Galway United F.C.

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Galway United F.C.
Badge of Galway United FC (2013).png
Full name Galway United Football Club
Nickname(s) The Tribesmen
Founded 1937
Ground Eamonn Deacy Park
Ground Capacity 5,000 (3,300 seats)
Chairman None at present
Manager Shane Keegan
League League of Ireland Premier Division
2017 League of Ireland Premier Division, 10th (Relegated)
Website Club website
Current season

Galway United Football Club (Irish: Cumann Peile Ghaillimh Aontaithe) is an Irish association football club based in Galway. They play in the League of Ireland Premier Division. They were founded as Galway Rovers F.C. during the 1930s. They made their League of Ireland debut in 1977–78 and changed their name to Galway United in 1981–82. After suffering financial difficulties, the club dropped out of the League of Ireland after the 2011 season but in 2014 Galway United returned after initially playing as Galway F.C. for a season.


Galway Rovers[edit]

Galway United F.C. were founded as Galway Rovers F.C. in the Claddagh district of Galway. The clubs website claims the club was founded in 1937. However, according to a Galway Advertiser report, the club was active in 1933, winning a local junior competition known as the Celtic Shield. By 1937 Rovers were fielding youth teams as well as a junior side. Rovers won the Connacht Junior Cup in 1958 and they also played in the Western League. Rovers first gained national attention when they were invited to play in the 1976–77 League of Ireland Cup. In 1977–78 they made their debut in the League of Ireland. They played their first League of Ireland game on 28 August 1977 at Terryland Park against St. Patrick's Athletic. Eamonn Deacy scored Rovers' first League of Ireland goal on 2 October 1977. In 1980–81 Rovers reached the final of the League of Ireland Cup, but lost on penalties to Dundalk.[1][2][3][4][5]


In the 1981–82 season, Galway Rovers changed their name to Galway United and under their new name, the club reached 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. In 1985–86 United became founder members of the League of Ireland Premier Division and finished second behind Shamrock Rovers in the new division's inaugural season. In 1985–86 United won its first major trophy after defeating Dundalk 2–0 in the League of Ireland Cup final. Denis Bonner and Paul McGee scored the vital goals.[2][3][4][5][6]


Galway United made a good start to 1990s, winning their first FAI Cup and qualifying for Europe for a third time. However they spent much of the decade in the League of Ireland First Division. In the 1990–91 FAI Cup final at Lansdowne Road, United defeated Shamrock Rovers 1–0. With five minutes to go on the clock, Johnny Glynn scored a late goal. In 1991–92 United was relegated to the First Division, but the following season, 1992–93, they returned to the Premier Division after winning the First Division title and the League of Ireland First Division Shield.

In 1995–96 United were relegated for a second time. In 1996–97 United won the League of Ireland Cup and the First Division Shield. It was the second time United had won both trophies.

United remained in the First Division until 1998–99 when, under Don O'Riordan, they were promoted to the Premier Division after finishing as runners-up in the First Division to Drogheda United.[2][3][4][5][6]


The 2000s were not a successful decade for Galway United. Ten different managers took charge of United during this era and, between them, they managed to win just one trophy, the 2007–08 Connacht Senior Cup. In 2001–02 United were relegated to the League of Ireland First Division and they did not return to the Premier Division until 2007 [7] In April 2005 United appointed Nick Leeson as commercial manager. He then became general manager in late November 2005 and by July 2007 he had become the club's CEO.[8][9] By the end of the decade United were joined in the League of Ireland by two other Galway–based teams, Mervue United and Salthill Devon.[10]


By 2010 Galway United had debts estimated to be between €35,000 and €70,000. In 2011, after Nick Leeson resigned as CEO, the Galway United board of directors and the Galway United Supporters Trust, which had been established in 2001, came to an agreement under which the latter group took over financial responsibility for the club and the day-to-day running of the team.[8][10][11][12] However, after the 2011 League of Ireland Premier Division season, in which Galway United lost 32 out of 36 games, this arrangement broke down. In December 2011 it was announced that Galway United would not be competing in the 2012 League of Ireland First Division season. Meanwhile, GUST unsuccessfully applied to join the League of Ireland as an independent club and continued to support the Galway United team playing in the League of Ireland U19 Division.[13][14][15]

