Galway's Mervue United earn FAI Club Mark
A little over 60 years ago a small group of residents sat around a table in Hyacinth Darcy's house at McDonagh Avenue and set about forming a soccer club for the youth of the then small suburb on the east side of Galway city.
Among those that were present at the memorable meeting were Willie Kilkelly, Frank Kelly, Joe Flaherty, Hyacinth Darcy, Terry McSweeney, Jimmy O'Connor, Tom Darcy and Pat Sullivan - along with the then juvenile players Jackie Keane and Declan McDonnell.
As with all clubs around Galway in the Sixties, there were constant problems accommodating the many teams which were fielded each weekend. The situation for Mervue was no different, first operating out of a corner of the Redemptionist grounds. One of the earlier games was played into a goalmouth made up of two trees which were the exact distance apart. With the assistance of Fr Jack O'Connor, the club made representations to Galway Corporation who gave permission to play on part of the old SPS factory (Old Crown) on the Monivea Road. This arrangement also saw the club share facilities with the newly formed Mervue Athletic Club. With the help of Mick Halpin, who gave them the use of his garage the club got serious, the result being some new and advanced training practices, togging out twice a week
The club is based behind the Walter Macken Flats now, and they have the use of five grass pitches and a full size 3G Astro-pitch with two of them floodlit. Having invested €1.7 million of club monies and €2 million of sports grants into their facility, Mervue United Regional centre is one of the best in the country.
Mervue won their first cup in 1964 (U13 Murphy Cup), since then the club didn’t look back. In the 2019 season the club won an astonishing 29 cups, the club's most successful year ever. They have won U12, U13, U14, U16, U17 and U18 Irish titles over the years. The club currently has 700 members.
Mervue United had a lot of very talented players over the years including Donnie Farragher, Tommy Walsh, Noel Mc Donnell, Gary Bailey and Andrew Connolly, who all represented Mervue on the Irish Junior team. Three current Irish International players Greg Cunningham, Ryan Manning and Aaron Connolly all came through the club, along with Seamus Conneely and Joe and Connor Shaughnessy who are all playing in England.
Mervue United also have many girls’ teams at all age groups that have grown from strength to strength in the past few years and in the past few seasons have competed very well at local, Connacht and FAI level. Whith Ann Regan (the FAI Noel O’Reilly Coach of the Year in 2019) the driving force behind the girl’s section it recently had Isabel Fitzpatrick and Rola Olusola who represented Ireland on U15 Irish team.
A special mention must be made to Billy Carr, Mike Shaughnessy and Declan Mc Donnell whose tremendous work and ambition over the years has helped shaped the club into what it is today.
The club would like to thank the Galway FA, Connacht FA, FAI, Pobal, Galway City Council and main sponsors Trappers Inn, Huntsman Inn, Supermac’s, Seapoint Leisure, Mor Oil and Connacht Hotel and to all the business and lotto sellers and buyers that supported them over the years.
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