One spectator entering Lissywollen for Friday’s SSE Airtricity League first division encounter between Athlone Town and Galway United is travelling from Boston to watch the game.
David Snow will land at Dublin Airport tomorrow morning and plans to head for the west of Ireland before returning to the midlands in the evening.
“Once it gets in your blood it is in your blood,” says the Brant Rock resident about his passion for Galway United. “It is something I enjoy with all of my heart. It is great, it gives you something to follow and something pure, there is nothing quite like it.”
So how did the American start following United? “It's magic, I was at a tailgate at a Fordham University College Football game, I ran into John Flannery from the club,” he explains.
“At the time the club had just been promoted, John opened his discussion with us by saying he had just got off the phone with Michael D Higgins.
“So we had a lot of education that afternoon on the League of Ireland and Galway United. John invited us to the club's first match the following year against Derry. Kathy and I were the first ones to say we would go and the only ones that showed up.”
In the intervening years Snow has followed United’s fortunes from afar, making the odd trip to Ireland. The 2017 ‘Dash’ fundraiser organised by Stephen and Noel Connolly when United supporters played in every League of Ireland ground inside a chaotic 24 hours. Snow thoroughly enjoyed that adventure.
“I have only been to a couple of games live over the years,” Snow says. “The Dash is what spoiled me, getting to see all of the League of Ireland venues in 24 hours was really the deepest dive I will ever take.
“I look back on that, we were moving along so quickly, you got a feel for the different venues, but at the same time if you could just have taken it in a little bit more. To spend a bit more time at Tallaght or Dalymount, some of the places where we got to step on the pitch.
“It was really wonderful stuff. It was an unforgettable experience, people are fascinated over here, particularly, ex pats. When you tell them you did it, they don't even believe it is possible. So it is always a good conversation piece.
“Only in Ireland could you squeeze all of that into 24 hours. The logistics of it, the Connollys and everybody involved in putting that together from the Co-op. They covered everything perfectly.
“What could have been a disaster at every turn was so smooth, we just had such a great time. People from that trip are friends to this day. I felt so welcome and lucky to be on that bus.”
With a grandmother from Ennistymon, Snow is proud of his Irish roots and enjoys watching United’s fixtures being streamed. One of his missions is getting more Americans following the Tribesmen.
“It makes it so much more real when somebody can see what I am talking about,” Snow adds. “Some people have a passing interest, some people do it because they have roots in Ireland. For the people slightly interested it is really the streaming that has allowed them to really get a better feel. Now with fans being added back into the stadiums, it just adds to the atmosphere. It is Friday afternoon for me, it kicks the weekend off.
“This year it certainly has kicked it off with real positive vibes many times. Regardless of the result it is a really nice way to experience the league and the club without actually being there.”
Ultimately Snow is a firm believer that there is something special about the League of Ireland. “There is no doubt about it,” he replies. “I follow a lot of the different leagues in Europe, there is nothing like the League of Ireland. I really think it has something to do with the traditions and the actual clubs themselves the more you dive into it. Really I think it is the connection to the players and coaches.
“When I came over for 'The Dash', Shane Keegan met me for lunch, he gave me the lay of the land in terms of grounds I was going to see.
“The next time my family came over, Shane had lunch with us before the match against UCD. You aren't going to get that anywhere else. There is just something so personal about it.”
In recent times Jake Keegan and Shane Doherty, who netted against Shelbourne on Friday, have made an impact with United.
“Jake is just a top man, Shane is just such a nice young man, you know he comes from a great family in New Jersey,” Snow says.
“After he scored, I sent him a quick note, there is no moment too big for Shane. I think he rises to the occasion, it is such a thrill to see him having success. He had a rocky road for some really important reasons, to see him rebound, he has a great attitude, he had a couple of nicks during this season, but to see him start to put the ball into the back of the net is just fantastic.
“He might have thought he was a Donegal man when he came over, but he is a Galway man through and through.”
Something similar could be uttered about Snow, who is crossing the Atlantic to see United.
**Listen to the full interview with David Snow on this week's 'Cian on Sport' podcast available on Soundcloud, Spotify, and Apple Podcasts.