In 2012 a report commissioned by the Football Association of Ireland (FAI) recommended that Galway city and County Galway should be represented in the League of Ireland by a single club or team based at Eamonn Deacy Park. The O'Connor Report also recommended that GUST, Salthill Devon, Mervue United and the Galway Football Association, should work together to form such a club.[16] GUST was reluctant to support this "merger"[17] but eventually agreed.

Following the conclusion of the 2013 season, both Mervue United and Salthill Devon withdrew from the League of Ireland First Division to make way for a team known as Galway F.C.. A new board of directors was established featuring representatives from GUST, Salthill Devon, Mervue United and the GFA.[2][18][19] In 2014 Galway played in the First Division and after finishing third and winning a play-off they gained promotion to the 2015 League of Ireland Premier Division. Before the start of the season Galway F.C. was renamed Galway United.[2]

On 27 October 2017, Galway United were relegated to the League of Ireland First Division after a 4-3 loss to Dundalk in their final game of the 2017 League of Ireland Premier Division at Eamonn Deacy Park.[20]


Galway United's principal home ground is Eamonn Deacy Park, previously known as Terryland Park. In 1993 while Terryland Park underwent redevelopment, Galway United played their matches at the Galway Sportsgrounds and at Crowley Park. In 1985 Galway United also played a home European game at the Sportsgrounds. On the other two occasions United qualified for Europe they played their home games at the home grounds of Carraroe GAA and Ballinderreen GAA.[2][21]


Current squad[edit]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
1 England GK Conor Winn
3 Republic of Ireland DF Marc Ludden
4 Republic of Ireland DF Paul Sinnott
5 England DF Niall Maher
6 Republic of Ireland MF Alex Byrne
9 Republic of Ireland FW Pádraic Cunningham
11 Republic of Ireland MF Conor Melody
13 Republic of Ireland DF Aaron Conway
15 Republic of Ireland MF Conor Barry
17 Republic of Ireland MF Gary Shanahan
No. Position Player
20 Isle of Man MF Declan Sharkey
21 Republic of Ireland DF Gary Kinneen
22 Republic of Ireland FW Eoin McCormack
23 Republic of Ireland FW Ronan Manning
30 England GK Charlie Burns
TBA Republic of Ireland MF Ryan Connolly
TBA Republic of Ireland DF Stephen Walsh
TBA Republic of Ireland GK Tadhg Ryan
TBA South Africa MF Carlton Ubaezuono (on loan from Dundalk)
TBA England DF Robbie Williams

Technical staff[edit]

Position Staff
Manager Shane Keegan
Head of Football Development Johnny Glynn
Coach Gary O'Connor
Goalkeeping Coach
Physio Kevin D'Arcy
Under-19 Manager Nigel Keady
Under-19 Coach Gerry Heaney
Under-17 Manager Alan Murphy
Under-17 Coach Derek O'Brien
Under-17 Coach Kevin Murphy
Under-15 Manager Martin Devlin
Under-15 Coach Gerry Martin
Kit manager John Devlin


Position Staff
Secretary John Flannery
Office Manager Mike Daly
Media Officer Vinny O'Connor
Graphic Designer Morgan O'Brien

Galway United in Europe[edit]

Galway United have qualified for European competition on three occasions.

