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Old 06-26-2019, 07:05 PM   #51
Greyfriars Bobby
High School Varsity
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
13 July 2016
European Champions Cup
Second Qualifying Phase

Ludogorets v. Galway United

Galway lineup: Darcy Bradford, Derek Kelly, Roy Murphy, Sean Flynn, Kenneth Díaz, Aaron O'Connor, Glen Scully, Barry Asher, Gareth Kearney, Pasquale van Daele (c), Declan Coughlan.

Bench: Alexander van der Steen, John Lawless, Kieron Russell, Paul Connolly, Aaron Sikumoya, Billy Ryan, David Brennan.


Ludogorets Arena has a capacity of about 12,000, and it was about half filled as we kicked off at 19:45 local time. The weather was about perfect; 78 degrees F. and breezy.

I sent the team out in our usual formation, but with a Defensive mentality rather than our usual Control. I didn't want the home team turning this into a rout.

Despite my caution, we began the match on the front foot. The first real chance fell our way in the 8th minute, when Sean Glynn headed Gareth Kearney's corner off the bar.


Sean Glynn's header bangs off the crossbar

Ludogorets seemed to wake up at that point. We were nearly burned twice by the electric pace of their Belgian wide man, Michael van Antwerpen.

On the stroke of halftime, we drew another corner. Kearney's delivery was perfect, and Glynn rose highest...but his header flew just a few inches wide.

So we went into halftime at 0-0. We'd enjoyed most of the ball, and we'd taken 10 shots to Ludogorets' 2. In other words, the stats looked a lot like those from an Irish Premier Division fixture.

The home team came back out from the break with renewed intensity. A hard challenge against Declan Coughlan left him with a knock, so I brought him off. I didn't have another natural striker in the team--Martin McCabe and Patrick Lynch are both injured--so I brought in Billy Ryan to play on the right wing and moved Kearney to forward.


Darcy Bradford makes a crucial save against Eric Solà

I held my breath in the 81st minute when Darcy Bradford saved beautifully from a wicked shot by Eric Solà. However, that turned out to be the last dangerous chance Ludogorets could manage. The final whistle sounded, and we're heading back to Ireland with every chance to win the tie.


Last edited by Greyfriars Bobby : 07-06-2019 at 09:20 PM.
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Old 06-26-2019, 07:33 PM   #52
thehitcat
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Hell of a thing! Nice job in Bulgaria. Now punish them by the bay.
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Old 06-26-2019, 08:23 PM   #53
Greyfriars Bobby
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Hell of a thing! Nice job in Bulgaria. Now punish them by the bay.

Thanks, hitcat!

I've never managed a team in the game's equivalent of the UEFA Champions League before (they have to rename the tournament because of licensing issues). It's been a lot of fun, and I hope to keep the ride going a while longer.

All I wanted from the match in Bulgaria was the opportunity to return to Galway with a chance to keep things competitive. Ludogorets are a big club, one of the two or three biggest in Bulgaria. They have a three-star reputation, while Galway United have 1.5 stars.

The Bulgarian "A" Group, which Ludogorets have won three straight times, is the 23rd best league in Europe, ranked just below the English Championship. The Irish Premier Division is ranked #86 on the same list. The biggest leagues in Luxembourg and Malta are considered tougher. So are all five divisions of the English Football League.

So, on paper, the Irish champion shouldn't be able to stay on the pitch with the Bulgarian winner. We managed to do that in Razgrad, and we'll try to do it again at home in Galway.

Thanks for the comment. Up the Tribesmen!
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Old 06-27-2019, 10:36 AM   #54
Chas in Cinti
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Still following... good luck in the return match...
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Old 06-27-2019, 11:01 AM   #55
Greyfriars Bobby
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Originally Posted by Chas in Cinti View Post
Still following... good luck in the return match...

Thanks, Chas. The only bad thing about the home leg of a tie like this is the fact that if we draw, I'm almost positive Ludogorets will go through. I'm not exactly sure what happens if there's another 0-0 result, though.

Of course, the best way to solve that problem is to win the match. I'll be writing about it soon.

Thanks for following!
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Old 06-27-2019, 01:52 PM   #56
Greyfriars Bobby
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Join Date: Sep 2013
20 July 2016
European Champions Cup
Second Qualifying Phase

Galway United v. Ludogorets

Galway lineup: Darcy Bradford, Derek Kelly, Roy Murphy, Sean Flynn, Kenneth Díaz, Aaron O'Connor, Glen Scully, Barry Asher, Gareth Kearney, Pasquale Van Daele (c), Declan Coughlan.

Bench: Alexander van der Steen, John Lawless, Kieron Russell, Patrick Lynch, Anton Zonneveld, Aaron Sikumoya, Mark Malloy.



This was it. If we scrape out a win here, we are through. Almost 3200 people--the second largest crowd I can remember here, after the huge throng that turned out to congratulate last season's league winners--came out to Eamonn Deacy Park to see what would happen.

I picked the same XI I chose for the first leg. If it ain't broke, right? The bench looked a bit different. Patrick Lynch was available, and a few other players needed a rest. (The league programme continues while we're in Europe, of course; I'll write about it later.)

The teams' captains traded chances in the early minutes. Their best player, a Brazilian midfield magician called Pingoto, stung Darcy Bradford's hands. Barry Asher played in Pasquale Van Daele, but the Belgian fired over the bar.

Pingoto is a perfect example of the gap in quality between us and Ludogorets. He's won four caps for Brazil, one of five full internationals in their squad. Our pedigrees simply don't match up.

