By Patrick Flaherty
FOLLOWING weeks of speculation and two candidates turning the job down, Galway United finally got their man as Shane Keegan penned a two-year deal over the weekend after a five year spell at the helm of Wexford Youths.
Speaking at his first press conference as manager, the Laois native quickly got the assembled local and national media on his side, through his sheer energy and enthusiasm for the job.
Despite his managerial career never reaching past the sunny south east, Keegan knows the city quite well, stating the location and his family’s love of the place as huge factor in his decision to come to Galway.
“To be honest with you, when you’re looking at relocating to somewhere new and you have to sit down with the family about it, I don’t think there is too many places they’d be as enthusiastic about. We come over here three or four times a year.”
“We’ve been at the Christmas market pretty much every year for the last four or five years. It’s a wonderful city and I love spending as much time as possible here. I’m really delighted to get the chance to spend more time here.”
Keegan spent the weekend in Galway, where he was shown around his new surroundings, a stadium and training ground he was extremely impressed by.
“The facilities are second to none. They are one of the things that get you most excited. You look at what’s been done here under the stand, on the pitch and obviously at the training ground in Mervue. It ticks every box. You can have absolutely no complaints in relation to that side of things. It’s fantastic.”
Having built up experience in the Airtricity League, through spells at both FC Carlow and Wexford Youths, the young manager is looking forward to the step up from the part time set ups there to the full time one in Galway, along with the jump in the club’s ambition.
“Obviously the biggest change for me is the step up in going from a part time set up to a full time set up, in terms of the amount of training that can be done and different things like that. Also let’s be honest in terms of expectations. We very nearly managed to stay up with Wexford Youths. I realise that was their aim and that the aims and expectations here are going to be very different.”
While Keegan may not have the trophy cabinet of other top flight managers, with the 2015 First Division being his only title in his seven years of management at senior level, he does have a fantastic record at developing young talent, having seen the likes of Sean Maguire and Ryan Delaney progress under his tutelage.
“There’s a huge buzz to be got out of progressing a young player and seeing him produce the goods on the pitch. We had it last season with Ryan Delaney in particular who was just outstanding for us and really developed as a player over 18 months, which culminated in his move to the Championship with Burton Albion.”
For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.