Galway United manager Tommy Dunne has secured the signature of current Player of the Year Ryan Connolly, who occupied a central role in Galway's promotion winning campaign and will act as vice captain in 2015.
"Ryan performed exceptionally well throughout the season,” Dunne said. “We're delighted he has committed, and we hope he can perform at a higher level again next year. It's a step up and everybody involved in the club knows we need to push on again. We're all looking forward to it.”
Ballyglass native Connolly, who made one senior appearance for Derby County, is delighted to remain with the Eamonn Deacy Park outfit. "As soon as the season ended, there was nowhere else I wanted to be. This year was all about getting the club promoted, once we got into our groove, we knew we had a good chance of going up. We proved we were well worth getting promoted in the play-offs.
“On a personal note, staying injury free was pleasing, I knew if I stayed injury free that I could play and luckily enough I got rewarded at the end of it. It's nice to have my contract done and dusted. In Irish football you might only get signed up a week before the start of the season and you could be training with different clubs.
"Next season I'm hoping for more of the same. Tommy Dunne has named me vice captain, an honour which I'm delighted to accept and I'm looking to stepping up to the mark. The aim next year will be to play week-in, week-out and to score more goals."
Connolly reckons Galway have the potential to do well in the top flight. "In 2015 we could do well considering how we did against some of the premier division teams this season. We played Dundalk and UCD in the Cup and did okay.
“We want to keep the bulk of our squad and build on it with a couple of experienced players. I can't see how any player wouldn't want to join Galway United, it's one of the best cities in Ireland and has the potential to be one of the best clubs in Ireland and I feel the only way is up for Galway United.”
Dunne has also attracted promising teenage defender Killian Cantwell to Galway for 2015. Cantwell impressed for Wexford Youths and Dunne feels the youngster can make further progress with a youthful Galway side. "Killian Cantwell is the type of young, hungry player we want to bring to the club,” Dunne says. “We feel that we can develop players and help them progress in their careers.
"We are assembling a good squad ahead of pre-season and I will be busy in the coming weeks getting players signed so they are ready for when we start again properly in January. I'd like to get more things done soon, we've a time frame so we can get the players signed and then we'll give them their off season programmes. We want to push on to be competitive, it's a new chapter with the club.”