However, nobody bothered to tell our lads that. On the quarter hour, Kenneth Díaz played a ball from the left side, into the path of a charging Van Daele, whose low, hard shot was parried away by Aleksandar Yordanov...right into the feet of Glen Scully. He let it drop and struck it with his left foot. Yordanov could do nothing about it. 1-0 to the Tribesmen!

I thought about going to a more defensive tactic right then and there, but I decided not to. We're not used to playing that way, and I'm not sure we can handle it for 75 minutes.

Ludogorets were clearly reeling from the goal, like a boxer who's taken an unexpectedly hard punch and can't figure out where it came from. Several of their players' body language was very negative; they were frustrated, nervous, even disinterested.

Again, like boxers, we circled each other for the remainder of the half and into the second. On 55 minutes, the very active Scully jinked past Pingoto and slipped the ball in to Asher at the edge of the penalty area. He shot, and the ball caromed off defender Gísli Gunnarson for one of the most unfortunate own goals I've ever seen. Or, at least I'd think so if it hadn't put us up 2-0.


Asher prepares to shoot. Gunnarson (at top right) moves to defend (deflect?)



Three minutes later, Ludogorets nearly pulled one back, but Dobromir Hristov was (correctly) ruled offside. The Bulgarian side was scrambling, but with a big home crowd roaring and singing, our lads weren't letting them back in.

Now we played with the confidence of the champions we are, stringing together passes and making threats at the Ludogorets goal. Pasquale Van Daele, tired and suffering from a knock, waved to the crowd as they treated him to a wild ovation. I brought on Patrick Lynch, and moved Gareth Kearney to the left wing so Lynch could play on his preferred side.

Twelve minutes from full time, Kearney lifted in a cross from the left touchline that Gunnarson headed clear. Sean Glynn beat a somewhat lackadaisical Hristov to the ball. He nodded it down to Scully at the edge of the area. Meanwhile, Lynch had drifted, almost unnoticed, to the right, and Scully spotted him. Patrick hit it on the half volley with his left foot, and it beat Yordanov at his far post. I don't think anyone else in our team is capable of a goal like that one. He's only 17--will those moments come more and more often as he develops?


Lynch's wonder strike makes it 3-0


We saw the game out from there.

At the beginning of the tie, I didn't give us much chance. I let myself believe after we came home from Bulgaria without conceding. When I saw how our opponents seemed to wilt after we scored our first goal, I finally realized we could do it--and we did.

I won't write about every European night like this, but the first ones are extra special.
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Old 06-27-2019, 09:05 PM   #57
thehitcat
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UP THE TRIBESMEN! They'll be singing about Lynchie's goal as a teenager forever in the pubs. COME ON YOU GALWAY LADS!!
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Old 06-27-2019, 10:30 PM   #58
Greyfriars Bobby
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UP THE TRIBESMEN! They'll be singing about Lynchie's goal as a teenager forever in the pubs. COME ON YOU GALWAY LADS!!

On behalf of the club, I'd like to thank you for your support. Whose shirt will you be picking up at the club shop next time you're in?

I hope that was only the first chapter of the story of Patrick Lynch's remarkable Galway career. It's very easy to get excited about what the future might hold for him. However, as talented as he is, there are a few warning flags in his profile.

According to my assistants, Patrick lacks professionalism, a trait that most of his teammates possess. He also doesn't enjoy big matches (although he could have fooled me in Bulgaria the other night.) He's also been unhappy with training, although I don't know why.

Hopefully those qualities won't stand in the way of his path to stardom. He's fast and two-footed, and he can lead the line or play out wide. At worst, he might be a player we can sell on to a bigger club.

He's currently under contract through 2018. His value has gone up to €205,000. The only other teenaged players in the Premier Division who are valued as highly are our Glen Scully and Derry City's dynamic little striker, Darren Anderson.

As much as I might want to think otherwise--as big a club as we might become by Irish standards--if we develop a real star, we probably won't be able to hold on to him.
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Old 06-27-2019, 10:39 PM   #59
thehitcat
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As much as I like the home Maroon jerseys I think the whites with the Maroon Collars and Shorts are going to be my go to.



I think it might need to be Lynch buy I'm partial to Scully as well. What numbers are they in the squad
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Old 06-28-2019, 01:10 AM   #60
Greyfriars Bobby
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31 July 2016
Transfer Talk


Our eventful summer continues, with more European adventures added to a busy league schedule and our continuing progress in the Challenge Cup.

I had to make some unexpected roster moves in the days before the transfer deadline on 31 July, and they weren't completed until the last two hours of the window.

On a whim, I decided to see if Liverpool had reconsidered their decision to loan Dean McCarthy to us. The addition of Derek Kelly made Dean somewhat of a luxury, but with the prospect of more European football, why not make our roster as strong as possible? Sure enough, Liverpool were willing to let McCarthy, a hardworking right back, return to us for the remainder of the season.

The only remaining "hole" in our squad was at forward. Declan Nolan, who was released by West Ham, wasn't willing to talk to us about a contract. I brought in Tom Scott, 22, on loan from Leicester City for the remainder of the year.

Scott isn't too fast, and that might be why the Premier League club was losing interest in him. He was productive in a loan spell at Exeter City in League Two, which is roughly as good a league as the Irish Premier Division. Tom can also play on both wings, so he will see plenty of action. He, Declan Coughlan (who has misplaced his scoring boots) and Patrick Lynch will all have chances to lead the line.

Then, a week before the deadline, I got some surprising news. Kenneth Díaz had been everpresent for us at left back since my first days at the club. He wore the captain's armband for us on several occasions. Carlisle, from England's League Two, had expressed interest in him before, but nothing had ever come of it.

