Welcome to The Fans’ View, a piece I will be posting installments in monthly (on the first Sunday of every month) interviewing the fans. First up is…
Marc Ó’Goill- Oileáin Aráinn.
How did you first become interested in Galway United?
I first became interested in Galway United through my brother who introduced me to the LOI during Dundalk’s histotic European run. Beforehand I would have played as Galway United in FIFA 16 Career Mode. Overall, my interest in Galway United stems mainly from my brother’s interest.
I understand that you have a bit of a trek to make for every match, was is your average journey like?
The journey from the Aran Islands to Galway United games adds to the excitement for me on match days, it’s almost like an away day every week. I’ve been very fortunate with the weather this season. Normally my ferry would the island at 5PM on match-day. My ferry would last about 40 minutes and arrive in Rossaveel in Connemara, I then get a shuttle bus to Eyre Square from there – which would take about another 40 minutes. The bus usually arrives into Eyre Square at rougly 7PM and I then walk out the Dyke Road for the match.
What is the general support level for United like on the island?
The general support in Galway United on Inis Mór isn’t very good at all because Galway United never really made it out to Inis Mór in terms of interest. I would consider myself the only Galway United fan on Inis Mór at the moment. The islanders are beginning to take interest in Galway United after seeing me travel to watch them as often as I can. The interest will build as time goes by!
What do you think of the match day experience and atmosphere in Terryland?
I think the match day experience in Eamonn Deacy Park is great, it is hailed as one of the best away days in the League of Ireland which makes me proud to call it our home ground. It is a very friendly ground, there is good food to eat there, the home and away stands are very good quality, and have a large capacity. In high interest games the Galway United supporters really show their support for the club. The matchday experience in Eamonn Deacy Park overall is great in my opinion.
Favourite United player, past or present?
My favourite ever Galway United player would be Stephen Folan in my opinion. Our POTY last season and a local lad. He is a brilliant defender and a very nice guy. Stephen Folan was the player I would look for on the pitch last season and he was the player I would want to be like if I were to play professionally.
Best Young Player to keep an eye on?
It’s tough to pick an up-and-coming player to look out for, because there is a whole list I could make! However, one player that stands out to me is Galway United Under-17 player Colin Kelly- who got his first senior start for the club against Wexford FC. While United drew the game 1-1 Alan Murphy put out a very young team including three Under-17 players- Colin Kelly being one of them. He looked comfortable on the ball and fought for the ball too, but the highlight of that match for him in my opinion is when he stepped up to take a penalty. Unfortunately Wexford’s keeper dove the right way and saved Colin’s potential match winner, but many supporters (myself included) couldn’t help but praise his confidence in stepping up to take that penalty on his first senior start for the club. I think Colin should be immensely proud for stepping up to take that spot kick no matter if it was a goal or not.
Favourite away ground in Ireland?
I have only been on two away games as a Galway United fan, I traveled to Athlone to watch Athlone V Galway and I made the trip to Belfield to watch UCD V Galway. If I were to pick between Belfield and Lissywollen I would pick Belfield. This is because of the quality of the ground and the people we met in Belfield, they were lovely people and didn’t treat us unfairly as away support. If I were to pick my favourite away ground in general I would pick Turners Cross of Cork City, I see week in week out on social media the amazing atmosphere that is created in the Cross by the thousands of Cork City fans that travel weekly. I’ve heard many good things about the facilities and the away end in Turner’s Cross and I would love to visit one day.
Best away fans in Ireland?
The best away fans for me at the moment have to be the Bohs faithful. Bohemians are on fire at the moment and the away support has continued to get stronger and stronger as their form on the pitch gets stronger. At the time of writing Bohs are into the FAI Cup Semi Final after beating Derry City 3-1 in the Brandywell. The away support at that game and the fans with banners, flags, and a load of chants was unbelievable to see. It was nice to see Bohs win the game to see that support cheer on their team to potential glory in the FAI cup. In the FAI Cup Second Round in Eamonn Deacy Park against United, Bohs brought a double-decker Dublin Bus down to Galway, the away end in Eamonn Deacy Park was hopping in their 2-0 win over United.
Thoughts on the fiasco arising from the potential Saudi Arabian deal?
Looking back on the Saudi Arabian takeover, it seemed too good to be true. We were promised many things midway through the season during the takeover which attracted national coverage. The takeover was to go through after being voted in favour of by the Co-Op members until our potential owners bailed out on us it seems. However, the show must go on, and we will continue to be a fan owned club which is something Galway United fans should be proud of. We can only get better if the support is there for our Co-Op members in the club.
If you could sign one LOI player for United, who would it be and why?
If I could sign one LOI player I would choose Stephen O Donnell. The Dundalk captain, who is a former Galway United player and a Galwayman himself, is a brilliant player and captain who can dictate games and influence his team. He would be pivotal in any side. Stephen is a brilliant player and I would sign him any day given the chance at Galway.
Reflection on the past season?
I think everybody will agree that the past season has been disappointing. Many United fans at the start of the season (myself included) would have expected Galway to bounce back up out of the First Division into the Premier Division, with the First Division title to our name. At worst I would have expected United to finish 3rd in the table come the end of the season. But I don’t think anybody was expecting United to finish 6th place and to be staying in the First Division for next season. It has been disappointing to say the least.
Hopes and Predictions for the coming season?
For next season I am hoping for United to achieve a lot more than we have this season, I am hoping Galway will be title contenders next season and I’m hoping to see many goals scored for United and many wins next season so that we will be a Premier Division club come 2019/2020!