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Galway FC rise to the occasion in earning promotion to the top flight football

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Galway FC players Alex Byrne, Enda Curran and Ryan Manning celebrate their promotion to the Premier Division after defeating UCD 3-0 at Eamonn Deacy Park on Friday evening. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

Galway FC’s promotion celebrations will continue this weekend when the club holds its Player of the Year awards in Monroe’s Tavern in the city on Saturday (8pm), but work has already begun on planning for life in the top flight of Irish football next season.

Friday night’s 3-0 win over UCD secured a 5-1 aggregate win for Galway FC in the SSE Airtricity League promotion final and with it a place in the Premier Division next season, capping a magical season for the Tribesmen.

Tommy Dunne was back at his desk in Eamonn Deacy Park on Monday, after spending the weekend celebrating with officials and fans as well as family and friends, which included attending the FAI Cup Final in the Aviva Stadium on Sunday.

“It was a great weekend, people were constantly coming up to me at the cup final congratulating Galway on getting back to the Premier Division, there is a lot of goodwill out there towards the club.

“I’m delighted to be at the top table again, I think it’s important for a club this size to be in the Premier Division – you’ve no divine right, you have to earn it and those players earned it out there, they were brilliant,” Dunne said.

Dunne will obviously need to improve his squad for the step-up in quality they will face next season, but he will need an increased budget to do so, and talks on what kind of money is available for him for 2015 began this week, although lessons from the past will clearly be heeded.

“We go to the top flight, we are going to have to work harder on and off the pitch, we have to generate more money to maybe invest more in the team and the structures of the club, but we are not going to start throwing money at it just because we are in the Premier Division.

“There are a lot of people around here that know what happened when those days were around, but for us it will need to be increased and we will have to work hard as a club to get more sponsorship. Of course you’ll have to increase your budget but what it is, we don’t know yet,” he said.

That said, there won’t be wholesale changes, and the one quality he is looking for is, in his own words, “hunger”.

“The game is about players and if you don’t have hungry players and you don’t have players who are prepared to do the work week in week out and listen and learn and fight and die for each other, well then you are wasting your time,” he said.

One of the most impressive parts of this season is in relation to Dunne’s players – the starting XI on Friday night had an average age of just 22, the youngest squad across both divisions, and 13 of the 18-man match-day squad hail from Galway, with three others from neighbouring counties of Mayo, Westmeath and Limerick. Paddy Parrett (Waterford) and Jake Keegan (America) were the other two.

While Dunne admits his side’s slow start to the season – they had to wait five games for their first win – it was really their third quarter of the season which cost them a shot at the title, with the side taking just seven points from a possible 21 in that little run from June to August.

However, after suffering a 1-0 defeat away to Wexford Youths on August 8, Dunne’s side rallied for the last quarter of the campaign and wouldn’t lose again, wining their next five games and then drawing their last two to book their place in the play-offs.

They then clinched promotion in clinical style, beating both Shelbourne and UCD home and away to win 4-1 and 5-1 on aggregate respectively, and that run of form is something Dunne wants to tap into at the start of next season.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

CITY TRIBUNE

Galway Utd to use last three league games to get players match-fit for play-offs

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Killian Brouder in action against Athlone Town back in May - if fit, he will feature against the Midlands outfit in Eamonn Deacy Park tonight. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

Galway United manager John Caulfield is taking a ‘softly-softly’ approach to United’s final three games of the regular season as he lets one eye glance towards the end-of-season play-offs and an escape route after five seasons of hell in the First Division.

Last week’s draw with Treaty United has not mathematically ended United’s hopes of catching Cork City for the title, but with the Leesiders six points ahead with three games remaining – and a far superior goal difference – it is only a matter f time before they are officially crowned champions.

In truth, United’s title hopes ended with back-to-back defeats to Waterford and Bray Wanderers in August – and to be fair to him, the United manager admitted as much at the time – so he has been using the game since to prepare for the play-offs, preparation that will continue this evening with the visit of Athlone Town to Eamonn Deacy Park (7.45pm).

Town are the only side United have beaten in every meeting this season, with a 3-0 win on the Dyke Road back in May sandwiched between 2-1 and 3-1 wins in Lissywoolen in March and July respectively.

As has been his habit before every game this season, Caulfield insists that his side are in for a tough game this evening. Athlone are second from bottom of the table, with just five wins all season, and a whopping 40 points behind United, so while they might provide stiff opposition, there really is no excuse for not winning comfortably tonight, even if United use the game as a stepping stone for the play-offs.

“We have a number of weeks to get more a few fellas more game time and get ready for the play-offs,” he said after last Friday’s draw in Limerick.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

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The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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CITY TRIBUNE

Galway United get out of jail thanks to dubious spot kick

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David Tarmey with his parents, Seamus and Sabina, and Brian O’Riordan, the chairman of Cregmore/Claregalway, his former club, after he signed his first professional contract with Galway United.

Treaty United 1

Galway United 1

 THE thinking heading into this game in Limerick last Friday night was that Galway United would use the opportunity to make a statement of intent with regards to the upcoming promotion play-offs, especially given the likelihood of facing their hosts again in knockout football at the end of this month.

Instead, all we got was an incoherent mumble from a visiting side that seems to be lurching from one game to the next, one that needed a ridiculous penalty decision to go in their favour late in the game to rescue a point against their hosts.

Failure to win last Friday means it is just two wins in the last their last eight league games, which is hardly the form needed to come through the gruelling, protracted play-off series and climb out of the purgatory of the First Division.

They finished fifth in 2020, scraping into the play-offs on goal difference ahead of Cobh Ramblers, but after beating Bray Wanderers in the semi-final, they then lost to Longford Town in the final.

Last year saw a second-place finish in the table but an immediate failure in the play-offs with defeat to Bray Wanderers in the semi-finals; and unfortunately, they look to be going backwards this season as with Waterford winning both at the weekend and in a rearranged game on Monday night, United have now slipped to third in the table.

They do still have three games to play as opposed to two for Waterford, but given recent displays, it is difficult to have too much confidence in overhauling the Blues in the table.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

 

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CITY TRIBUNE

Friend in bullish mood ahead of big battle with Munster

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Connacht's Director of Rugby Andy Friend who is expecting a big display against Munster at the Sportsground on Friday night.

TWO teams which have made wretched starts to the season will hope to kick-start their campaigns this Friday as Connacht host Munster when they meet in the Sportsground (7.35pm).

The visitors have at least got a win under their belt, flattering to deceive against perennial basement side Zebre in a 21-5 win in Cork last weekend, but Connacht head into the game propping up the table with nothing to show for their three games to date.

All three of those games have been on the road, as work continued on replacing the grass pitch at the Sportsground with a synthetic surface, and that is now ready to be unveiled on Friday for a game which Connacht simply have to win if their league season is not to be declared a write-off before the kids have even gone trick-or-treating.

“We want to be a team that plays fast and this [new synthetic pitch] allows us to be fast. This is a massive investment by Connacht Rugby, and I think a brilliant investment, and let’s hope Friday night is the first of many wins on it,” a bullish Andy Friend, Director of Rugby at Connacht, said in his pre-match press conference this week.

It has been a tough start to the season for Connacht: they were trounced 36-10 in Belfast by Ulster on the opening weekend of the season, and followed that with two defeats in South Africa, losing 38-15 to defending champions, the Stormers, and then going down to a 28-14 defeat to last year’s runners-up, the Bulls.

That has left Connacht as the only side in the table without a point, with all three of their opponents to date picking up the maximum five points on offer. Friend knows that has to change, and fast, and he feels there is no better game than the visit of their southern neighbours to get the season off to a belated start.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

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