Cian Murphy is ready to go back to a great time with City

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Watching John Caulfield up close tonight will remind Cian Murphy of the stage of glory he has put in Cork City and reaffirm his determination to recapture those halcyon days.

The striker was just a teenager in October 2018 when he made his league debut by Caulfield at Shamrock Rovers on the City side who, at the time, were Premier Division champions and FAI Cup holders.

How that changes for Tipperary attackers, individually and collectively.

A torn hamstring early next season against St Patrick’s Athletic means he feels malaise from the sidelines, a loss that ended Caulfield’s spell and eventually relegation at the end of 2020.

Off the field they were traumatic as a rescue package from late Preston North End owner Trevor Hemmings staved off the threat of liquidation.

The potion of the crisis was an eye opener for the tyro but inadvertently created the opportunity to be the main striker of the converted team in the First Division.

He has caught on, leading the line for a team grappling with Galway for auto promotion.

Being one of the few survivors of the riots around Turner’s Cross made his determination to complete the circle.

“It was a very difficult time for the players, especially the young ones like me who didn’t know how to cope,” he recalls of his decline.

“I was almost a year away from injury, didn’t play much when I came back and the team lost.

“My goal when I signed my first professional contract in 2018 was to make a name for myself but it took another two years to finally get there.

“The team that won twice in 2017 was a very good team and, when it was finally over, we got a chance to move forward.” Having a manager like Colin Healy who believes he is very important to Murphy.

“The big thing that brings to the management of a playing career is the driving standards.

“There’s no relaxation and you stay on your toes. If you don’t know, he’ll be the first to tell you. In tandem, they’ve led the Rebels charge. Eleven goals for Murphy last season have been followed by four more this season and still only 21. The difference this year is that promotion is a prerequisite rather than an aspiration.

“There’s a feeling that we’re going to be right back last year, but we know we’re not there,” Murphy said of the two -year plan.

“Playing for a club the size of Cork City, the hope is certainly in you, but we have a lot of players entering the league for the first time.

“We add to the experience of Kevin O’Connor and Ally Gilchrist of the Shelbourne team that won the title last year and help the winning mentality.

“We want to start challenging for the trophy again and get back to the club. Having a Cork club in the Premier Division is a must.” Caulfield would agree, his only duty is to make sure Galway win him over.

Although City have not lost since their second game of the season against the Tribesmen, two draws against Bray and Wexford during Galway made the blitz to win seven games, giving Caulfield a two -point advantage.

A crowd of close to 5,000 is anticipated at Eamonn Deacy Park for the match to mark the middle of the campaign.

“John’s team was definitely hard to break and caused a lot of problems with his playing style,” Murphy said of the tests that await him.

“We’re also strong on defense and scoring goals, so this has to be a good game.” Caulfield has started the mind-game by declaring City a “very favorite” to claim the top spot and dodge roulette from the playoffs to engineer a route to the top flight.

Healy is very discreet and familiar with the former manager’s way of paying attention and has spoken out about Galway’s tactical tactics, such as throws and corners, rather than verbally. “This is a great game,” said the former Ireland midfielder, sentiment reflected by the predicted travel support from 900 fans.