Early test for Galway United in Waterford

Galway United's Ronan Manning in action from the SSE Airtricity League game at Eamonn Deacy Park against Treaty United on Friday night. 
Photo:- Mike Shaughnessy

Galway United's Ronan Manning in action from the SSE Airtricity League game at Eamonn Deacy Park against Treaty United on Friday night. Photo:- Mike Shaughnessy

Galway United men’s first X1 travel to Waterford keen to lay down a marker in a significant game for one so early in the year.

The play-off defeat of last season still lingers, but United have already shown evidence of improvements in key positions in their early outings. Rather than a revenge mission, the squad will likely view this as an opportunity to test themselves against a fellow front runner.

The Tribesmen go into this game after two wins, each impressive in their own way. Having caught the eye with a win at Harps, United showed evidence of their increased grit and craft with a deserved win at home to Treaty United.

Manager John Caulfield was delighted to keep a clean sheet.

“We defended really well from the frees and the long throws. Our only regret is that we created a number of good chances but didn’t seal the game earlier.”

United were crafty going forward and solid at the back. Ronan Manning and Ed McCarthy wreaked havoc on each flank. Vincent Borden covered the ground admirably, and at the back ‘keeper Brendan Clarke set the tone for a stingy defence.

The manager heaped praise on his veteran custodian.

“Brendan has won leagues and cups. He is highly experienced, calm and composed. He is a great talker and great distributor. This breeds confidence throughout the team.”

United had to overcome difficulties in the game. A second problematic penalty decision went against Caulfield’s side in as many weeks.

“We definitely felt there was a strong case for at least one penalty. The last few weeks we haven’t got those decisions. We are happy that it hasn’t cost us yet.

“There has been some turnover in the Waterford ranks, but they remain strong. ‘Wassim [Aouchria] scored three against Wexford. They still have a nucleus of last year’s team, but have brought in Clarke, Bagley, Parsons and McMenamin. They have replaced the players they lost with really talented players.”

United seem well conditioned for the tough battle that will undoubtedly come. Their fitness and enthusiasm was particularly impressive last Friday. They also had strong contributions from the bench, Darren Clarke especially catching the eye.

There are concerns over the fitness of Conor McCormack and David Hurley, who both picked up knocks on Friday, with the manager rating his captain 50/50. More promisingly, Steven Healy is back in contention this week.

The RSC will provide a litmus test. However, the noise on the terraces last Friday, which was matched by the passion on the pitch, suggests Eamon Deacy Park might well do the same for opposition sides as the season progresses.

•Galway United Friends Co-op is running a bus to Friday's first division match at the Regional Sports Centre. The bus is leaving The Connacht Hotel, Dublin Road, Galway at 3pm, and picking up at The Maldron Hotel, Oranmore. To book a seat, contact Stephen Connolly (085 ) 2206645.

 

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