So on this occasion I am heading for the first time to see Galway United play against the Bohs.
Galway (As Gaeilge: Gaillimh), out in the West of Ireland in County Galway, is arguably Ireland’s fun capital, a smallish sized city of about 75,000 people where there is some kind of festival going on every week. Yeah Galway is always cool. Used to spend many a family holiday as a kid out in Salthill in a cold caravan overlooking Galway bay. Ah the memories.
The city was first constructed in the early twelfth century by the King of Connacht, Tairrdelbach Ua Conchobair, and bears the nickname “The City of the Tribes” because “fourteen tribes” of merchant families led the city during the middle ages. Then city was a bastion of international trade, with French and Spanish merchant ships passing through, and even the famous Christy Columbus stopped off here once en route to Iceland.
Now its known as Ireland’s Cultural city and is renowned for its vibrant lifestyle and numerous festivals, celebrations and events. The largest of these annual events begins with the Galway Film Fleadh and the Galway Arts Festival in July, the Galway Races in August, and the Galway International Oyster Festival in September
Also its a student town, with University College, Galway (U.C.G.) having an enrollment over 15,000, all adding to the general feel good vibe of the city.
Coming from Dublin, I could have got the train from Dublin Heuston, but it was a tad bit too expensive, so I went with the cheaper option, taking the bus from Busáras Bus Station, a three hour plus trip but at least it had good wifi to keep me amused.
Garavan’s Bar – Galway City
Address: 46 William Street, Galway
Just off the bus, and after a bloody long journey, was just itching for a good pint. First port of call was Garavan’s, for no reason other than it was fairly central in the pedestrian zone, and looked decent from the outside. Inside it was all traditional, and very cozy looking, with a lot of great comfy looking snugs around the pub which is always cool to see.
The bar, as I was told by a regular, is famous for its whiskey, and on show in the many whiskey cabinets located throughout the bar there was a pretty amazing selection of whiskeys from Ireland and afar, certainly dazzling to the eye. Apparently they have whiskey samplers, on a wooden platter tray of three tasting glasses, for anyone who wants to try out some of their whiskies.
Good friendly service, and a top barman who kindly let me charge my phone, which was near dead. Pint was good, went down a treat. Local’s friendly, easy to have the chat here, good atmosphere was building up. Not a mad crowd of craziness, more like a good place to have a quiet chat in good company.
The bar also offers traditional music over the weekends.
One of the oldest bars in the city, has been trading here since the late 1930’s and still remaining in family hands for three generations, the building itself has stood on William Street since the 17th Century.
A lovely pub, really enjoyed my pint here, another one to further check out when I am back in Galway in the future.
Hole In The Wall Bar
Address: 9 Eyre Street, Galway, Ireland
Was meeting the supporters group in the Hole In the Wall pub. First impressions, it had pretty cool horse racing murals at its side, and was also bloody difficult to find the entrance. Door tightly shut, and not very welcoming!
Inside, the horse racing theme continues as the walls adorned with all of the greats of the past in the four legged variety. I guess this pub would be a cool place during the Galway races, if that’s what floats your boat.
Interior was rustic, bit old fashioned, a lot of room out the back, and apparently there was another bar around the other side.
Has a thatch roof, the pub is over a hundred years old, and legend has it that it got its name due to having a hole in the back garden of the pub which was adjoined to the back of the Garda Station. The old boys in blue were known to slip in through the hole for a quick pint without getting seen by the public. Wouldn’t surprise me one bit that story!
Apart from the supporters there appeared to be no other customers
Tigh Fox Trad House
Address: 2 Forster Street, Galway City
(After the game) Since it was lashing down, and I didn’t fancy waiting the 40 minutes or so for the next bus back to Dublin, popped into this bar, right across from the station, and located just off Eyre Square, in the heart of Galway.
This bar is well known for its twice daily trad sessions, 5.30p.m and 9.30p.m, seven days a week.
Sat at the very small but cozy bar. There was a nice hearty open fire lit, and many people relaxing, a mixed crowd of locals and tourists, chatting away over good pints.
Friendly service, and a cracking pint of Guinness. Just popped in for the one, but would have liked to have stayed for more.
Intimate and small.
Galway United F.C
Arena/Stadium: Eamonn Deacy Park
Location: Dyke Road, Galway
Capacity: 5,000 (3,300 seated)
Manager: Tommy Dunne
Leagues: League of Ireland Premier Division
Founded way back in the 1937, and originally known as Galway Rovers, they pretty much did nothing for over 40 years as it wasn’t until 1977 that the club were finally invited to join the then League of Ireland. It wasn’t long after til they reached their first senior final in 1981, losing the League Cup final on penalties to Dundalk, in Oriel Park.
