Collins making an impact with Devon

Salthill Devon clash with Mervue United in the FAI Junior Cup fifth round

Establishing Salthill Devon as a serious force in the junior game is Victor Collins’ objective.

Footballers have always been crafted by the club, but success and silverware is now what Collins wants to achieve.

The 2020 Connacht Junior Cup triumph illustrated Salthill’s potential. Salthill currently top the Galway FA premier division table with Athenry and Mervue United also involved in the title race.

Sunday’s FAI Junior Cup fifth round clash with cross town rivals Mervue at Drom is an eagerly anticipated fixture. “We cannot wait to play Mervue, we have a great deal of respect for Mervue and for every other club in Galway,” Collins says.

“It is a bit disappointing to be playing Mervue in the FAI Cup, we were hoping to play someone else. Obviously you want the best three teams out of Galway to get as far as possible. We will be ready for that match.”

Collins, who initially moved to the west of Ireland just over a decade ago, believes progress is being made. “I think Galway football is maybe the second best in the country,” Collins replies.

“Athenry are an unbelievable team, Mervue are an unbelievable team, West too. The football has improved every year. Each year a new season starts, new teams, new signings - everybody is trying to improve as much as possible. It even shows in the Connacht Cup with the Galway teams still in it. Galway football has improved and it is improving every single year.”

Adamant about Salthill’s ability Collins is eager to continuously improve standards. “I think I have changed the whole mentality of the senior team,” he says. “I'm very strict, I'm very demanding. Some players can take the pressure, some players can't. If they can't that means they have to move on, but over the last three years we come from a bang on average club to one of the best in Galway.”

Assisted by Keith O’Shaughnessy, Collins, who played for the club in the League of Ireland, has enjoyed a productive stint as manager.

“We can only do so much, we can only bring the players up to the line,” Collins adds. “It is up to them to step up then to do everything we tell them to. So we are trying to do the best we can. The players are obviously trying to do the best they can to get points on the table.

“Every single week we have to make tough decisions as managers. We cannot really please every single player, but some players understand, it is always the best players and fittest players that come to training. I'm very strict - it is all about discipline.

“Playing in Germany for so many years that is the one thing I have learned - discipline is key. No players are coming late to training. Salthill is moving forward, I will put it that way. Obviously we want the best players playing with the team.”

So how did Collins opt for Salthill in 2010? “It was all because of Vinny Faherty to be honest,” he laughs. “At that stage I was with St Patrick's Athletic. Vinny suggested that he knew a great club, with a great set-up, with great facilities in Galway and would I be interested? I said of course, I came to Salthill, they were in the League of Ireland. That is how I came to Galway.”

A dozen years later Collins remains passionate about football with Salthill. Another revealing test awaits when Mervue visit Drom with a place in the last 16 of the FAI Junior Cup the considerable prize.

**Listen to the full interview with Salthill Devon manager Victor Collins on this week’s ‘Cian on Sport’ podcast available on Soundcloud, Spotify, and Apple Podcasts.


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