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Galway Independent

Talking History

Galway Hibernians AFC 1942

Wednesday, 15th May, 2013 4:00am

Galway Hibernians have had many historic moments over the years, but, like all clubs, it is the people involved who contribute to the history and success of a club.

Many of them have been mentioned in the previous Hibs chapters, others include John Glynn, who was chairman for many years and gave outstanding service to the club. Seiín Kelly was always available with his car to transport players. It is believed that Seiín could accommodate a full team and subs in the car. Seiín's sons Michael and Anthony graced the pitches of Galway for Hibs. Ann Tierney would not miss a match and her support was outstanding and is well appreciated by the club. Pete Laffey was another stalwart of the club, giving years of sterling service. Pete's four sons, Jimmy, Peter, Michael and Christopher, were all exceptional players. Three of the club's great goalkeepers of the past were Eamonn Walsh, John Cloherty and Padraic Doherty.

The club attracted some of the big names in soccer from outside that area also. In 1998, the former Galway United star, Kevin Cassidy joined Galway Hibernians as coach. The following year, Kevin took over as manager, bringing with him his vast knowledge and experience from the League of Ireland. Kevin had been the recipient of Galway Soccer Sports Star of the Year Award in 1983.

Other members of Hibs who played League of Ireland football included Joe Keating, Ger Flaherty, Billy Cleary, Mike Quirk, David Forde, Derek Lally and Mark Gobey, who also had a spell with Hull. Two of the club's juvenile players, Tony Folan and Ryan Casey, went on to play in the Nationwide League for Brentford and Swansea City respectively. Ryan also won a European Under-18 Champions Medal with Ireland in 1998. Mark Philbin, their stalwart goalkeeper, was part of the Galway Town selection to play in the final of the Oscar Traynor Memorial Cup at Terryland Park in 2000. The chairman during those years was the late Brian McGlynn. Both Brian and his wife, May, now also deceased, must be acknowledged for the Trojan work they did for the club over the years. After Brian took the 'helm', with the support of Martin Conneely, David Burke and Anthony Kelly, the club went from strength to strength. The weekly lottery draw was introduced. Friday Night was not the same if Martin did not appear in the local ale-houses, 'entertaining the troops' during his rounds while at the same time ensuring that there were no escapees as he handed out Lotto books.

Most successful clubs have a juvenile section, and encouraging and coaching at this level is vital to the club's survival. As mentioned previously, Hibs had a small catchment area and, as the years went by, the youths grew to manhood, thus this section suffered. It became extremely important to find youngsters from other areas to play with the club. The problem was solved in a most unlikely manner.

In 1993, Tirellan Rangers juvenile soccer club was founded by Paddy Connolly and Seiín Gibbons. They entered the Galway juvenile league two years later. Another team, St Francis, was also formed in the same area by Peter Roland and Tom Cuffe. In 1997, both teams amalgamated to form Foyle Rovers. After matches, the youngsters were treated to tea and home-made buns at Paddy Connolly's house, where his wife, Bridie would always have them ready for the hungry players.

The men put in a great effort to keep the club going, but over time, the coaching and management was reduced to Paddy alone. He kept it going, but it was difficult, between marking pitches, driving the children to and from matches, ensuring they had a clean kit, training and all the other requirements needed to ensure the club survived. Over time, he became unsure of the future of the club, but a chance meeting with the late Brian McGlynn changed everything. The two men agreed to meet for a cup of coffee and discuss the situation. Hibernians were in need of a strong juvenile section and Paddy needed a strong club with coaches and a senior section. Brian and Paddy came to an agreement: Foyle Rovers would amalgamate with Hibernians and the juvenile section became Foyle Hibs.

On 23 November 2001, the club launched the new season in style, with a new Black & White kit, under the sponsorship of 'Rocca Tiles'. This event took place in Nellie Burke's Bar, Bohermore, where the amalgamation of Galway Hibernians juvenile section with Foile Rovers was also announced. This merger of youths proved successful under the guidance of Paddy Connoly, Pat 'Murt' Fahy, Robert Fitzgerald and Gerry McDermott. Seiín McGlynn represented his father on the night and made the announcements. He also thanked Karl Rocca and all the Galway Hibernians sponsors - Nelly Burke's, Crowe's, Tonery's, Paddy Fahy, The Western, Johnny Walsh Fuel Supplies, Data Print and Tommy Barrett - and the committee members for their support. Paddy Connolly is extremely grateful to the men who helped him in those early years and believes that without them the Tirellan clubs would not have survived as long as they did.

The dedication of Brian McGlynn and this hard working committee and of course club members was evident, with plans to build a new clubhouse emerging during 2002. Also during that year Hibernians launched their web-site, Under the guidance of Brian McGlynn, the club set out a three phase development plan. Phase one was the drainage of the playing pitch, which was carried out in 2002. Phase two was the development of the all weather training facility, which was completed in 2006. The third phase of the club's plan is the new dressing room facilities. The official opening of the new dressing room facilities at Bohermore is planned for this Saturday, 18 May at 2pm. This will be another major milestone in the history of this great club.

It is a testament to the resilience, endurance, persistence and dedication of the hard working committee to complete this mammoth task during the worst recessions to hit this country in modern times. Great credit must go to the following for their outstanding work: Tommy Barrett, Padraic Doherty (Treasurer) and Seiín McGlynn; and the committee led by Robert Healy (Chairman), Mike Cubbard (Secretary), Pat Scully, Esther Cummins, Ollie Crowe, Mike O'Connor, Cathy Killean, Jason Kelly, Dave Daly, Dave Daly (Sr.), Mike Barrett and Kenneth Talbot.

Events of note: Between 25 May and 2 June, Shantalla will be celebrating its 70th anniversary as an estate and also 170 years since Daniel O'Connell held his historic 'Monster Meeting' there. As part of the celebration, we will be publishing a series of articles on the history of the area. It will cover the Sliding Rock, O'Connell's speech, the quarry and the foundation of the estate. If anyone has any stories or photographs, we would be delighted to use them. Phone O86-870 7405.


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