This time, however, the English club was serious. They came in with a €30,000 bid, well under Kenneth's value. I turned it down. The next day, Díaz came to me, upset that I'd blocked the move. Reluctantly, I promised him if they came back for him, I'd let him leave.

On Deadline Day, they did just that, with an offer of €45,000. I accepted it, and bid goodbye to our Costa Rican defender.

Now I needed to find a left back. Our head scout, Wooter Beentjes, recommended a lad called Stephen O'Callaghan very highly. Stephen trained in Manchester City's academy, and spent part of two years at Bristol City trying to break into the first team. He was released at the end of June, but the opportunity to play in the Champions Cup was attractive enough to entice him to sign with us for the next two years. He's 25, so we are getting him for his prime years.

O'Callaghan might not have made it in League One, but he should be plenty good enough for us. He has every quality I'm looking for in an attacking full back. Plus, he has a long, flat throw that will give us an additional goal threat--a trait his predecessor, Díaz, possessed, but to an even more dangerous degree.

While I was at it, I picked up a valuable bench player on a free transfer. Gary Sweeney, like O'Callaghan, has been plying his trade in England for several years, spending time at Ipswich and Yeovil. The latter club released him this summer. Gary is 22, and he is very determined and hard-working. His calling card, however, is his speed. He can play all along the left, as a central midfielder, and even as a forward in a pinch.

I hated to see Kenneth Díaz go, but our team is stronger than it was a month ago, with more of the depth we will need to compete successfully on several fronts.

You'll see how successfully we're competing in my next post.

Last edited by Greyfriars Bobby : 06-28-2019 at 01:10 AM.
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Old 06-28-2019, 01:18 AM   #61
Greyfriars Bobby
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Originally Posted by thehitcat View Post
As much as I like the home Maroon jerseys I think the whites with the Maroon Collars and Shorts are going to be my go to.



I think it might need to be Lynch buy I'm partial to Scully as well. What numbers are they in the squad

Those are some sharp-looking kits, aren't they? The second post in this thread includes pictures of the shirt designs they wear in the game. The away shirt has a maroon sash, which is a cool touch.

Lynch is wearing #20, and Scully has #13.
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Old 06-28-2019, 08:05 AM   #62
thehitcat
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Oooh 13 hmm with all this wheeling and dealing you're doing you might need some cash so I'll probably get a home Lynch and an away Scully. That way I'm covered for a bit especially if Lynch flakes out Can't wait to read more about the boys.
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Old 06-28-2019, 12:46 PM   #63
Greyfriars Bobby
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Originally Posted by thehitcat View Post
Oooh 13 hmm with all this wheeling and dealing you're doing you might need some cash so I'll probably get a home Lynch and an away Scully. That way I'm covered for a bit especially if Lynch flakes out Can't wait to read more about the boys.

Good call. I'm not spending a lot of money, actually. My transfer budget is about €87,000 now, and I occasionally spend a few thousand on agents' fees, etc. when I sign a player on a Bosman. My net transfer balance is, in fact, barely positive, since I just sold Díaz (which I wasn't happy about, but he asked to go, so that's football.)

When the Champions Cup money comes in, I'll be flush. Still, the club appreciates your support!
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Old 07-01-2019, 02:23 AM   #64
Greyfriars Bobby
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31 July 2016

Now it's time to get caught up with the action on the pitch, aside from our adventures in the European Champions Cup.



It's been a magical summer, all around. After the draw with St. Pat's Athletic, the match that marked Patrick Lynch's coming-out party, we ran off five straight wins in the league. The defeat that ended that run was perhaps to be predicted; a decent Longford side caught us four days after our emotional victory over Ludogorets.

The next Wednesday, we returned to European competition. Our opponent in the Third Qualifying Phase was FK Vardar Skopje, from Macedonia's First League. Interestingly enough, they were eliminated by Ludogorets in last year's Champions Cup.

Macedonia's top league is rated considerably better than ours--62nd in the world--but we had very little difficulty against them on the "home" leg of the tie. I used quotation marks because Eamonn Deacy Park isn't big enough to host a match at this stage of the Champions Cup, so we played the match at Thomond Park Stadium in Limerick. This stadium seats over 26,000, and it's usually used for rugby union.



The crowd of just under 3,000 who turned out would have fit nicely in our grounds, and would have created a much more lively atmosphere. Nevertheless, we took control of the match early on with a lovely Lynch strike, and we never looked back.

Despite our run of form, we haven't been able to separate ourselves from St. Pat's. Instead, our two clubs have run off and left the rest of the league. I forgot to grab a shot of the table, but I remember there being a gap of 8-10 points between the second and third placed clubs. We're top of the league by a point, with a game in hand.

Next week, the lads and I are off to Macedonia for the second leg of our Champions Cup qualifier and then, sometime in August, we'll enter the Senior Challenge Cup. Hopefully our squad is strong enough to compete on several fronts.
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Old 07-01-2019, 10:13 PM   #65
Greyfriars Bobby
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15 September 2016

As summer turns to autumn, we're facing important matches in three different competitions. We're still playing European football and, as you'll see, we'll be doing so until December, long after most Irish teams have gone home for the season. We've progressed to the Semi Final of the Senior Challenge Cup, and at that point I begin to care about going ahead and winning the thing. And, we're battling to defend our league championship, which I would really like to win again.



First, Europe. We had very little trouble with Vardar Skopje in Macedonia. Gareth Kearney's hat trick was the highlight of our 4-0 victory, which gave us a resounding 7-0 win on aggregate. Only 607 fans chose to come out to the Philip II Arena, which seats 36,400. I feel a bit sorry for Goran Jovanovski, the Vardar goalkeeper. One of the 607 in attendance was his national team manager. I hope Goran's chances for future caps haven't been ruined.

