Galway United F.C. (1937–2011)

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This article is about the original club from Galway that existed until 2011. For the new Galway club, see Galway United F.C..
Galway United
Galway United
Full name Galway United Football Club
Nickname(s) The Tribesmen, Tribal Army, Maroon Army
Founded 1937, as Galway Rovers F.C.
Dissolved 2011
Ground Eamonn Deacy Park
Ground Capacity 5,000 (3,300 seats)
Chairman John McCormick (resigned 2011)
2011 10th
Website Club home page

Galway United Football Club (Irish: Cumann Peile Ghaillimh Aontaithe) was founded as Galway Rovers in 1937. They were a football club, who last played in the League of Ireland Premier Division, the top tier of the Irish football in 2011. Galway first joined the League of Ireland in 1977, having been invited to participate in the League Cup in the previous year.

Galway Rovers made its League of Ireland debut in Terryland Park, Galway, against St Patrick's Athletic on the 28 August of that year.[1]


Foundation and league membership[edit]

"The Tribesmen" as Galway United F.C. are known as, was founded as Galway Rovers in the Claddagh district of Galway in 1937. The club achieved great success at junior level and had their first shot at senior football when they competed in the League Cup in 1976. In 1977, the club was invited to join the League of Ireland and made its debut in Terryland Park against St. Patricks Athletic on 28 August of that year. The club found it difficult to make an impact in the League Of Ireland at first but gradually improved and reached its first major final in 1981, losing the League Cup final on penalties to Dundalk in Oriel Park. The club subsequently changed its name to Galway United.

New name, new decade, new frontiers[edit]

Success was soon to follow. United finished in sixth position in the League in 1985 and, under the stewardship of Tom Lally and Tony Mannion, qualified for the FAI Cup final. Shamrock Rovers F.C. were the victors in Dalymount Park on 28 April 1985. As Shamrock Rovers had already secured European qualification through their league title triumph, the place reserved in Europe for the FAI Cup winners fell to the runners-up. Rovers won 1-0 but united played danish club Lyngby Boldklub the following autumn. Over two legs united lost 2-4. The second leg took place at Galway sportsground. This following season the two title contenders went head to head in Terryland in a match which would ultimately decide the title. Three goals in the first 35 minutes handed the game to Rovers, who went on to win the game 3–1 and ultimately, the league. Galway United finished runners up and again qualified for Europe as Ireland's UEFA Cup representatives. Meanwhile, on 15 January 1986, United won their first senior trophy as they beat Dundalk 2–0 in the League Cup final. Denis Bonner (brother of Packie) scored for United, along with Paul McGee (17 times capped for Ireland). Galway United's opponents in the UEFA Cup were FC Groningen, who at the time were one of the top sides in the Netherlands. They went on to win 8–2, with the home tie memorable for the fact that it was held in the Gaeltacht area of Carraroe, on a pitch that usually hosted the local Gaelic football team, An Cheathrú Rua. The game was played near a road to the sea in a rough landscape of stony walls.

The 1990's[edit]

Fast forward five years and Galway United had consolidated their position in the Premier Division under new manager Joey Malone. In the FAI Cup, United again reached the final, this time held in Lansdowne Road. Old rivals, Shamrock Rovers were the opposition and were seeking their 25th victory in the competition. With five minutes to go on the clock, Johnny Glynn tapped home a late goal, which was enough to win Galway United the FAI Cup and also send them back into Europe. United were drawn against Danish side Odense BK in the European Cup Winners Cup. The first leg was held in the Galway village of Ballinderreen in front of a 6,000 crowd. Odense were much too strong for United, who had lost both Keane and Glynn in the summer, and they went on to win the tie 7–0 on aggregate.

The following season proved to be traumatic for the club, as they were relegated to the First Division for the first time in their history. Tony Mannion returned as manager and Galway United returned to the top flight in style, winning the First Division at the first attempt and also winning the First Division shield. Terryland Park was being redeveloped and the club moved to Crowley Park, the home of local rugby side Galwegians, for one season. The side surpassed all expectations by finishing third in the Premier Division behind Shamrock Rovers and Cork City.

Galway United returned to Terryland Park on 9 October 1994, beating Sligo Rovers. Two weeks later a record Terryland crowd of 7,000 saw United defeat Cork City 2–1, as the floodlit football came to Galway. United remained in the Premier Division until 1996. The cloud of relegation had a silver lining, however, as United won two trophies – the First Division Shield and also the League Cup, both for the second time.

The end of the 1990s and the new millennium[edit]

Don O'Riordan was the next person to take the helm at Terryland Park and won promotion to the Premier Division in 1999. His reign as manager Terryland is generally remembered for two FAI Cup campaigns, in which the club reached successive semi-finals in 1999 and 2000. The club lost both games, the first to Finn Harps and the second to Shelbourne. The 1999 semi-final was the first football match to be televised live from Terryland Park on national television. Tony Mannion returned for his third spell as manager in 2001 but Galway United found themselves relegated to the First Division for the third time, by the start of the 2002–2003 campaign.

