Long-held dream comes true for Galway women

Lynsey McKey had barely hoisted the Avenir Sports All-Island Cup when manager Phil Trill beckoned her and his squad to celebrate with the fans who had travelled from Galway to be a part of history.

Those moments in the Showgrounds will live long in the memory of the United faithful - some of whom have been travelling the country for some 30 years and had never witnessed United lifting a national trophy.

The scenes can be seen as the culmination of a dream that has lingered long in the collective imagination since Stephen Moran first brought Women’s National League football to Eamonn Deacy Park in 2013.

As special as the celebrations were, the atmosphere in the Showgrounds was electric throughout. The Maroon Army never stopped singing and standing up for the Galway women, willing them over the line.

That Gemma McGuinness, Eve Dossen, Jamie Erickson and their teammates were serenaded with their own songs by the travelling support was an indication of the club's evolution in the women's game. It also spoke to the bond being created, encapsulated when the cup was passed to supporter Cameron Loughnane who hoisted it with pride in the stand.

Chairman Jonathan Corbett gushed with pride when recounting those special minutes in the Showgrounds.

"It meant so much to everybody. We were all dripping with tears. I was at the 1991 cup final, and this meant more to me because you are involved. We know this management team so well because we have had to make sure everything was right for the first season.

"We are down at training with them setting up the lights and making sure there are goals there because it is all so new. We want to mind them because for lots of them it is their first experience of senior football," he says.

"There is great leadership and professionalism but let's be honest there is no money in the women's game at the moment. They have work, college, football. All of this is based around their life."

He says while billion-euro transfers are being thrashed out in one part of the world, on Galway's doorstep there are players who "juggle work, college, families to travel to training and matches to represent their communities and to be the best they can be".

Corbett says the coaches led by Phil Trill deserve praise.

"His record speaks for itself. This win did not emerge from a vacuum. Its foundations were in the brave brand on football they have played all season and in the confidence he has instilled in this group.

"This would not have been possible without the support of the Comers," he says - the sponsors who have ensured United's fundamental ability to field a women’s team.

 

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