On we went to the Champions' Playoff. Now, we had to face FC Steaua Bucharest, four-time champions of Romania. Nearly 6,000 turned out at our European home in Limerick to watch us in the home leg of the tie on 16 August. They paid €192,000 to come through the gates, which TRIPLED our previous record for gate receipts. I wish we could have given them a better show. Steaua play a style similar to ours; they simply play it better. We gave a much better account of ourselves in Bucharest a week later. Roy Murphy's goal, as full time approached, enabled us to draw level and leave with our heads held high. Over 17,000 saw us play, the highest crowd to watch little Galway United play since I've been here; I wonder what the all-time record might be?

Our loss in the Champions' Playoff does not end our European campaign. We now move into the group stage of the EURO Cup (the game's version of the Europa League).

We also discovered our progress in the Champions' Cup earned us €2.3 million! For a club the size of ours, that is a HUGE, HUGE financial windfall. In the blink of an eye, our balance sheet moves from alarmingly negative to delightfully positive.

Then, I learned that a spot in the EURO Cup group stages is worth €1.3 million more! I quickly persuaded our chairman, Stephen Murphy, to upgrade our youth facilities. The project will cost €1.4 million, and it should be finished by next May.

Here's a look at the draw for our group in the EURO Cup:



It's nice to be seen alongside big clubs like this, I have to admit.

***

It took us two tries, but we eliminated a feisty Shelburne Rovers side from the Senior Challenge Cup, and three nights later, we saw off Cobh Ramblers and their loudmouth manager, Conor Skinner, to move into the Semi Final. Incidentally, both Dundalk and Shamrock Rovers sacked their managers after lackluster performances in Cup ties.

***

With all this going on, we're still engaged in a tough title fight with St. Pat's Athletic. We're even on points, but we have two games in hand. I feel good about our chances, but we have seven league fixtures left and I don't want fatigue to take its toll. We're done playing St. Pat's, so they'll need help from some other club to pull ahead of us.



I'll be back next time with an introduction to our latest youth class.

Last edited by Greyfriars Bobby : 07-03-2019 at 07:38 PM.
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Old 07-02-2019, 08:13 AM   #66
thehitcat
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Wow what a group. Talk about a minnow among the giants. Sad you can't play your home group ties at home. You might have a serious advantage.
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Old 07-02-2019, 10:53 AM   #67
Chas in Cinti
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Location: Cincinnati, OH
Crazy! Great run in Europe... should see some great gates from the group stage...
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Old 07-02-2019, 12:05 PM   #68
Greyfriars Bobby
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Wow what a group. Talk about a minnow among the giants. Sad you can't play your home group ties at home. You might have a serious advantage.

I was thinking the same thing. As my son put it, "we'll probably get wrecked...maybe we'll get a draw somewhere and avoid getting zero points." (Yes, my kids are now using "we" to describe Galway United.)

Chas mentions the one advantage to not playing at Eamonn Deacy Park, which is too small to meet the requirements for the later rounds of European competition.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chas in Cinti View Post
Crazy! Great run in Europe... should see some great gates from the group stage...

Thanks! I'm hoping so, too. I'm not sure what our take from an away tie in the EURO Cup will be, but I hope we can play in front of some big crowds in Hamburg, Monaco, and Bilbao. Maybe a few more of our Irish compatriots will think it's cool to see those big clubs, and make their way to Limerick for our home games. We'll see.

It's been a lot of fun, and I appreciate the comments!
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Old 07-02-2019, 12:30 PM   #69
Greyfriars Bobby
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Join Date: Sep 2013
15 September 2016

We welcomed our new class of youth candidates today. It isn't a very deep class; there are only a few lads who look like they'll be good enough for our first team one day. Still, there's some quality at the top of the class.



According to HOYD Ole Morten Reinum, the most promising player in the group is Lee O'Farrell. He is comfortable playing anywhere along the back line. I like his marking and tackling ability, and he is fast enough to keep up with pacey strikers. However, his Unambitious personality is a concern, and our coaches mention his distaste for big matches.

I like Mike Devaney a bit more myself. His work rate is outstanding, he is a sure tackler, and he won't get his head down when things don't go his way. He needs to gain strength and stamina, but he's got time. He scored the only goal when the Youth Candidates beat our U19s, 1-0, in their trial match.

Evan McManus looks like he could develop into a creative central midfielder, somewhat in the mold of Kieron Russell, but with more pace. I also like his Professional personality and determined attitude. He might come closer to fulfilling his potential than any member of his class.

I offered contracts to each of those players, along with Declan Gallagher, Michael Roberts, Ian Walton, Peter Curtis, Mike Howley, Joep Polman, and Ciaran Martin. In a few cases, the player's personality made the difference.
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Old 07-02-2019, 02:43 PM   #70
collegesportsfanms
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Great stuff! Always nice to see another dynasty on these boards. I love FM, but I just don't have the time to play every single game out. I usually just go on vacation on match day and sometimes I accept the result, but if it's a match I know my team should be winning, I'll reload and do it again until the result comes out right.

I'm using FM17 currently, the Euro Nations League was too tempting to pass up. I'll keep following along
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Old 07-02-2019, 10:08 PM   #71
Greyfriars Bobby
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Great stuff! Always nice to see another dynasty on these boards. I love FM, but I just don't have the time to play every single game out. I usually just go on vacation on match day and sometimes I accept the result, but if it's a match I know my team should be winning, I'll reload and do it again until the result comes out right.

I'm using FM17 currently, the Euro Nations League was too tempting to pass up. I'll keep following along

Thanks a lot, ms! I understand what you mean about FM taking up lots of time, but I enjoy it so much that it's time well spent for me. I played a lot of OOTP baseball back in the day, but Football Manager has now supplanted it. One thing I like about the game is the way it lends itself to a lot of playing styles.

