Hopes are high a Galway's women's soccer team will continue to represent the west with a possible injection of funding and help from Galway United sponsors, the Comer Group.
It follows the decision by Galway WFC's long-time founder and owner Stephen Moran to step away from his involvement, citing additional costs as a major factor.
Moran says it has become difficult to give the women's team "what they truly deserve" with expenses rising every year since it was founded in 2012.
Run by a small committee of just four people, GWFC comprises three teams, senior, U17 and U19. However costs have skyrocketed since its formation, and it now requires some €160,000 to run. In that time Moran and his team have kept women's soccer in Galway at the forefront of the sport nationally, providing opportunities for the game to develop and opportunities for players to gain national recognition.
Moran says it has become "too draining" to continue, and the decision has been made now to enable others to step in and ensure Galway WFC can continue on next year.
“It is imperative elite women’s football remains in the region next season, and we hope that other individuals or entities will take up the mantle to continue the tradition of senior and underage women’s football in Galway in 2023,” Moran says.
It had been known in Galway soccer circles that discussions had been taking place between Galway WFC and Galway United FC in recent weeks and months, and this week the board of Galway United FC released a statement on this troubling development.
“The resources and logistics involved in running three more teams at national level is hugely significant and, as such, would be unmanageable with our current staffing levels and volunteer pool," a statement says.
However, the board says United sponsors Luke Comer and [the] Comer Group have expressed their commitment to support the continuation of women’s football at both senior and underage levels in Galway, and the United said they would "now begin the process of dialogue with all interested stakeholders… to see elite women’s football thrive in the west".
Currently, the Women’s National League has 10 teams and there has been speculation that Shamrock Rovers, which operates successful women’s teams at U19 and U17 level, may seek to enter a senior team in the not too distant future.
The Galway WFC senior squad boasts several U19 and current and former senior Irish internationals, and both the U17 and U19 teams have lifted national honours in the previous two years.
The off-field turbulence unfortunately overshadowed a superb win for Galway WFC on Saturday in the Showgrounds where they downed Sligo Rovers by 5-2. Their attention will now turn to Saturday evening at 5pm in Eamonn Deacy Park when they host Cork City.