What’s Next for Women’s Senior Football in Galway?

Galway Women’s Football Club have decided not to apply for inclusion in the 2023 SSE Airtricity Women’s National League.

The disappointing news was made by the club’s board. Which includes Stephen Moran, who acts as the Chairman, Operations Director and Founder of Galway WFC.

In an official statement, Moran said, “The Board of Galway WFC have reluctantly decided not to apply for inclusion in next season’s SSE Airtricity Women’s National League.”

“Since being formed in 2012 Galway WFC has helped to continue with the development of more than 30 Republic of Ireland underage internationals with several from our club also featuring at Senior level.”

Galway WFC

Galway Women’s FC have been a regular fixture in the Women’s National League since entering ahead of the 2013/14 campaign.

Over the past several years, they’ve settled into a comfortable mid-table side.

Despite this, they’ve been a dependable supplier of talent to underage international squads. With Galway WFC’s under-17 and under-19 sides excelling in their league and cup competitions in recent seasons.

Current player, Savannah McCarthy was also vital in the early stages of Ireland’s 2023 World Cup qualification run, before succumbing to a nasty cruciate ligament injury back in March.

While Galway is predominantly a GAA county, the importance of senior women’s football to the region can’t be underestimated.

The positive leaps in Irish women’s football are evident to see both on, and off the pitch at a national and domestic level.

However, the news of Galway WFC dropping out of the league for financial reasons could be a real backwards step for women’s football in the West of Ireland.

Women’s Football In Galway

The Galway Ladies League has some fantastic sides. With the likes of Salthill Devon, Galway Bohemians, Colga FC and NUI Galway using Galway WFC as a natural pathway into the Women’s National League.

Even before Galway Women’s FC, a team representing the Galway Ladies League were entered into the FAI Cup. With the likes of the Mayo Ladies League doing the same thing throughout the 2000’s.

Galway went as far as winning the FAI Women’s Cup in 2007. Beating Raheny United 1-0 in the final at Dalymount Park.

As a result, the squad qualified for the 2008/09 UEFA Women’s Cup. With the team travelling to Bosnia and Herzegovina for a mini-tournament against Zurich, Universitet Vitebsk of Belarus and home-nation side, SFK Sarajevo.

That squad included current Galway WFC player Julie-Ann Russell and Méabh De Búrca who have over 100 senior Republic of Ireland caps between them.

Along with current Liverpool star Niamh Fahey, who has been capped 104 times for Ireland, and has won the FA Women’s Super League three times with Arsenal.

This was a real bright period for women’s football in Galway. And now they’ll be without an elite team going forward.

The grassroots leagues around the area will continue as always. But, the loss of Galway WFC is extremely sad for those connected with the club.

Women’s National League

Unfortunately, just like the League of Ireland, this isn’t an isolated incident. With the likes of Shamrock Rovers, Limerick, and Castlebar Celtic just some of the sides to withdraw from the league for various reasons.

Once again, showing the precarious nature of our domestic game in Ireland. As clubs struggle to survive the daily cost of running a feasible top-flight football team.

Especially, as the Women’s National League looks to move into a semi-professional model

What’s Next For Galway?

Could we see a team from Galway return to the Women’s National League? Well, hopefully.

For the third largest city in the country, with an active footballing system, it badly needs one.

Galway United are apparently in talks with the FAI to bring a senior women’s team under their umbrella.

The men’s team are looking like serious contenders for a return to the Premier Division via the play-offs. They have a full-time structure and continuous financial backing by billionaire brothers, Brian and Luke Comer.

From the outside looking in, it seems to be the most sensible and viable option. If done quickly, they could bring the current players and staff at Galway WFC on-board.

While they currently can’t compete with the likes of Shelbourne, Peamount and Wexford Youths, the current Galway WFC squad is packed with exciting young talent. Chloe Singleton, Jenna Slattery and Shauna Brennan could all make an excellent career for themselves.

Away from that, if a women’s team merged with Galway United as one entity, and continued their strong bond with the Galway Ladies League, they could continue to progress the women’s game in the West of Ireland.

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