Vazquez delivers in the west of Ireland

Galway United U14s won the national league title on Saturday

Galway United U14 manager Xavi Vazquez.

Galway United U14 manager Xavi Vazquez.

Early on Monday afternoon Xavi Vazquez walked through Shop Street up to Eyre Square to collect an old newspaper article that was to be brought back by his father to Spain the following day.

That sense of pride about making a mark was almost Galwegian in its nature because Vazquez made a significant contribution with a gifted collection of emerging footballers. A string of the squad come from families who continue to give distinguished service to the game.

“I want to say a big thank you to all of their former clubs, without them we don't have these players,” Vazquez says.

“They do a fantastic job with these players, we can take the benefits in the national league. It is not only Galway United, but when you say Galway you mean all of the clubs involved in the community. We are so grateful to them because without them this wouldn't exist.”

For teenagers the Covid pandemic has brought many challenges. Restrictions at various stages meant sport was curtailed. “Nobody remembers that we picked a squad in lockdown with no sessions, with no trials, without too much information on the new players,” Vazquez recalls.

“We started with a lot of online zoom calls and sessions. That was our preparation in pre-season, we had a long pre-season. Once the transfer window was closed we had our team, our 22 players, we just tried to implement a style for us.

“Even in the first sessions they did really well, they wanted to compete, they wanted to play football. That is the most important thing, that is why they are hungry and have this desire to win, they love this game. You can see this when they are playing. It is one of our strengths - the desire to win, the desire to improve, to be better every day.”

Such a willingness to graft mattered with Vazquez acknowledging the importance of the past month, especially playing matches in front of sizeable crowds.

“When we started the season we didn't expect this, we played the final against unbelievable opposition, Shamrock Rovers, they are fantastic,” Vazquez says.

“It is fantastic and so different to play in front of big crowds against good teams. You know you have to play really well to beat them, but at the same time you have the support of all the people.

“I think it made a difference against St Pat's and Cobh at Eamonn Deacy Park, then it made a difference in Athlone with a fantastic attendance there, more than 1,000 people, it was fantastic. We had this extra energy in moments when we needed.”

With an innovative and attacking approach Vazquez’s charges carried out the directions with purpose. “At the beginning of the season with the squad of players we had to decide what style and formation suits more,” he adds.

“So we decided to play with this formation and style, we kept it for the whole season. We think when you keep playing with the same idea that then in the end you perform a little bit better. I think it could make a difference, we had the same identity in all of the games, we got good results and got more confidence in the knockout stages.

“We thought we might get an advantage in wide areas, the players did an amazing job. It is so easy from the sideline, from the table to plan everything, but then you have to do it. With this bunch of players it is easy.”

**Listen to the full interview with Galway United U14 manager Xavi Vazquez on this week's 'Cian on Sport' podcast available on Soundcloud, Spotify, and Apple Podcasts.

GALWAY UNITED U14s 2021 LEAGUE CAMPAIGN

26.6 H 1-0 v ST PATRICK’S ATHLETIC Jacob Carroll

10.7 A 7-0 v ATHLONE TOWN Graham Hurley, Jacob Carroll, Stephen Jennings, Eoin Hannon 4

17.7 A 4-1 v LONGFORD TOWN Jacob Carroll 2, Graham Hurley, Eoin Hannon

24.7 A 0-0 v ST PATRICK’S ATHLETIC -

4.8 H 4-2 v DUNDALK Donnacha Sammon 2, Conor Kelly, Kyle Fitzgerald

7.8 A H 8-1 v LONGFORD TOWN Zach Lawless 2, Donnacha Sammon, Jacob Carroll 2, Steven Jennings 2, Denis Sirbu

14.8 A 2-2 v DUNDALK Graham Hurley, James Montague

19.8 A 7-0 v ATHLONE TOWN Eoin Hannon 4, Conor Murphy, Zach Lawless, Steven Jennings

4.9 H 4-1 v CORK CITY Jacob Carroll, Eoin Hannon, Donnacha Sammon, Graham Hurley

11.9 A 3-2 v BOHEMIANS Kyle Fitzgerald, Eoin Hannon, Billy Regan

25.9 A 0-3 v COBH RAMBLERS -

2.10 H 1-1 v SHAMROCK ROVERS OG

23.10 H 4-0 v ST PATRICK’S ATHLETIC Billy Regan, Eoin Hannon, Kyle Fitzgerald, Jack Kelly

30.10 H 6-1 v COBH RAMBLERS Jacob Carroll 2, Donnacha Sammon 2, Tiernan Proulx, Kyle Fitzgerald

6.11 N 2-0 v SHAMROCK ROVERS Denis Sirbu, Kyle Fitzgerald

 

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