At the start of the 2005 season, club hero Stephen Lally took over as club manager, but he tendered his resignation from his post just ten games into the 2006 campaign. Tony Cousins was appointed manager of the club on 14 June 2006. Galway United finished 3rd in the 2006 league campaign and were invited to take part in the Premier Division of the League of Ireland for the 2007 season.[2]

In July 2007, the new 1,500-seater stand at Terryland Park was opened, increasing the seated capacity to 2,900.[3] That season saw the club involved in a relegation fight for most of the season but avoided the drop and finished 7th.[4]

Manager changes and decrease in form[edit]

The following season saw a poor start costing Cousins his job in April 2008. Jeff Kenna took over in a player-manager capacity. Rumours of financial troubles and the selling of the players within the squad, most notably Derek O'Brien, coupled with the club sitting bottom of the league, relegation loomed on the horizon. However, a surge of great form which saw the United reach the FAI Cup semi-finals gave the club a fighting chance of survival. A 3–0 victory over Finn Harps in the penultimate game of the season put survival in United's own hands and their victory the following week away to UCD ensured that Galway United would be playing in the top division in 2009.

Following the departure of Jeff Kenna to St Patrick's Athletic on 14 January 2009, Ian Foster was promoted from his role as assistant manager, signing a two-year contract to take over the reins at the club. Foster succeeded in helping the club avoid the relegation play-offs in 2009, albeit due to Derry City's expulsion from the LOI Premier Division.[5]

Following the departure of Sean Connor from his post at Dundalk, 24 hours after the final game of the season,[6] Ian Foster sought permission from Galway United CEO Nick Leeson to speak with Dundalk, but was denied. He subsequently resigned his position and was appointed team manager at Dundalk on 4 December 2009.[7] Foster cited alleged payment problems during the season as justification for his contact with Dundalk and his subsequent appointment there.[8]

On 10 January 2010, Sean Connor was appointed as team manager by Galway United.[9] Between the end of 2009 and the start of the 2010 season, Galway United and Dundalk effectively swapped team managers, as Ian Foster moved in the opposite direction to Dundalk.

The 2011 season was Galway United's worst in their history, and results-wise one of the worst seasons by a club in League of Ireland history. From 15 April 2011 to 9 September 2011, Galway went on astonishing run of 22 defeats in a row, which ended after they scraped a 2–2 draw against Dundalk. Due to poor attendances and lack of funding, Galway put up their entire squad for sale in the mid-season transfer window and in doing so, turning completely amateur. All new signings were from local clubs. Galway United sacked manager Sean Connor in September. John Brennan took over, but could do little to help the team as they had already secured bottom of the Premier Division. Galway only scored 20 league goals in the 2011 season and conceded 115. They only won one league game, beating Bohemians 1–0 on 25 March 2011.

Decline and withdrawal[edit]

Until February 2011, the club's chief executive was ex-derivatives trader Nick Leeson, whose unsupervised speculative trading caused the collapse of Barings Bank, the UK's oldest investment bank.[10]

The club, having been operated on a day-to-day basis by the supporters' group, the Galway United Supporters Trust (GUST) for the 2011 season, withdrew their application for a 2012 licence.[11] GUST applied for a licence to play in the 2012 League of Ireland, but were refused the opportunity to submit their application.


Galway United FC was resurrected in 2013 to represent the city again under new ownership, and though using the same name, as a different club. The club came back into being through the combined efforts of the Galway United Supporters Trust, Mervue Utd, Salthill Devon, The Galway FA and The Comer Brothers as sponsors.


The day-to-day operations of the club were carried out by a volunteer management committee, consisting of members of the Galway United Supporters Trust, until the Trust severed their relationship with the Club's parent company following its 2011 AGM.

Following their disaffiliation from the Club's management, The Galway United Supporters Trust applied to the Football Association of Ireland for a licence to compete in the League of Ireland as an independent club known as Galway United Supporters' Trust FC. If the application is successful, the team will compete in the First Division of the Airtricity League of Ireland in 2012. Following this move, GUFC withdrew its license application for 2012.[12]

Shirt sponsors and manufacturers[edit]

Year Kit manufacturer Shirt partner
2004 Umbro Harmack Developments
2007 O'Connell Drylining
2008 Rival
2009 Papa John's


Main article: Terryland Park
Terryland Park
Terryland park.jpg
Location Dyke Road, Galway, Ireland
Owner Galway & District Football League
Operator Galway United
Capacity 5,000 (3,300 seated)
Opened 1937
Galway United (1977–present)

In 1977, the club was invited to join the then League of Ireland. They began using Terryland Park in the same year on 28 August. Here, they played their first match against St. Patricks Athletic. In 1993, Terryland Park underwent redevelopment. During this time, Galway United played their matches at the Galway Sportsground and Galwegians RFCs Crowley Park. The stadium was to undergo further redevelopment in 2007 after a €500,000 grant was received from the Irish Government in 2006. The money went towards building a new 1,500-seater stand and a new camera platform. This new stand increased the capacity from 3,300 to 5,000.