You might also like FM Touch, which is a streamlined version of the game tha doesn't take as long.

Anyway, thanks for following.
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Old 07-03-2019, 07:36 PM   #72
Greyfriars Bobby
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There's so much going on now that I'm going to write separate updates for domestic football and European competitions. First, let's look at how our Premier Division and Senior Challenge Cup campaigns turned out.

27 October 2016



Playing in three different competitions in September and October took its toll on our squad, despite my best attempts to keep that from happening. We weren't nearly as sharp during our last few weeks of league play. And, with St. Pat's Athletic nipping at our heels, we couldn't afford to slip up too much.

Dundalk are a very good side, and they ended the season in good form. You'll see that when you look at the final league table. A 1-1 draw, at their grounds, is therefore a reasonable result. However, we ought to have done better than that away to Drogheda United, and we shouldn't need a late wondergoal from Gareth Kearney to see off Bohemians.

The Sligo Rovers game was a neutral's delight. Their star striker, Lee Cahill, opened the scoring, and every time we pulled level, Cahill struck again. Finally, when a different Rovers player--Lee Brennan--found the net, we couldn't return serve.

The result was tough to take, but the disappointment was tempered somewhat by the news from Dublin. There, at Richmond Park, Dundalk defeated St. Pat's, 3-0...and that result handed the Premier Division title to us!

It's not the way I want to win league championships, but the trophy is ours nonetheless. And, we'll be back in the Champions Cup field again, too.



We finished with two fewer points than we did in 2015, largely due to our autumnal fade. St. Pat's and Dundalk qualified for the EURO Cup due to their league position, while Bohemians will also play in Europe...you'll see why in a moment.



You've seen some of the results from our Challenge Cup run already. There they are, all together, and you can see the ending was far from the one I would have scripted.

We bottled it. It's as simple as that. We had a 2-0 lead until the 87th minute, after which we conceded two quick goals. Neither team scored in extra time, and we lost on penalties--Gareth Kearney fired wide, and Patrick Lynch's shot was turned away by Danny O'Brien. When Bohemians midfielder Matt Traynor fired a terrific penalty past Darcy Bradford's outstretched glove, their victory was secure.

Nevertheless, it's hard to find much wrong with a season in which we defended our league championship.
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Old 07-03-2019, 08:40 PM   #73
Greyfriars Bobby
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Join Date: Sep 2013
1 December 2016
The EURO Cup


I was under no illusions concerning our chances of making it out of our group in the EURO Cup. At this stage of the tournament, there are no pushovers left around. If there are, they're seeded fourth like we were, so we won't be placed in the same group. I simply wanted to keep the matches close and avoid embarrassment.

The highlight of the tournament for us was Patrick Lynch's goal against AS Monaco. It began with a clearance by Roy Murphy that Barry Asher headed down to Kieron Russell just behind the midline. Russell played a speculative long pass up the middle. Biro-Biro leapt to head it and missed, which gave Lynch the opportunity to run onto it. Patrick controlled the ball at the edge of the penalty box, with Rony Heyvaert running with him, stride for stride.

Then the magic began. With his right foot, Patrick swept the ball across his body, in front of Heyvaert. As the Belgium international's momentum carried him past the ball, Patrick slipped behind him, took the ball on his left foot, and lofted it past the goalkeeper into the net. It was our only shot of the match, but what a shot it was.

At 17, Lynch lacks consistency. There are matches when he completely disappears. And, then, there are moments when he does something like this, something that makes me realize what a talent we're getting to enjoy.



I think we acquitted ourselves well. Nobody hit us for an outrageous number of goals, and we managed to score at least once against all three of our opponents.

We played before crowds of 49,171 in Hamburg, 8,973 in Monaco, and 44,934 in Bilbao. We traveled to three exciting, vibrant cities, which gave all of us a chance to gain a perspective of the world beyond Galway Bay.



Hopefully we'll be back to do it again.

Last edited by Greyfriars Bobby : 07-03-2019 at 08:41 PM.
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Old 07-05-2019, 12:37 AM   #74
Greyfriars Bobby
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Join Date: Sep 2013
Offseason 2016

I progressed too far in my game to recover the detailed stat report from 2016, so I'll apologize in advance to any of you who really enjoy perusing the numbers.



Our supporters chose Roy Murphy as their Player of the Year again; he was their choice in 2014, and finished second to Kieron Russell last year. His defensive performance was as solid as ever, and those 8 goals attest to his prowess on set pieces. Roy won his third consecutive Young Player of the Year award, and he was also named League of Ireland Player of the Year.

Glen Scully was runner-up in the Young Player of the Year balloting. He pulled the strings in midfield for us with the poise of a veteran, and he's still only 18. His 10 assists were second on the team.

Scully's emergence allowed me to move Gareth Kearney to the right wing, where he demonstrated the ability to both score goals and set up his teammates. No player in Ireland matched his 16 assists in all competitions. I backed Gareth for the Premier Division Player of the Year award, but he finished second to Anthony O'Neill, the Longford striker who led the league in goals with 22.

Our other double-figure scorers were Patrick Lynch and Declan Coughlan, both contributing 11 goals. Lynch took less time to reach that mark, and several of his goals were scintillating displays of individual talent. Coughlan tended to be a streaky scorer, finding the net in several consecutive matches before misplacing his scoring boots for several more.

We missed Kenneth Díaz after he left for England at the July transfer deadline. I think Stephen O'Callaghan will be a worthy replacement, but he hasn't established himself yet. His primary contribution came via his long throws, which resulted in several goals for us. Murphy and Sean Glynn, both good in the air, benefited from his deliveries.

