“It is a very positive development for all aspects of the game in Galway,” Seán McGlynn says about the collaboration agreed between Galway United and the Galway Football Association.
In recent weeks United and the local FA have worked together with underage squads with McGlynn encouraged about the development.
“Over the last couple of years while Galway United were evolving their own internal structure the Galway FA league centres continued,” he explains.
“It is fair to say that we were pulling from the same pool of players and it was never going to work if the structures didn't collaborate to come up with a better system so the player pathway is clearer for all of the players.
“This collaboration actually opens it up to more players within the Galway grassroots structure. It is only positive from our end, the feedback from the clubs has been extremely positive. We are two or three weeks into the actual running of it, the operation of it - so far, so good.”
Galway United head of academy Johnny Glynn is delighted with the initiative also. “From Galway United's point of view we are delighted with this progress,” Glynn says.
“I have been speaking with Tom Trill for a number of years now, it is never easy when you have new structures coming in, to implement them and to keep everybody happy. We have finally found a way, we are very happy with it and it is great for Galway football for young boys, parents, and their clubs.
“For all the clubs in Galway we can have a united pathway. We have a strong coaching team in our academy, we want to make sure we are utilising our coaches with as many coaches as we can in Galway.”
McGlynn believes that the unified approach will contribute to improving standards in the west of Ireland. “What had been happening until this point was Johnny and his coaches were working in the community, working with clubs,” McGlynn says.
“They also had their own academies where they wanted to get working as early as possible with the players from the various clubs, to develop the players to the standard that they can progress to play League of Ireland. The Galway FA were doing the same thing, but not in the same fashion. The Galway FA were focused on the Inter League structure.
“So we were developing teams to play Inter League. The player pathway is very clear, you have grassroots, that is the league centres, then you have League of Ireland, you have the emerging talent, and then beyond that by operating this structure we are bringing the resources of Galway United and the Galway FA together.
“We are opening up the league centres to more players. That is a positive, we are increasing the capacity in the league centres, we have a higher volume of coaches available. The standard of coaching that is going to be delivered to the players is going to increase too which is only positive for the players.”
McGlynn highlights how the Kennedy Cup squad will be prepared this season. “A good example would be the traditional Kennedy Cup, albeit not run in its normal guise over the last number of years due to Covid,” he adds.
“The management team has picked a squad of 40 players for this season, Galway United are working with 20 of those, that is the cohort of players Johnny and his coaching team have been working on for the last number of weeks who they may see as potential signees for the League of Ireland.”
Ensuring solid structures are established is critical according to Glynn, who is excited about how the project is beginning to unfold.
“It is important that we are working together, we have gap years with the national leagues,” Glynn says.
“It will be easier now once this first step is taken. We will take the steps gradually, we will realise there are opportunities to unify the pathway at more age groups. We have started with 2010s and 2008s which are up and running.
“We will continue that right through the age groups, without going too fast, too soon. I think we will need to review it regularly, to monitor how it is developing, but so far it is going great.”
**Listen to the full interview with Seán McGlynn and Johnny Glynn on this week’s ‘Cian on Sport’ podcast available on Soundcloud, Spotify, and Apple Podcasts.