Club Mark awarded to West Coast United

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Club Mark awarded to West Coast United

Letterfrack's West Coast United are the latest club to achieve the FAI Club Mark.
16th Dec 2021

West Coast United FC was formed in 1984 at a meeting in the Bards Den Bar and Restaurant in Letterfrack. The establishment went on to become the became the clubs first kit sponsor.

The founding Committee were Daniel Flaherty Snr., Terry Mullen, Brendan Mullen (RIP), Johnny Kane, Gerry Salmon and James Summervile.

While there was no fully organised football in West Connemara in 1984 there were many local Parish leagues, 7 a-sides and indoor competitions and the fact that there were no other clubs within a 40 miles radius of West Coash United made the task more daunting. 

The club played their first friendly vs Fahy Rovers from Westport, Co Mayo. Johnny Kane scored West Coast’s first goal in a 1-1 draw. The first competitive game ended in a 3-1 defeat to Kiltullagh Pioneers with JJ Murphy holding the record for the clubs first competitive goal.

West Coast United now has a permanent base in Letterfrack, Co Galway as part of a community sports development area led by Connemara West Ltd. The facility includes a top-class sand-based playing pitch, a 65m x 35m floodlit all-weather training pitch, a newly completed Clubhouse with changing rooms, canteen, meeting room and a state of the art gymnasium.

Over the years West Coast Utd used pitches in Renvyle, Ballyconneely, Connemara RFC, and Tullycross and will forever be grateful to groups and committees who gladly shared their facilities with the club.

When West Coast United were formed in 1984 the prime objective was to play organised competitive football. Given the clubs geographical location and lack of transport at the time, fielding a side and completing a full season was quite a success in itself. It soon became obvious that the talent in the catchment area was capable of competing with any club in county or province. 

Originally West Coast Utd consisted of just one adult team but by 1990 a "B" side was added. With growing numbers joining and training sessions improving, success in competitions was inevitable.

The club captured  the Second Division Cup in 1994, their first County title, defeating Athenry 2-0 in a replay following a 3-3 draw. West Coast United completed a League and Cup double in 1996/97 and were competing in Division 1 for the first time.

A great squad was torn apart by emigration with many members moving to Britain, USA or Australia in search of work. By 2000 a gradual move towards underage football was apparent but it would be a few years until a proper system would be in place. The 00s was mostly about putting structures in place with the club enrolling coaches on FAI courses, introducing FAI Summer Soccer Schools and further integration into local schools.

Success followed with numerous underage titles and many great Cup wins in Eamon Deacy Park in Galway. For many, the Senior side capturing the Jack Lillas Cup in 2011 is a real highlight after losing three finals previously.

West Coast United currently has approximately 250 playing members from adults down to Academy level. West Coast Utd teams compete in the Galway Football League and Connacht Football competitions. The senior squad is an established Division 1 outfit and has ambitions to finally make Premier Level in the coming years.

The West Coast Utd Academy was launched in 2013 and has been a huge success. The officially launch took place in 2016 by Martin O’Hanlon - Secretary of the SFAI, Joe Keating - Chairman  of Galway Football Association, PJ Walsh - Galway Football Association and Galway United players Padraig Cunningham and Conor Winn.

In 2021 the Academy has over 100 players- boys and girls aged 5 to 11. The club are also the main organisers of the West Connemara Primary Schools Soccer Championships which runs every June in association with the FAI, Gannon’s Intersport-Elverys Clifden and INTO.

The club also runs its own Summer Camp, bringing in guest coaches and working closely with the Galway United Football Academy led by Johnny Glynn.

In 2019, West Coast United added an over 40s and recreational football for teenagers to their schedule which have been successful in adding to community development. 

The club remains very much at the heart of the community and are dedicated to providing football to everyone in West Connemara. West Coast United players have represented Galway at underage level and with Galway United in the League of Ireland.

To aid players development as both individuals and footballers, the club has undertaken many  trips including to England, France, Spain and to the Gothia Cup in Sweden in 2016. The club also has a regular presence at the Aviva Stadium to support the boys in green.

The FAI Club Mark is free and optional for clubs and aims to:

  • Improve the management of clubs ‘off the field’
  • Establish and promote best practice
  • Empower and support clubs
  • Recognise and reward clubs for achieving high standards
  • Increase a club’s capacity to operate effectively and grow football in communities throughout Ireland.

If your club is interested in learning more about the FAI Club Mark please complete this short Registration Form.