Aaron O'Connor provided his usual presence in front of our defense, and his accurate passing (he led the league with an 88% completion percentage) allowed us to build effectively from the back. Barry Asher, who arrived in July, impressed me with his abilities as a holding midfielder, too. Barry's presence might allow me to employ Aaron farther up the pitch next season.

Captain Pasquale Van Daele struggled with a series of minor injuries and struggled for fitness all summer and fall. When he was available, he played as well as ever, but I need to find a player who can cover effectively for him before next season begins.

I saved our goalkeeper, Darcy Bradford, for last. Darcy took his lumps in European competition, but that says more about the strength of our opponents than it does about any weakness of Darcy's. In 30 league matches, he conceded only 21 goals and kept 16 clean sheets. He was voted Premier Division Goalkeeper of the Year, after finishing second last season. Darcy is what every manager is looking for in a number one.

Four Tribesmen were named to the Premier Division Team of the Year:



I was chosen Manager of the Year for the second straight season, too.

Now it's off to 2017. I hope you'll all come along for the ride.

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Old 07-08-2019, 01:59 AM   #75
Greyfriars Bobby
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4 March 2017

The preseason is complete, and it's time to meet the 2017 Galway United squad. The star ratings are provided by Assistant Manager Dennis De Jonge (rated 12 for judging both current and potential ability).

You'll see a number of unfamiliar names on the squad list this year. The opportunity to play European football has attracted a higher class of footballers to Galway. Players who wouldn't have given us a thought before are now within our reach. At the same time, our increased income allows us to afford some of them.

I'm trying to bring enough new men in to strengthen the team, while still preserving its core. It's not an easy balance to reach, but it's a fun problem to have.


Goalkeepers


The same three glovemen return to the team this year. Bradford was the best 'keeper in the league last year, and he's still getting better. Van der Steen is a promising backup, and he's a good insurance policy in case Darcy ever decides he'd like to try his luck in a better league. Forde is a capable third choice, and a true professional.


Defenders


I was very happy to learn that Liverpool was willing to send McCarthy to us on loan for another season. He's earned seven caps for Wales at the U21 level. He'll start at right back, with Kelly in reserve. Derek also serves as a coach for our U19s, and he can still put in a shift.

O'Callaghan will begin his first full season with us on the left side. The versatile Sweeney will provide cover all along that side of our formation. I'll also look to get Zonneveld into some matches. He enjoyed a fine season with our U19s last year, and he's ready for a bit of first team action.

Murphy needs no introduction. He is our most popular player and, as good as he is, he's still only 21. He'll be paired with either Glynn or Lawless. Everton seems very satisfied to send Glynn to us every year, and I'm just as happy to welcome him back. He's slightly more comfortable on the ball than Lawless, but our staff rate John a bit more highly. Glynn can also play right back.

Connolly has become increasingly frustrated with his inability to break into our first team, and would probably welcome a change of scenery. Sikumoya is our player now, signed on a free after Chelsea released him. He'll fill in all along the defensive line and at defensive midfielder, too.


Central Midfielders


I'm excited to see how Asher will do this year, with a full preseason under his belt. He'll begin the season as our number six, playing in front of our back four. O'Connor played there most of last season and did well, but he also did just fine playing as the more defensive partner in our CM duo.

Scully is the league's most skillful creative midfielder. He's pushed Russell into a reserve role, but Kieron's professionalism has enabled him to accept his new role gracefully. Billy Ryan couldn't, so he's not with the team anymore...and nobody else has picked him up, either.

Kearney played on the right last year and was splendid, contributing to 28 goals in all competitions. Would he be even more effective in the middle of the park, where he's supposedly more comfortable?

Player-coach Brennan is a solid reserve who is tough defensively.

I ask a lot of the three men in the middle of our formation, so I'm glad I have several players to rotate in when our schedule gets crowded.


Forwards


No, I didn't make a mistake, and you're not mis-reading, either. Patrick Lynch is no longer a Galway United player.

It didn't take long for bigger clubs to notice him. His most ardent suitor was Crystal Palace, who expressed their interest at the beginning of the January transfer period and turned the teenager's head. Somewhat reluctantly, I assured him if the Eagles put in a bid that matched our valuation of him, I'd let him go.

It took the London club a week to make an offer, and it was a fair one. They paid us €240,000 up front, and a list of (easily achieved) milestones will probably raise the price tag to €525,000. I wish Patrick well; I hope he becomes a star at Selhurst Park and an Ireland regular.

There might be three new men playing up front for us this year. We signed White in December and Fearn in January. They're very similar players, but that's a good thing. Both David and Colin are English. They can both play on either wing, but they both prefer their off side; left-footed David on the right; right-footed Colin on the left. They're both quick and shifty.

The odd man out could be Van Daele, who fought injuries throughout the 2016 season. Still, with various domestic cups and the Champions' Cup on our schedule, there should be enough time to go around.

The other new signing could be the biggest of all. O'Shea started at Wolverhampton Wanderers at age nine. He was loaned to Stevenage, where his 13 goals helped fire the Boro's promotion to League One. That wasn't enough to persuade Wolves to keep him. Their loss will be our gain, as Kevin looks like he'll be every bit as productive for us as he was in England. Our players are almost unanimous in their opinion that playing with him will be a treat.

Coughlan and faithful McCabe will provide cover for O'Shea, and Watson returns to the team after a successful year on loan at Longford.


Bright Young Things


We might have lost our most dazzling young star when we sold Lynch to Crystal Palace, but I'm excited about the potential of a number of the young lads we still have around the place.

