Moran family making a vital contribution to Galway football

Stephen Moran has been an instrumental figure in the development of women's sport

It all started in the old Lisheen Bar: that is how League of Ireland football eventually came to Galway in the 1970s.

“It was all luck that Galway Rovers went into the League of Ireland really, [Séamus] O'Brien from Athlone was in the FAI that time, he went to the Lisheen, he was approaching Bohs, asking would they be interested,” explains Stephen Moran, who has made a rich contribution to the game in the west.

“Bohs had a very strong team then as well as Rovers. They said they wouldn't. We were just lucky that Paddy O'Connell, a committee member that time, was there. Paddy really started it off, he called back to my father and said ‘Martin this is an opportunity’. I was there. Paddy said we would have to jump at this.

The two of them sat down, they went through it, they put it to the committee. I think the right two were there - my father as chairman and Paddy pushing it to get the rest of the committee onboard. As you can see they did.”

Valuable lessons were learned with Stephen Moran part of a group that subsequently brought Women’s National League football to Eamonn Deacy Park in 2013. Moran had watched the Rovers story unfold.

“Myself, I knew what was required in the League of Ireland, and I was only a young age myself that time - it is professional, an amateur club wouldn't run it and it proved a year or two later when they had to bring in business people to run it,” Moran recalls.

“At least they started it, got it up and running, my father, I will never forget.”

People worked tremendously hard to get Terryland Park, as it was then, ready to host matches. “Terryland was up to two feet of grass, the pitch was terrible, they knew that,” he says. “I think they got 20 to 30 volunteers, within two weeks they turned it around.

“They had the dressing rooms built over the far side, they had everything gravelled. All the companies, I was driving him because my father didn't drive.

“He was going to companies, coming out with a smile on his face, he got chippings for free, cement for free, that is how they did it. Everything was got for free.”

Such an ability to be resourceful and resilient counted for a lot. The Moran house hosted Galway Rovers gatherings during an exciting time for sport.

“I remember when Galway Rovers were doing up the house on the hill, as we used to call it, Dominican House in Fairhill, they were doing it up for dressing rooms and changing rooms; so the meetings were always back in the house,” Moran says.

A few decades later Moran was a central figure in ensuring women’s senior football had a representative team from Galway.

“Myself and Kieran O'Mahony sat down in 2012, I think we had our first meeting in November 2012,” Moran says. “We got about 30 at our first meeting, our first committee I think we had 12 on it. So the appetite was there.

“That year we had a budget of €18,000. We won't get change this year out of €140,000, that is where it is going to.”

To illustrate Galway WFC’s desire to improve, Ruth Fahy has been appointed as chief executive officer which encourages Moran.

“In order to be able to put in that money we need a professional person, a CEO that can go out, talk to businesses, get sponsorship, bring it all in, but also streamline our business so we are not leaking money where we shouldn't be."

**Listen to the full interview with Stephen Moran on this week’s ‘Cian on Sport’ podcast available on Soundcloud, Spotify, and Apple podcasts.


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