The following season they changed their name to Galway United and it most have been a good omen, as the club went on to compete in two cup finals in successive seasons. United made their first appearance in an FAI Cup final in 1984–85 but lost 1–0 to Shamrock Rovers. With Rovers doing the domestic double this meant that Galway United qualified for European football, a first for the club. Playing Lyngby BK from Denmark, in the Cup Winners Cup, they certainly didn’t disgrace themselves, exiting the competition with a very respectable 4-2 agg. defeat. The second cup final I mentioned was against Dundalk in the League cup in 1985–86 defeating the “Lillywhites” 2–0 to win the clubs first major piece of silverware. A good season all round as they came second to Shamrock Rovers in the league, their highest ever placing in the top division.
It wasn’t until 1991 that Galway United finally landed their hands on the big one, the FAI Cup. At Lansdowne Road, and with five minutes remaining on the clock, Johnny Glynn tapped home a late goal to beat Shamrock Rovers 1–0. Victory and forever remembered in the hearts of the Galway faithful. Also remembered for jumping the advertising hoarding, to embrace the fans, one of the more memorable goal celebrations in a cup final.
But the fans were brought back to earth with a crash, when the next season, Galway United inexplicably got themselves relegated to the First Division. It was for only one season, but this became something of a pattern for a good few years, promotion and relegation the main themes from the 1990s to the 0000’s.
They did win another League Cup in 1997 though, so it wasn’t all bad. Until that is the 2011 season, where the club found themselves rooted to the bottom of the Premier Division, heavily in debt and somehow having Nick Leeson involved with the club. Yes THAT Nick Leeson, the guy who brought on the collapse of Barings Bank, at that time United Kingdom’s oldest merchant bank. That was never going to work out too pretty for the club, and sure enough the club was not granted a licence to compete in the League of Ireland owing to its debts and the unlikelihood that it could seriously finance a team for the next season.
But Galway is too big a city not to have a LOI team, so with the help of the FAI (cough, spit), GUST (Galway United Supporters Trust), Salthill Devon, Mervue United and the Galway Football Association, all working together to form a unified club for the city, a team to play under the new name of Galway F.C., starring in the 2014 season and in the newly renamed Eamonn Deacy Park (ex Terryland Park).
They got off to a magical start as they won promotion to the Premier straight away via a playoff, and before the start of the 2015 season Galway F.C. were re-named Galway United, going full circle on the history of the club and where we are at present!
To the game
Galway United 1 – 0 Bohemians
Not the greatest game ever, entertaining in parts, but to be fair with gale force winds it was hard to get any rhythm to the game for both teams. Galway played the better football, created more chances and deserved to win.
Stephen Cantwell got a goal in the first half but it was correctly adjudged to be offside, a little unlucky as I dont think the Bohs defence knew a whole lot about it.
Ayman Ben Mohamed was doing a lot of good work for Bohs down the wing, and had a chance that Galway net minder Conor Winn comfortably caught..
And that was more or less the first half.
Galway playing more attacking football in the second half, with the, as always, lively Vinny Faherty taking a few pot shots at goal.
The goal eventually came, and it was coming, when in the 77th minutes Padraic Cunningham played a suburb weighted pass from the wing onto Faherty who, with a deft touch, turned the ball past Dean Delaney in the Bohs goals. Lovely goal, particularly as many in the stand were wondering was the pass a bit of luck with the wind, or was it really a weighted pass. It was extremely windy and I guess you have to give Cunningham credit, a suburb pass considering the conditions.
Bohs had a goal waved off for offside near the end, another correct call, and Galway easily enough held onto the three points.
Was impressed with Galway, they had moments of good linkage play, and looked lively upfront. It was a difficult day to play football but any football that was played was all from Galway. Bohs were a real disappointment, just expected a bit more from them. Didn’t looked like a cohesive team at all, very disjointed.
Short chat with Brian from the supporters group, the Maroon Army
My name is Brian and I am involved with the maroon army and we are around for the last couple of seasons now, basically we are just trying to improve the atmosphere at games, trying to have displays, but most of all its just try to get a better atmosphere at the games, and try, including away games as well, try to get more support going to away games and we have seen an increase in away games as well.
What would you say is the size of the group, is it getting bigger all the time?
It’s getting bigger all the time, it depends on the home game, but for the last couple of games, at home and towards the end of last season there was certainly a big group I’d say maybe 150, 200 ,and it’s always increasing, especially for away games as well
What got you into supporting Galway united, because a lot of young fellas don’t think of the LOI?
Well I’m a supporter now for 15 odd years, or more, it was actually when I was at school the manager at the time Don O’Riordan came to the school and they were handing out free tickets for the next home game and I went along and I was hooked. And I supported a bit of English football as well but to be honest I had more affiliation with my home team and just more passion and because I am from Galway, and Galway city, it means just a lot more to me
I was going to ask what’s the best season in those years, but of course this is a new Galway team!!
It is a new Galway team but it still is for the majority of the supporters it still always been Galway United, we fought to keep it there, the name change, obviously they were gone for a few years, but we always treated it as Galway united, and the name was still there and eventually it just came back in. so to be honest for most supporters it’s always been there, and a lot of people have worked to keep the name there.