Two of them are brand-new: Riseth and Joyce. Riseth is the product of our Norwegian connection, and Joyce is a Galway lad whom we acquired from local side Salthill Devon. We were short on attacking talent in our youth team, and these two have lots of potential and personalities that ought to help them develop it fully.

On the other hand, we have Gill and O'Farrell. None of my back room staff have anything positive to say about either boy's personality. Intensive tutoring is on the menu for both of them, because they've both got loads of talent.

Quinn made his first team debut last fall, coming on as a substitute in one of our cup ties. He'll take another step forward this season. Both he and Gill have earned caps at the U19 level.

Last edited by Greyfriars Bobby : 07-22-2019 at 11:19 AM.
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Old 07-23-2019, 07:12 PM   #76
Greyfriars Bobby
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2 May 2017



I couldn't have scripted a better beginning to the season for our club. We've already added a new trophy to our case, we've advanced to the final in the All-Ireland Cup, and we're ten points clear at the top of the Premier Division table.

Cups



The President's Cup is a one-match "tournament" between the winner of the Senior Challenge Cup and the Premier Division champions. I used a rotated squad, since the match took place only three days before our first match in the All-Ireland Cup. It made no difference, as we saw off Bohemians and claimed the trophy.

The Board want us to win the All-Ireland Cup, and we've already come a long way toward that goal. Aaron O'Connor's hat trick sparked us to a comfortable result over Northern Irish club Cliftonville. Four clubs from the Republic advanced to the Semi Final. We drew Bohemians, and 2-0 victories, away and home, saw us through. We'll face Derry City at the national stadium on 16 May.

O'Connor has become the King of Cups, with five goals in five games in trophy competitions.


League



Our form has been every bit as good in league play. Every team we play seems to take the same approach: cramming as many men as possible into their end of the pitch and hoping to catch a break, or drawing a set piece and hoping for some luck.

Even the bigger clubs in the league will do this, home or away. For example, here are the average positions of St. Pat's Athletic's players in their match against us at Richmond Park.



I've adjusted to this ultra-defensive response by having the team play a bit more directly and move the ball around a bit faster, and so far it's working.

The new additions to our team have made positive impressions so far. Kevin O'Shea is the league's top scorer, with seven goals in Premier Division play. Colin Fearn has five assists, joint high in the league (Gareth Kearney is one of the two other players with five helpers). David White has four goals in all competitions.

Gone are the days when Galway United were a rag-tag bunch of scrappers from a small club from out West. Getting into Europe has given me the cash to spend on better players, and the board has agreed to upgrade our training facilities. Now we have the biggest wage bill in Ireland.

My task, therefore, will be to keep the Tribesmen in their new place, among Irish football royalty.
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Old 07-26-2019, 10:59 PM   #77
Greyfriars Bobby
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Join Date: Sep 2013
Decision time: should I stay or should I go?

10 May 2017

I started receiving invitations to apply for other jobs during my second year at Galway United. I paid very little attention to most of them. I've always been very happy here, and the process of building the Tribesmen into, arguably, the top club in Ireland has been a lot of fun and very rewarding.

At the same time, there's a nagging sense that I've accomplished just about as much as I can here at Galway United. We're well on our way to becoming the biggest club in Ireland, if we're not already there. We've won the league, and played some European football.

Today, an interesting job notice arrived in my inbox. A Dutch club, FC Den Bosch, has invited me to interview for their managerial job. My managerial character is Dutch, so some interest from a club in Holland makes sense. I'm tempted to accept the invitation.

Here are the things I like about Den Bosch:
  • Holland is a bigger nation with a better football tradition than Ireland.
  • Den Bosch's wage budget is bigger than Galway United's.
  • Den Bosch's facilities are probably better than Galway United's.
  • Den Bosch play in the Jupiler League, which is Holland's second league. They have room to grow into a bigger club.
  • Den Bosch would provide me with a new challenge.

Here are Galway United's advantages:
  • Galway United are already playing in Europe, while Den Bosch are a long way away from that point.
  • Galway United is probably a bigger club than Den Bosch is right now.
  • I'm listed among Galway United's Favoured Personnel. It would be fun to become an Icon or a Legend there.
  • Galway United's finances are more secure than Den Bosch's are.'
  • Galway United has been fun to manage, and they're familiar.

Now I'm wondering what I should do. What do you think? Let me know.
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Old 07-29-2019, 12:35 PM   #78
Chas in Cinti
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I say stay... a few more little growth spurts gets you into a continental consideration... not a cinderella or underdog story... that'd be interesting for a little Irish club... not much of a chance for hardware, but still to be a consideration at Galway's size would be epic...
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Old 07-29-2019, 01:03 PM   #79
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I would also say to stay. Get up to Legend or Icon level before you consider moving.
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Old 07-29-2019, 05:13 PM   #80
Greyfriars Bobby
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Originally Posted by Chas in Cinti View Post
I say stay... a few more little growth spurts gets you into a continental consideration... not a cinderella or underdog story... that'd be interesting for a little Irish club... not much of a chance for hardware, but still to be a consideration at Galway's size would be epic...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Izulde View Post
I would also say to stay. Get up to Legend or Icon level before you consider moving.

Thanks for your input! I've decided to stay. You both make very good points; I'm in a very cool position here at Galway United, with an opportunity to play in Europe and hoist a few trophies.

Incidentally, my kids voted in favor of me staying, by a 2-1 margin.

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Old 08-01-2019, 09:43 PM   #81
Greyfriars Bobby
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1 July 2017



We're halfway through our league programme now, and the Tribesmen are still riding high. We're twelve points clear at the top of the table and, at the risk of jinxing us, we still haven't lost a Premier Division game.



