Galway United are kicking off their 2021 season tonight with a League of Ireland home game against Shelbourne.
United and Shelbourne will meet at Eamonn Deacy Park on Friday evening, with kick-off at 7:45pm.
Manager John Caulfield said that facing Shelbourne at home is a “great opener” to the season, adding that the Drumcondra team have gotten stronger since being relegated from the Premier Division.
“They have invested heavily and arguably they have a better team than they had in the Premier. They need to go straight back up but that’s the ambition of many others.”
All of the teams in the first division have invested in becoming better than last year, Caulfield added, and Galway United was no exception to that.
“We’ve done a lot of work with 12 players added to the squad to augment the retention of half of the one we had. That means a lot of work but the lads have shown a great attitude.”
“Much of what we worked on in training has come off in the pre-season games. Now, we are starting as hot favourites for the First Division and it’s a big test we are looking forward to.”
United have played five pre-season friendlies in recent weeks, resulting in three wins against the Finn Harps, Longford Town and Wexford, along with one draw and one defeat.
After last year saw Galway United enjoy a dramatic turn in fortunes in the latter half of the season, John Caulfield thinks there’s renewed interest sprouting in the city and county.
“Maybe some had switched off because we hadn’t been challenging. Maybe the run at the end of last season got people watching us again. I think we’d have very big crowds and will when we can get them in.
“People are looking out for our results. If we can hit the start running and keep that buzz, we can have full houses in Terryland,” Caulfield said.
Galway United team:
Kevin Horgan, Conor Kearns, Michael Garrihy, Conor O’Keeffe, Stephen Walsh, Gary Boylan, Killian Brouder, Maurice Nugent, Christopher Horgan, Shane Duggan, David Hurley, Shane Doherty, Stephen Christopher, Mikie Rowe, Carlton Ubaezuonu, Caoilfhionn O’Dea, Mikey Place, Conor McCormack, Ronan Manning, Ruairi Keating, Padraic Cunningham, Wilson Waweru, Francely Lomboto, Colin Kelly.