United on brink of adding new piece of history

Galway United's Stephen Walsh is one of two injury concerns ahead of their fixture with Wexford.  Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile

Galway United's Stephen Walsh is one of two injury concerns ahead of their fixture with Wexford. Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile

Galway United make the trip to Wexford tomorrow in search of an eighth league win in a row, a feat unparalleled in the club’s history.

Despite the record on offer, the focus and clarity the side has displayed thus far suggests three points is the only goal under consideration.

United faced their sternest test this season in Athlone on Friday where they edged the home team 3-1 in a rip-roaring contest.

Once again they had to dig deep when for the second game in a row, they missed a first-half penalty. To compound the error, Athlone scored immediately from a devastating counter.

The save had been pushed to the left and Jamar Campion-Hinds and Frantz Pierrot broke. The end result was a carbon copy of the legendary 2013 Troy Deeney play-off goal for Watford against Leicester City.

United responded and were level six minutes later. David Hurley atoned for the earlier penalty miss with a beautifully guided header. His second was even more impressive. Stephen Walsh found a pocket of space and released Hurley, who cut in from the left and curled home a cute effort.

United withstood the Athlone fight back admirably and sealed the outcome with 15 minutes left when Ed McCarthy broke well and found Stephen Walsh who finished emphatically.

Manager John Caulfield was delighted to take home the three points and was full of admiration for the strides Athlone has taken.

"Athlone has eight full-time players with the potential takeover from an American company, he says, "We knew up front they were very powerful. They are much stronger this year."

There were plenty of positives to be taken ahead of the trip to the south-east. The goals and performance of David Hurley, who has been in and out of the team, will rank highly among them.

United continue to get plenty of joy out wide. Ronan Manning stood out for a second game in a row while Ed McCarthy was industrious. Darren Clarke provided another classy cameo from the bench, and Brendan Clarke continues to exude calmness and control in goals.

Though acknowledging confidence and morale is high among his squad, Caulfield has a couple of injury concerns ahead of tomorrow's game.

"Stephen Walsh and Conor McCormack both got knocks in Athlone and they are being assessed," he says.

Although Wexford's form to date has been patchy, the United manager expects another tough test.

"We had tight matches with them last year, including two draws. James Keddy has brought a lot of the Longford lads with him. We are aware of how strong they are. They have Ethan Boyle and Hugh Douglas at the back. In midfield they have Darragh and Conor Levingston. Up front they have Aaron Dobbs and Danny Furlong. Their results have been a little inconsistent, but they have very good players."

The message from the manager is clear and consistent. The focus has to remain on the next game. Talk of records, points differences are for the supporters. Twenty-nine league games remain and they will all require maximum focus if United are to realise their ambitions.


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