1985–86 European Cup Winners' Cup[edit]

First Round

Lyngby won 4–2 on aggregate'

1986–87 UEFA Cup[edit]

First Round

Groningen won 8–2 on aggregate

1991–92 European Cup Winners' Cup[edit]

Qualifying Round

Odense won 7–0 on aggregate

Shirt sponsors and manufacturers[edit]

Year Kit manufacturer Shirt partner
1990/91 Wrangler
1991/92 Spall
1992/93 O'Neill's
1993/94 McDonald's Gaillimh
1994/95 Adidas
1995/96 Digital
1999/00 Compaq
2000/01 Prostar
2001/02 Stanno
2002/03 Erreà Hewlett-Packard
2003 Radisson SAS Hotel Galway
2004 Umbro Harmack Developments
2007 O'Connell Drylining
2008 Rival
2009 Papa John's
2014 Macron Comer Property Management
2016 Uhlsport


Notable former players[edit]

Republic of Ireland internationals
League of Ireland XI representatives
Republic of Ireland U23 internationals
Republic of Ireland U21 internationals
Republic of Ireland U19 internationals
Republic of Ireland U18 internationals
Other internationals




  1. ^ "Galway Rovers soccer teams". 23 December 2008. Retrieved 2 April 2016. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "Galway United FC – Club History". Retrieved 25 March 2016. 
  3. ^ a b c "Ireland - Ireland League Cup 1973/74-2006". Retrieved 2 April 2016. 
  4. ^ a b c "Republic of Ireland League Tables". Archived from the original on 21 February 2008. Retrieved 18 March 2016. 
  5. ^ a b c Graham, Alex. Football in the Republic of Ireland a Statistical Record 1921-2005. Soccer Books Limited. ISBN 1-86223-135-4. 
  6. ^ a b "Ireland - FA of Ireland Cup 1921/22-1993/94". Archived from the original on 25 May 2015. Retrieved 25 March 2015. 
  7. ^ "RTÉ Sport: Rovers and Galway in new Premiership". RTÉ News. 
  8. ^ a b Brendan White (2011-02-02). "Leeson resigns Galway Utd CEO position". Archived from the original on 14 May 2012. Retrieved 2012-02-23. 
  9. ^ "Galway United FC have appointed Mr Nick Leeson as the club's new Commercial Manager". 17 April 2005. Retrieved 6 April 2016. 
  10. ^ a b "Local competition adds to Galway United's woes". When Saturday Comes. 17 December 2010. Retrieved 6 April 2016. 
  11. ^ "Leeson will remain in charge at Galway". 24 November 2010. Retrieved 6 April 2016. 
  12. ^ "About GUST". Retrieved 5 April 2016. 
  13. ^ "Galway Utd withdraw licence application". Retrieved 22 December 2011. 
  14. ^ Malone, Emmet (14 December 2011). "Troubled Galway opt out of league for a year". Retrieved 22 December 2011. 
  15. ^ "Galway fans apply to form new club". RTÉ News. 13 December 2011. Archived from the original on 8 January 2012. 
  16. ^ "One club or nothing warns FAI on impasse". 27 August 2013. Retrieved 26 March 2015. 
  17. ^ Penrose, Gareth. "GUST vote to remain independent – – League of Ireland". Archived from the original on 8 April 2014. 
  18. ^ "Mervue United swansong shines a light on FAI mismanagement". 18 October 2013. Retrieved 22 March 2015. 
  19. ^ "Football's comin' home — compromise reached as Galway FC applies to league". 12 September 2013. Retrieved 25 March 2015. 
  20. ^ "Galway United relegated following seven-goal thriller against Dundalk". Irish Independent. 27 October 2017. Retrieved 31 October 2017. 
  21. ^ a b c "Balls Remembers The Time A Small GAA Ground Held A European Cup Winners Cup Match". 29 July 2015. Retrieved 26 August 2016. 
  22. ^ "Groningen 5–1 Galway United". Retrieved 26 August 2016. 
  23. ^ "Galway United 1–3 Groningen". Retrieved 26 August 2016. 
  24. ^ "Mayo Football League Roll Of Honour" (PDF). Retrieved 31 March 2016. 
  25. ^ "Castlebar Celtic – Club History". Archived from the original on 5 April 2016. Retrieved 24 March 2015. 

External links[edit]