Building on the strong tradition of Mayomen impressing in maroon is one of Galway FC's aims and the early capture of Ballyglass native Ryan Connolly ensures there will be local interest in how the Tribesmen fare.
Connolly, who turned 22 last Monday, had a spell cross channel making one first team appearance with Derby County before returning to earn a League of Ireland Premier Division medal with Sligo Rovers in 2012. Last season Connolly went on loan to Longford Town, and Galway FC beat off competition to sign the midfielder.
Galway FC manager Tommy Dunne now wants to continue attracting players from the western region. "It is a good statement for us because we want to attract players from the region to the club and getting somebody with Ryan's quality shows what we are about,” Dunne said.
“Ryan did reasonably well with Sligo Rovers when he came home from Derby. He might not have got as much time as he would have liked in his preferred central midfield role. When he went on loan to Longford, though, he got the chance to play there more often and did very well."
That is where Connolly will operate for Galway FC. "My best position is in the centre of midfield. A lot of managers put me on the left because I am left footed, but I have been signed as a central midfielder and that is where I feel I can contribute best for the team,” Connolly explains.
"When you look at the players that have already signed and with the addition of a few more there is no reason why we cannot enjoy a good year."
Mayo footballers made an impact in the Galway United shirt previously, most notably Ballinrobe's Alan Murphy who was the second highest scorer in the club's history. Murphy, a Mayo senior panelist last year, is expected to be involved in a player/coach role with Galway FC. Kiltimagh's Sean Malee also enjoyed productive moments Corribside, while several others have forged decent careers too, with Castlebar's Tom King a key figure for Galway and Mervue United so Connolly is adamant that talent exists in the west of Ireland. “There definitely are a lot of good players in this part of the country and Galway FC will give them a chance to play at a high level. That happened before with Galway United. Looking at it there are only two teams in this area of the country, Galway FC and Sligo Rovers, so I think any young lad should want to play for them.
Connolly is ready, willing, and able to maintain Mayo's links with Eamonn Deacy Park. “To play in the League of Ireland is a decent standard and it is what lads around the west should want to do. For me I am just looking forward to playing for Galway FC. I had a stint with Sligo Rovers, it probably didn't go exactly the way I wanted it to go, but I am very happy to sign for Galway FC and I want to do well there.”