Crucial Leeside contest for United

Cork City host Galway United at Turners Cross

“It is a fantastic game, it is going to be another fantastic occasion,” Galway United manager John Caulfield says about Friday’s critical SSE Airtricity League first division encounter against Cork City at Turners Cross (7.45pm ).

The famous Leeside venue will provide an ideal backdrop as two promotion chasing clubs clash in a high stakes match. “Obviously Cork will have close to a full house which is fantastic,” Caulfield adds.

“We all know how powerful Cork are, how great they are. For us it is that challenge going there. We went there for our first game of the season, we won 1-0, and gave a great performance. The home game was really, really close, it was really tight.

“They scored a spectacular goal to win. So the games have been tight and very competitive as you would expect. We know all week that we need to be at our best to go down there.”

Fully aware a demanding assignment is imminent, Galway expects a tough battle. “It is very intimidating, they have fantastic support, you will get a lot of stick down there and you will have to be able to handle that,” he adds.

“You have to be able to handle the pressure, but we are really looking forward to the trip. We are really looking forward to the game. Cork are strong with a strong backline of [Ally] Gilchrist, [Jonas] Hakkinen, and [Josh] Honohan - three big strong boys, and you have Cian Coleman so they are very strong at set pieces.

“They can be quite direct so you have to defend very well against them. We are working all week preparing for that and also on opportunities where we feel we can cause problems too.”

Ultimately, though, Caulfield accepts that these are precisely the type of vital matches United crave to be involved in on a more frequent basis.

“This is where we want to be,” Caulfield replies. “We have been down so long. If you look at where we have been over the last 10 or 11 years the majority of those years have been in the first division.

“We haven't even been that competitive. If you even go back only two or three seasons we were at the bottom of the first division. We need to be at the top.”

Cause for optimism exists according to Caulfield. “We are Galway United, the takeover is gone through, there is a lot of investment coming ahead,” he adds.

“There is plans to make the club bigger and stronger. It is a great time for people to follow Galway United, but at the same time we have to have a team that can compete in these big games. That is what you want to be in. Who wants to be playing in matches in the bottom of the table or when the games don't mean anything?

“We want to be at the top challenging, but that creates its own pressure. That is exciting, that is what you want as a manager or as a player. You want to be playing in these top games, competing at the top.

“Thankfully that is where we are at the moment and that is hopefully where I want to bring the club. I want to make sure we can compete at the top, to win trophies. That is what we are trying to do.”

The 3-0 triumph over Cobh Ramblers illustrated Stephen Walsh’s relevance with another brace bagged, while substitute Rob Manley decorated an impressive debut with a firm headed goal.

Other recent recruits James Finnerty and Mark Russell featured which brought further encouragement. “We knew all week that Cobh, under a new manager, would have a bit more confidence in themselves,” Caulfield says.

“So we were aware that they were probably going to come up to hit us on the counter attack, and we had to be careful. Certainly early on in the match they posed a few threats - particularly wide. Sometimes people just see these games as easy games and I keep saying in this league you have to earn the right.

“You have to be on best form. Gradually we took over. Stephen Walsh getting the goal in the first half certainly changed the course of the game. It pushed Cobh further back and in the second half we were totally dominant. It was great for the new players coming in and obviously Rob Manley getting the second goal - a great header at the back post.

“He offers that. Mark Russell coming on and James Finnerty started the game - he did very well. Overall to score three goals at home we are happy and we move on to Cork on Friday.”

Caulfield is delighted that Finnerty, Russell, and Manley have joined United. “We knew Alex Murphy was going from a long time out so we were looking at trying to fill that position,” Caulfield explains.

“We knew going back three or four weeks ago that Jordan Adeyemo wanted to move on. He told me that he wanted to go closer to home which was fine. So that was another area. With Ronan Manning getting an injury against Treaty and being out for a bit longer, it was important we got guys in. The most important thing when you get players in is that you have to get players with quality, but also guys that will mix in with the group.

“That their personalities will suit the group because you need to have a very co-operative group. You need to build that team spirit which we have done over the year. You certainly don't want disruptions.

“So it is important to get players in, who have a good mindset, who are going to blend in with the other lads and are totally focused on trying to win football matches. Thankfully we think that the three we have brought in are those type of characters.”

**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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