Galway United giving local fans plenty of reasons for hope

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Times appear to be finally changing for the better at Galway United. The modest but historic Irish football club which now seems to be rising from the ashes, overcoming years of economic hardships and sporting frustrations, brings a sense of renewed hope for soccer fans throughout the city and county.

Performances during the 2023 season bring hope that at long last, fans who attend games can look forward to a brighter and far more positive future. The Tribesmen have been enjoying a wonderful campaign, supporters have been in full voice at Eamonn Deacy Park, sensing that something special is just around the corner for their club.

Almost perfect 2023 campaign

Having now passed beyond the midway point of the 2023 season, results in the League of Ireland First Division couldn’t be any better for Galway United, who now boasts what seems to be an unassailable lead at the top of the table. The team led by manager John Caulfield has won 15 of their 16 matches played, losing just once with a 1-0 defeat at Longford Town.

While that result marked the end of a spectacular winning streak lasting 11 matches, the team quickly brushed the solitary loss aside, embarking upon another excellent run. At the time of writing, Galway United are on another unbeaten run spanning 7 matches. They have only dropped points once, during a 1-1 draw at Bray Wanderers, finishing the game with 10 men on the pitch.

After bouncing back to winning ways by thrashing Finn Harps 6-0 at home, then cruising to a comfortable 2-0 away victory at Wexford, the path ahead marks a clear objective for the team. Galway United are currently outright favourites to win the First Division title with Betway, thanks to their 12-point lead at the top of the table, confidently occupying the top spot and the only way to achieve automatic promotion.

Challenging times in Galway

Should they meet expectations once the 2023 season concludes, Galway United will have finally reached their objective of returning to the top tier, having now spent the last 6 campaigns outside the League of Ireland Premier Division. For such a proud club and their loyal supporters, it could finally mark the turning point following more than a decade of economic struggles.

Following relegation from the Premier Division in 2011, Galway United essentially dropped from the League of Ireland completely, leaving Mervue United and Salthill Devon as the only senior clubs remaining in Galway. They both finished the 2012 season occupying the bottom positions of the First Division, much to the dismay of local football fans. But in the meantime, plans were afoot within the FAI that would restore footballing pride to the region.

Mervue United briefly flirted with the promotion in 2013, although Salthill Devon finished bottom. Ahead of the 2014 season, the FAI commissioned a report, recommending the city and county of Galway be represented by one team. This led to Mervue United and Salthill Devon withdrawing from the League of Ireland, replaced by Galway F.C. in the First Division.

United back in business

The first campaign for Galway F.C. in 2014 couldn’t have gone any better. The team finished 3rd in the First Division, then earned promotion to the Premier Division, beating Shelbourne and then UCD in the playoffs. This also marked an auspicious return to the top tier of Irish football, as the club once again became known as Galway United, recovering both the competitive name and its historic legacy.

But the struggle for survival was far from over. Galway United remained afloat in the 2015 and 2016 campaigns, before suffering relegation from the Premier Division in 2017. Since the 2018 season, the club has not only battled to remain afloat economically but also sought to compete well in the First Division.

After the mid-table finishes of 2018 and 2019, three unsuccessful bids for promotion followed in 2020, 2021, and 2022. On each occasion, attempts ultimately fell short in the First Division play-off final, missing out on the opportunity to compete in the promotion/relegation play-off stage. Nevertheless, providing they can keep things on track in 2023, Galway United could seal direct promotion, thus avoiding the lottery of the playoffs entirely.

Galway United on the rise again

The promise of continued success has even promoted a mid-season campaign, aiming at attract more season ticket holders, as the club looks to build upon the current euphoria surrounding excellent results.

 

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