A crowd in the region of 200 attended the formal launch of the Airtricity League's newest club, Galway FC, at The Connacht Hotel on Monday evening.
The Mayor of Galway, Councillor Padraig Conneely and FAI chief executive officer John Delaney, were among the guests as new manager Tommy Dunne was introduced to Galway football followers.
Galway FC, made up of a nine-member board of directors representing the Galway & District League, Mervue United, Salthill Devon, and Galway United Supporters’ Trust, is now busy preparing for the domestic season which commences in March.
Delaney always felt a single Galway team would be achieved, acknowledging the generous financial assistance of the Comer Brothers, who will be the club sponsor. “I was always confident a resolution would be found in Galway,” Delaney said.
“I always knew this would happen. There were many tough nights, there is no doubt about that, but getting the Comers involved was key.”
Patience was necessary to make this dream a reality, according to Delaney. “There was no point starting this a year ago and failing. It is going to work now. There is a strong financial model in place.
“The four stakeholders understand how they are going to work together. There is an energy here in Galway, you can feel it. There is a positivity and I haven't seen it as strong in Galway for decades. This a new era and it is exciting, especially considering they have a good manager in place.”
Dunne, who guided Cork City to promotion in 2011, has endured a hectic start to life as Galway FC's chief, meeting players who featured for Mervue and Salthill in recent campaigns. “It has been a really busy week since I came in. I've been trying to establish a possible squad that will be around up until the end of pre-season. Then we might try to whittle it down a little bit more,” Dunne said.
“I intend to contact around 30 players. I want to get them in and get them on off-season programmes so that we can tick that box. I am not saying all 30 players will be in the group come the start of the season, but we have to get them in to put them on those programmes. They are probably a week or two behind other clubs so we have to implement that as quickly as we can.
“Then I suppose it is a case of looking at backroom staff and other things in general. Mid January we plan to be back and ready to go.”
The response of the players Dunne has met so far has been encouraging. “Those who I have spoken to all seem to want to come on board. I think they know that it is an exciting time for Galway football,” Dunne revealed.
“Most of those who I have talked to were with Mervue and Salthill. Galway for me was famous when I was playing coming down to play Galway United. The Galway name is always going to excite people. We just have to try to get moving and be competitive. These lads are very excited about it.”
Now that Galway FC have signalled their intentions to become a viable club in the west, Dunne feels he can make an impact on the banks of the Corrib. “This is a project. Since leaving Cork there were a few offers floating around for me.
“I was mentioned for a couple of things, but the only place I put a CV in was here. I felt that I could do something. This is a type of project I felt I could do. I have done it before with Cork and I enjoyed it. If I can do the same again it will be great.”