Sometimes a feeling abounds that Galway does not punch the weight it should, that there is something amiss, divisive, unhealthy even, that eats at the heart of every concerted effort to make this city better. It is not a begrudgery. It is something more than that. A sort of reticence in the drive to improve things, to make Galway a city like all the others. There are many reasons for this. There are many objections to key infrastructural advancements, but this in itself is not solely a bad thing. It is an opinionated city, though often the balance of opinion lies with those who pose an alternative view, based on the perception of the world, rather than on how it is viewed or needed locally.
The City of Culture bid is something that is seeing different strands being brought together, willingly and not reluctantly as such things have been done in the past, and tomorrow night there will be evidence of another such success story, when Galway FC take to the snooker table-like pitch at Eamonn Deacy Park and try to write their places into the annals of Galway sporting history.
Out of respect to their opponents UCD, there is still a big job to be done in the second leg play off and Tommy Dunne and his coaches and players will be well aware of the maxim that there’s many a slip twixt the cup and lip, but they must be in with a great chance of putting senior Galway football back into the Premier Division for the first time in ages.
Two years ago, the prospect of all the various factions in football in the city and county coming together to support, construct, and administer one united team was unthinkable because such an event required a lot of compromise, a lot of negotiation, a lot of financial backing, as well as having to convince the Galway footballing supporters that they could create a team that would be competitive once again.
That has all been achieved, through the decision of the various parties to do their bit and administered by selfless individuals such as Bernie O’Connell and his fellow officers, and funded by the generous backing of the Comer brothers, two of Galway’s many emigrants who went abroad, worked hard, and although still humble in their achievements, are now reaping the rewards for being shrewd and thorough in business.
They gave the money that allowed Galway FC to be able to breathe in its first year; that the threat of running out of cash would not be a constraint, and that such an investment illustrated that there were people willing to commit to Galway football through their pockets, just as so many others had done so in the past to keep senior football in Galway.
And so to tomorrow night — At 7.45pm, the lights at the Dyke Road will shine on Galway FC as they bid to close the deal, to get the draw or win that will see them promoted at the first attempt. For those who have not been fortunate enough to see, Galway FC have an impressive young team, made up of locals and imports, who are playing an expansive and rewarding brand of football, the likes of which Galway Rovers and Galway United fans have been accustomed to over the years.
Tomorrow night, the spirit of Eamonn Deacy, Miko Nolan, Tommy Keane, and all the other greats who have passed on, will be over the pitch, willing on the next generation of footballers to represent Galway and the west in what is traditionally known as the League of Ireland.
This team deserves your support - bring along your family, your children, and let them sample what a delight Friday night football truly is. Let them be excited by sport and the possibilities it brings.
The very best of luck to Galway FC. Finish the job lads. We are all behind you