Terryland Park is due to undergo even more development in the future. It is planned that the new stand, which was built in 2007, will include a shop unit, turnstiles, medical examination and first-aid rooms, toilets, showers, dressing-rooms, a match delegates' room, officials' dressing-room, a new media and reception room, a canteen with facilities for press conference, and TV and radio facilities.

Terryland Park has hosted five Ireland under-21 games and other international underage matches. Every year, 80 games are played at Terryland Park with between 25 to 30 of these fixtures involving Galway United.

In 2008, Terryland Park was voted as the best surface in the League of Ireland for the second year running.


The club has a loyal fan base based around the city and county of Galway, also extending into south Mayo and north Clare. Galway United were averaging gates of circa 500 during the 2011 season. Galway United's only supporters club is GUST ( Galway United Supporters Trust ). Over the years, GUST has provided considerable support to Galway United by way of fund-raising. The fan base of Galway United are known as the Maroon Army. They now continue to support football in Galway by supporting Galway F.C., in which they made a sizeable contribution to its founding.


Name Years
Republic of Ireland Amby Fogarty
1976–Mar 78
Scotland Tommy Callaghan
Oct 1978–Mar 79
Republic of Ireland *Tommy Lally & Eamonn Deacy
Republic of Ireland John Herrick
Republic of Ireland Mick Cooke
Aug 1981
Republic of Ireland John Herrick
Sep 1981–83
Republic of Ireland Paddy Mulligan
Republic of Ireland Tommy Lally
Republic of Ireland Tony Mannion
Republic of Ireland John Herrick
1988–Nov 88
Republic of Ireland *Fran Gavin & Denis Bonner
Nov 1988–Nov 88
Republic of Ireland Seamus McDonagh
Dec 1988–89
Republic of Ireland Paul McGee
Republic of Ireland Joey Malone
1990–Dec 91
Name Years
Republic of Ireland *Tommy Lally
Dec 1991–Jan 92
Republic of Ireland Tony Mannion
Jan 1992–Oct 95
Republic of Ireland Denis Clarke
Nov 1995–97
Republic of Ireland Don O'Riordan
Jul 1997–01
Republic of Ireland Dave Connell
2001–Oct 01
Republic of Ireland Tony Mannion
Oct 2001–04
Republic of Ireland Stephen Lally
2005–May 6
Republic of Ireland *Alan Gough & Jim Noone
May 2006–Jun 06
Republic of Ireland Tony Cousins
Jun 2006–Mar 08
Republic of Ireland *Billy Clery
Mar 2008–Apr 08
Republic of Ireland Jeff Kenna (player-manager)
Apr 2008–Jan 09
England Ian Foster
Jan 2009–Dec 09
Northern IrelandSean Connor
Jan 2010–Sep 11
Republic of Ireland John Brennan
Sep 2011 – Oct 2011
* Caretaker manager(s)

Galway United F.C. seasons[edit]

Recent seasons[edit]

Season League FAI Cup League Cup Top goalscorer
Division P W D L F A Pts Pos Name Goals
2005 First 36 14 11 11 46 43 53 5th R2 R2 Barry Moran 11
2006 First 36 19 12 5 57 25 69 3rd R2 R1 Barry Moran 11
2007 Prem 33 7 13 13 28 35 35 8th R2 R2 Derek Glynn[13] 10
2008 Prem 33 8 8 17 34 49 32 9th SF SF Jay O'Shea[14] 7
2009 Prem 36 12 6 18 36 57 42 7th R4 QF Vinny Faherty[15] 8
2010 Prem 36 9 11 16 38 59 38 8th QF R1 Karl Sheppard / Stephen O'Donnell 8
2011 Prem 36 1 3 32 20 115 6 10th R3 R1 Alan Murphy 5


European Record[edit]

UEFA Cup Winners Cup:

Appearances Played Won Drawn Lost For Against
2 4 0 0 4 2 11


Appearances Played Won Drawn Lost For Against
1 2 0 0 2 2 8


Appearances Played Won Drawn Lost For Against
3 6 0 0 6 4 19

Past Opponents[edit]

Season Competition Country Team Score
1985–86 UEFA Cup Winners Cup First Round Denmark Lyngby BK 0–1, 2–3 (2–4 agg.)
1986–87 UEFA Cup First Round Netherlands Groningen 1–5, 1–3 (2–8 agg.)
1991–92 UEFA Cup Winners Cup Qualifying Round Denmark Odense 0–3, 0–4 (0–7 agg.)

Records and statistics[edit]