After almost ten weeks of an off-season during which the club reverted back to the more familiar Galway United name and saw Ryan Manning depart for the glamour and glitz of the Premier League, manager Tommy Dunne now begins the task of moulding a squad capable of withstanding the rigours of life in the Premier Division of Irish football.
Training began at Mervue United’s Fahy’s Field all-weather facility on Monday morning and Dunne, who currently has only ten players signed up for the 2015 season, has shown his intent by changing the squad’s pre-season routine. Speaking to www.galwayunitedfc.ie, Dunne outlined the new regime.
“There’s a bit of getting used to it but for us to have control of the full pitch and facilities is very important.
“The main reason we’re changing is because of facilities but also too the big thing for me is you’re getting the players first thing in the morning, you’re getting the best of them, instead of getting them last thing in the evening when they’ve just done a full days work.
“It’s what we want to do, the players will get used to it.”
United have a tricky start to the campaign with the visit of Derry City to Eamonn Deacy Park on March 6th, but beyond that they have fixtures which will give them a more realistic sense of how their season could play out as Bohemians, Drogheda United, and Longford Town will all be faced before the end of the opening month.
While the recent formation of the Galway Soccer Co-Op is an excellent initiative, the reality remains that early season wins are essential to encourage the big crowds back up the Dyke Road, so a positive start is imperative for the Dubliner, who will pick up the Manager of the Year prize at the Galway Sports Stars Awards on Saturday night.
“In the morning we’re doing a session that’s around an hour and a half long, then we’re doing a gym session in the afternoon which is another hour session”, Dunne explained.
“We have lunch in between as a group and we’re training five days a week at the moment, it’s a big ask for these guys who aren’t full time players.
“There’s good pros here and there’s a lot of good lads who want to train and if you asked them to train seven days a week then they’d do it.
“We’re trying to assemble a group that will be hungry and push each other on, it’s important that they’re buying into what we’re doing.”
It will be early February before the club plays its’ first pre-season friendly, which gives Dunne some time to add to his current roster, with Killian Cantwell (Wexford Youths) and Dave O’Leary (Cork City) the only new faces so far.
“We had the guts of 18 bodies at training today and we still have to bring in quite a few players and there’s a couple missing so we’ll hopefully have a decent enough group come the start of the season.”
“We should have roughly 30 training sessions under our belt before we starting playing games and you need to have that because you don’t want players going into matches not being ready to play.”
*For more details on the Galway Soccer Co-Op, visit www.gufc-coop.com