"I think the pleasing thing from our own point of view is that we have looked reasonably solid at the back, certainly going forward we have been very exciting," Caulfield adds.

"We have been creating lots of chances. If you look over the last number of matches - even with the goals we scored - against Athlone the other night there were certainly three or four other opportunities where the goalkeeper made two fantastic saves and we hit the post.

"We like to get forward, we like to get balls into the box. It is pleasing, but obviously we are coming into a massive match again this weekend."

Caulfield acknowledges the work being carried out by Colin Healy with Cork City in a highly competitive first division.

"It is that type of league where Cork are a massive club, Colin Healy is doing a good job down there," Caulfield replies.

"From our point of view it is our next game. We have taken three points last week, there is another three points on offer on Friday night. We know how good Cork are, we know how difficult the game will be.

"It is going to be the halfway point of the season. We are in a good place, but at the same time we know what Cork will do coming up to us.

"They are a dangerous team, they have lots of exciting players, but at the same time we will be at home in front of a packed house.

"We must keep our performances - they have been very consistent - and we need another very strong performance. If we don't give a strong performance we won't get a result."

The United boss, though, expects plenty of twists and turns between now and November. "I think it is a very exciting season," Caulfield says.

"Obviously the fact you have big clubs like Waterford and Cork, who have come down - they have made the first division very exciting. They have big squads and a big following, so along with ourselves I think it is very competitive. Obviously with Waterford winning at the weekend over Longford it puts Longford further down.

"Some people are saying it is a two horse race, personally I still think it is a three horse race - Waterford are very close, they are on a tremendous run too. Plus the fact that at the weekend it is the halfway point. We will all get a break of a week, we are all back in then for the last 16 matches.

"There is a long, long way to go. The pleasing thing for ourselves is that we've had good competition for places, the lads coming off the bench have done really well.

"So we are looking forward to the game, why wouldn't you be looking forward to a game playing in front of our own supporters up near the top of the table, playing in front of a full house."

Francely Lomboto and Manning, who has scored two sweet goals in recent weeks, are among a number of United players eager to make an impact according to Caulfield.

"We had a couple of lads like Francely Lomboto and Ronan Manning, who missed nearly all of last season with injury," Caulfield says.

"They have come back in, it has been slow for them because they are looking to get their fitness levels back up. In the last couple of weeks you can see they are getting very close. Ronan has popped up with two goals in the last four or five matches - that is great.

"Also we have Jordan [Adeyemo] who has come in off the bench, Manu Dimas, while Mikie Rowe and Shane Doherty are on the way back from injury. They are all to be included, from that point of view it is good.

"The more competition you have, the training is more competitive and hopefully that leads on to your performance on the pitch. It has so far - that is what we need."

**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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