Did you get worried that those 1 or 2 or 3 years that it looked like there would be no team…
Yeah there was definitely a lot of concern, certainly there was a few local teams like Mervue and Salthill that participated in the LOi , but for a lot of people because they are just suburbs of Galway city , I am not from Mervue or Salthill so they have nothing to do with me really, so yeah there was definitely concern that they wouldn’t come back but there was a lot of hard work from people behind the scenes that kept it going.
So its good to be back
Oh it’s great to be back
In those years that you have been following, what has been the highlight for you?
Mm I mean…..
Not a lot of success…
There is not a lot of success, there certainly hasn’t been many trophies in my time. I just came onto the fold just after they won the league cup in 1997, which was our last trophy. We had a couple of good games like where we had relegation play offs, and things like that
I suppose one that lives in the memory was when we played away to UCd and we beat them 1-0 and it kept us up for the season
That’s online, the video
Online yeah, and Jeff Kenna was in charge, there was just a real good feel around the club at that time we had about 700 or 800 travel up from Galway for that game
Were you at that game?
The atmosphere at that game looks amazing
Yeah it was really amazing, just around at that time things seemed like they were picking up but Jeff Kenna left then so….
He didn’t really go anywhere but that moment in time it certainly felt that there was a lot there to work on
But you are getting off to a good start this season
Yeah we look very strong this season I have to say, strongest squad in a few years I think we will be top 5 or 6 this season I reckon, we look at lot stronger and fitter and he has brought in more players and more bodies
Overall there is a good squad there, and if we are missing a couple of players I don’t think we will be stuck, we have a good depth in the squad
And 1 or 2 players to look out for?
Yeah John Sullivan came from Bray, he looks very, very good, real strong holding midfielder, which I think we were missing last season, and
Bray miss him this season
Yeah Bray are missing him by the look of things as well,
Stephen Folan returns to Galway, he hasn’t played for Galway united before, but he is a good Galway city man, and he looks very, very strong at the back
There is a good spine to the team
And if you are looking for a younger player Pauric Cunningham, striker from Hedford, scored a hat trick there against Mayo League in the league cup during the week, and he looks like a guy with a lot of potential, I think he possibly could start today against Bohs, and I wouldn’t bet against him scoring against them either.
So what about today’s game then?
I think we will beat Bohs, I think it will be tough, Bohs have had a poor start, they won during the week, in the league cup though, so they probably have a little more confidence though, and they have couple of players back, I know Anto Murphy is back for them, he is a strong player for them, I think it will be tight but I think Galway united will be good enough tonight
What’s your prediction for tonight?
I reckon 2-1
What would you consider rivals to Galway United?
Sligo Rovers would be the biggest rivals I suppose, I mean the Connaught derby for us is a big game, Athlone used to be, whenever we play them, it’s because they are, I think they probably are the nearest club, to us, nearer than Sligo or limerick
Even with Longford there is a bit of a rivalry there, even though they are a bit away
You have to say that, poor old Longford!
Who would you consider Cult hero?
For me Billy Cleary would be my cult hero, he is from the Claddagh, a good Galway man, he was a just gun-ho kind of solid defender, no one would get past him really, he had a bit of a reputation for been in refs ears and stuff like that but he was always a solid player
And if you had something to say to people that are in Galway who are not quite sure about hoping upto Terry land what would you say to them?
I’d say if you are anyway interested in football you should be making your way upto Eamon Deasy Park at the moment
So they changed the name?
Yes it used to be Terryland park, its Eamon Deasy Park now, because Eamonn Deasy I don’t know if you have heard of him would have been a Galway united legend, he played for Aston Villa, he passed away a couple of years ago, so they changed the name of the park a few years ago
They deserve their support, there is a good solid structure up there now, good team, good manager, and as well as that there is a good atmosphere, it’s a bit of banter even if you’re not enjoying the football, there is a bit of crack to be had, you know Friday evenings what else would you be at you know!
It’s a good place to be, a good atmosphere and you get to know a lot of people from different backgrounds, with different politics ,different you know, I think you go will go up there I think you will learn something more than anything
What will I learn today?
Today you will learn that Galway United could possible win the league this year, ha!
You never know, you never know
Ok thanks Brian
Overall impressions: really enjoyed hanging out with the guys from the Maroon Army, for a few pints, a chat, etc. as they say, “a great bunch of lads”. Nice guys who have their heads screwed on.
Also enjoyed Galway, good town with a lot of good boozers. Didn’t think Galway was so far away from Dublin, cunt of a distance on the bus, so it was a pity I couldn’t really hang around too much. (I had to head back to Dublin to see Blood N Whiskey!)
Was good to finally get Galway United off my to do groundhop list. Nice little ground, friendly fans, and the team try at least to play some football on the deck.
Yeah Galway is a cool city!