Upbeat mood in Utd camp ahead of St Pat’s meeting


From this week's Galway City Tribune

From this week's Galway City Tribune

Upbeat mood in Utd camp ahead of St Pat’s meeting Upbeat mood in Utd camp ahead of St Pat’s meeting

THERE is a different kind of pressure on Galway United this season compared to the last few campaigns, which all started with the target of finishing above nine other clubs in the table.

This time around, finishing ahead of just two would constitute a success, though the difference is this needs to be done at the elite level against opponents who are all full-time, as opposed to the one or two others that were fully-professional set-ups in the First Division.

“Last year, we knew from that start of the season there would be two or three teams going for the league and that was it, now everyone expects us to be down at the bottom of the table so we have to give the lads the challenge to step up,” United manager John Caulfield said.

To that end, United are in a good place in regards to personnel, as the club was able to retain every player it wanted from last year’s title-winning squad, despite there being interest in a number of players from other clubs during the off-season.

“Historically, when Galway gets a bit of momentum, they have lost key players, going back over 30 years from the cup win [1991] to the First Division win in 1993 to the League Cup win [1997], they have historically lost players,” said a clearly well-informed Caufield this week.

“A number of our players were teed-up by other clubs, which was understandable. For us the most important thing . . . was to retain the players we felt would be good enough for the Premier Division, and that’s what we did,” he said.

Most of the other clubs have lost key players: it will be interesting to see how fellow promoted side, Waterford, get on without last year’s goal-machine, Ronan Coughlan; while Friday’s opponents, St Patrick’s Athletic, have lost the likes of Sam Curtis, Mark Doyle, and Adam Murphy, with suggestions that they will struggle to match last season’s achievements of a cup win and a third place finish in the league.

“It wasn’t straightforward, some players had really good offers elsewhere, but they could see what’s been done and what we are tyring to do here. They can see there is a fantastic community in Galway, they all live locally and they have mixed in and created a bind, it was most important to retain those lads first,” the United manager said.

United have added new faces as well, but that wasn’t without its difficulties, seen most recently at the weekend when the deal they had made for a new striker fell through after the player, who was based in the UK, was refused a work permit.

“We have never seen a market so difficult as we have this year. We have gone outside of the country, we have a few loan deals, but there were lots of conversations, lots of people met, lots of travel, cross-channel travelling, and there were lots of players who we didn’t feel were right for the club.

Pictured: Conor McCormack of Galway United at the launch of the SSE Airtricity League of Ireland 2024 season held at Vicar Street in Dublin. United host St Patrick’s Athletic at Eamonn Deasy Park on Friday night in the opening round of the Premier Division

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