Light at the end of the tunnel for Galway United in training ground dispute

Article by Kieran Burke - @KieranBTS.

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Following on from months of disagreements and political turmoil in Galway, the counties League of Ireland representatives, Galway United may now finally have found a much needed solution to the clubs lack of available training facilities. 

For many seasons now United had been using Mervue United's Fahy Fields as the clubs main training base, however, a disagreement between the League of Ireland club and the junior side regarding youth players saw Fahy's Field become off-limits for Shane Keegan's "Tribesmen".  Of course, despite the most recent disagreement regarding youth players representing Galway being touted as the main reason behind the break down in co-operation between Galway and Mervue, the politics of Galway football has been a major stumbling block for United, who returned to the League of Ireland in 2013, following a financial meltdown. As a result, Salthill Devon and Mervue United relinquished their respective status as League of Ireland clubs in order for Galway to rejoin the First Division.    

Just last season, a year in which Galway United were of course relegated back to the second tier, controversy arose on numerous occasion regarding the Galway FA's apparent harsh treatment on the club they were a stakeholder in alongside Mervue and Salthill. Thankfully, over the course of the off-season Galway United were able to move away from that ownership model in order to set-up a fan owned co-op. 

Earlier today that very fans co-op announced they will host an EGM on March 27th to vote on a new training ground development. Posted on the official Galway United website was the following statement: 

It has long been recognised that a secure and stable training facility is key to the long term development and future of the club. An opportunity now exists for such a long term development and we wish to bring this opportunity to the members of the co-op for discussion and a decision.
We have been approached by the Ballybane Sports Community Development Partnership Trust to support and become a partner in its current development initiative. This initiative will involve a phased construction of a full size astroturf pitch, an indoor training facility, a number of other outdoor grass pitches and ancillary buildings/facilities. By being a key partner in this development, Galway United will finally have its own training facilities, which are now vital to the continued success of the Galway United Senior team and its associated underage structures.
The EGM will present plans for the development, the role Galway United will play in that development, and the impact on the future of the club to co-op members, and will consider any other implications that this may have on your club.

Speaking recently on Between the Stripes LOI podcast, Galway United manager, Shane Keegan revealed his side had not trained on a full sized pitch at all during pre-season as a result of the on-going situation in Galway. In fact, the possibility of having to train in nearby Athlone was muted by the former Wexford Youths boss. Those quotes in particular highlight the clear importance of this upcoming meeting and possible future development involving Galway United.