JUST OVER 40 YEARS AGO a small group of Mervue residents sat around a table and set about forming a soccer club for the youth of the, then, small suburb on the east side of the City. Among those who were present at that memorable meeting were Willie Kilkelly, Frank Kelly, Joe Flaherty, Hyacinth d'Arcy - all of whom have since passed on to the great playing pitch in heaven -Terry McSweeney, Jimmy O'Connor, Tom d'Arcy, Pat Sullivan along with the then juvenile players Jackie Keane and Declan McDonnell. Former Club Chairman Colie Smyth, decs'd, who gave his all for the City underage structure and John Murphy were to come on the scene some time later. Indeed, of all the founding members present on that momentous occasion Declan McDonnell is the only remaining member to have given continuous service to Mervue A.F.C. as a player and official over that period-his tenure as Chairman of the now highly regarded club which fields anything up to 18 teams over all grades was marked by the Club securing it's very own clubhouse and later innovations. While Rovers and Bohemians were the traditional kingpins of Galway soccer, Mervue A.F.C. did, however, reach the final of the Schweppes Cup in their very first year only to go down to Bohs on a scoreline of 7-2. Undaunted by this rout, they continued to press ahead with their ambitions until they were finally rewarded in 1965 with an U.13 Murphy Cup win which they repeated in an historic three-in-a--row. Just one year later, 1966, saw the Junior team achieve their first success in capturing the Schweppes Cup - a famous victory which featured club stalwarts such as Pat Sullivan, Paddy Flanagan, Terry McSweeney, Willie Kilkelly, Christy O'Connor, Paddy Beatty and Mick Halpin among others.
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 Redemptorist grounds-one of their earlier experiences was of playing into a goalmouth consisting of two trees which were the exact distance apart!-Then with the assistance of Fr. Jack O'Connor, the parish priest, the club made representations to the Corporation who gave permission to play on part of the old SPS factory (now Crown) on the Monivea Road. This arrangement also saw the club share the facilities with the newly formed Mervue Athletic Club with whom they had a good working relationship. With the help of Mick Halpin, who gave them the use of his old garage, the club started to get pretty serious about their game with the result that they were soon initiating some unheard of training practices!
Togging out twice a week, the club were the first to introduce evening and night training for their players. All of the hard work, the blood, sweat and tears which the new training regime brought with them soon brought their rewards as in 1973/'74, they secured a League victory and also took the Pearse Cup resulting in their promotion to the Premier Division. Just two years later saw them make a clean sweep of all the local competitions while a year later in 1977 they set the enviable and rarely excelled run of 27 matches without defeat only to bow out to Longford Town, the Leinster League side in the Irish Junior Cup.
Winning trophies and competitions has never been a big problem for Mervue but their record in the LiIlis Cup, presented in 1975 for local competitions, is unparalleled. Mervue had between 1975 And 1982 won out all but two years- 5 of 7, they say, ain't bad and is one of the club's proudest records. On a regional level, Mervue were soon recognised as a force to be reckoned with as, for example, in the Michael Byrne Cup run off between the premier league winners from the Connacht counties. In its inaugural year Mervue beat Balla jn a thrilling penalty shoot out in Terryland Park -a feat they repeated in the following year.
By 1980 their B team was also making it's mark on local competitions with the result that they were soon playing all of their football in the Premier Division alongside their clubmates. But, as the rules of the Galway FA insisted that no two teams from the same club could play in the League Mervue Celtic was born and within a year had made its mark winning the pre season Duignan Cup and ending the season in a very creditable midway league position. This was also the year in which they beat the highly fancied Hibs in the area final of the Irish Junior Cup. Over the years there have been many historical moments, winning of the Connacht Junior Cup in the year 89-90 for the first time, qualifying for the Intermediate Cup and drawing the cup holders - UCD in the FAI Senior Cup in Terryland in the '80's and playing them before a gate of £4,000 and also our first success over a League of Ireland team in the FAI Senior Cup in 87-88 and last but not least our tremendous four-in-a-row team in 1992-93 which won all four Senior trophies in Connacht. There has always been many great victories by our Juvenile teams in Connacht Cup and local competitions. These will be remembered by all as crowning achievements and just rewards for all of the years of dedication and hard work by those on and off the field who continue to serve and believe in the ideals of sportsmanship.
In 1981 Mervue United opted to play in the newly formed Connacht Senior League but this decision was to impose its own burdens on the club. Through sponsorship and generous assistance the club were soon able to surmount these through their leasing a clubhouse and a pitch in Fahy's Field and were rated on par with the more glamourous Sligo Rovers and their Showgrounds. Since then the club have embarked on a three phase development programme and has seen them build their own clubhouse complex at a cost of £l20,000. This building for the club was soon followed by the building of a car park and the introduction of lights to the facility. Phases 2 and 3 of this programme in the years between 1985 and 1995 have also coincided with the club introducing their weekly Lotto which has been used to finance such innovations as the comprehensive gymnasium and treatment centre for the club members and players. Twenty five of the members turn up week in week out in playing their part in organising. distributing and administering the funding scheme which has been such a boom for the east side club. Their innovation in running of this weekly model of fundraising has since been copied by clubs, community groups and organisations throughout the province.
Taken from the club official site
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Last Six Results
Mervue United scores first