I've never enjoyed a run of form like this. From early May until the month-long break began during the second week of June, we put in 30 goals and conceded two in all competitions. On 13 May, we lifted the one trophy our board wanted us to see us win when we beat Derry City in the All-Ireland Cup Final.



Our new front man, Kevin O'Shea, has been a wonderful addition. He broke Declan Nolan's record in our 12th league match. He's teamed with Colin Fearn and David White to give us an all-new, very productive forward corps.



Yes, you read that right. I had no idea where we were in the European rankings before, but it turns out we were way, way down the list. Our adventures in continental competition helped us achieve this nice honor; it's fun to be the highest riser in Europe. We're still ranked below St. Patrick's Athletic and Shamrock Rovers, but at the rate we're going, we'll leave them behind before long.



We will enter the European Champions Cup in the First Qualifying Round this year. We've drawn Naxxar Lions, who play in the Maltese Premier Division. Here's the team I've selected for the competition:



Teenage striker Paddy Joyce, who's played well for the U19s, makes the team to help us fulfill our requirements for homegrown players. I hated to leave Damian Watson off the team, but White's emergence has made it hard for Damian to get on the pitch.

I'm glad I decided to stay in Ireland. This could be a very special season at Galway United.
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Old 08-02-2019, 04:09 PM   #82
Greyfriars Bobby
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Join Date: Sep 2013
1 July 2017, continued

Not long after I clicked on "submit reply," I thought of a few more things I wanted to mention about the first half of this season.

I've sorted out most of our contract business already. This band is looking like it can really jam, so I'm going to keep it together for a while. All of our most important players are under contract through 31 December 2018, at the earliest. Bradford, O'Shea, Fearn, Lawless, O'Callaghan, and Russell are tied to us through 2019. The first five are all automatic starters in any important match. Russell is no longer a regular, but our fans love him; he's Favoured Personnel, and he gives all he has for the shirt. As long as he'll accept a reduced role, he's got a place in our team.

Our recent success is having a slightly negative result: some of our more talented young players are becoming frustrated at their lack of first team football, and are clamoring to go out on loan. Among them are goalkeeper Alexander van der Steen, defender Anton Zonneveld, and midfielder Johnny McEntee. I've placed them on the development list, hoping to attract some interest. I'm afraid if they don't get their wish, they'll be ready to leave when their contracts expire in December.

We occasionally come up against our former players who have signed with other teams. You might not remember Stephen Spillane, whom we once had very high hopes for. He's now a regular midfielder for Longford Town, and he's having a very good season so far. He's teammates with David Reilly, who was the captain for my first Galway Utd side.

Alan Woods is a fixture at left back for Cobh Ramblers, who are pushing hard for a promotion back to the Premier Division. They are battling hard with Bray Wanderers, who feature Mark Molloy on defense. Mark is Wanderers' vice captain, too. Both those lads are fine players for the First Division, and it's good to see them thriving.

On the other hand, Billy Ryan is still looking for a club. He's the most talented of the former Tribesmen I've mentioned but, as I discovered when I tried to negotiate contracts with him, Billy believes he's a lot better than he is.

The transfer window opened today. Besides finding loan opportunities for our disgruntled youngsters, I have only a couple pieces of business I'd like to complete.

Dean McCarthy has been fantastic at right back for us, but he's Liverpool's property, not ours. If I can't persuade Liverpool to sell him to us, I'll have to find a suitable replacement.

I'd also like to add more steel to our central midfield. Gareth Kearney and Glen Scully are both very creative players. Neither excel at marking or tackling, and there are times when I want more of a destroyer in the middle of the park. Aaron O'Connor can do that job, but I wouldn't mind having another player of that type in the team. It's fun to enter a transfer period without thinking I have to work miracles in order to make my team competitive.
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Old 08-05-2019, 07:50 PM   #83
Greyfriars Bobby
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Join Date: Sep 2013
1 September 2017



Our magical season continued through July and August. We're still undefeated in Premier Division play, sitting 14 points clear with four games in hand on our nearest competitor. We've already clinched a position in the EURO Cup for next year.



So far, I've been able to use our first team in league matches and in European competition. We've been healthy, too; defender Sean Glynn suffered a stress fracture in his lower back which put him out for eight weeks, but he's the only regular who's missed more than a few days, and he's back in training again.

I achieved one of my objectives in the July transfer window when I signed right back David Kinsella on a free. A lad from just down the road in Athlone, David spent time in Arsenal's youth setup before landing at Norwich. After making a single appearance in the Premier League, he was released by the Canaries. His strength and determination caught my eye immediately, and he is mobile and technically skilled enough to be a star for us. David is signed through the end of the 2018 season.



We've actually played more matches in the Champions Cup than we have in our domestic league this summer. We didn't have much trouble with Naxxar Lions in the First Qualifying Round, dispatching the Maltese contenders 6-1 in aggregate. That set us up for a date with NK Maribor, perennial champions of Slovenia--a much more formidable opponent.

David White's goal gave us a 1-0 victory in the first leg of the tie, but even more importantly, sent us back to Ireland with a crucial away goal. Maribor's quality showed in the second leg, as they quieted a big Eamonn Deacy Park crowd with a goal just before the half.

But the Tribesmen weren't finished. Deep in stoppage time, substitute Pasquale Van Daele found a bit of space in the penalty area and shot. Defender Peter Colja slid to block it...and ended up knocking it past the goalkeeper for an own goal. It was a heartbreaking moment for Colja, a full international and a fine center back.

In the Third Qualifying Round, we drew BATE Borisov, and we were off to Belarus for the first leg. Once again, I felt good about our performance in hostile territory, playing to a 1-1 draw that left us in a respectable position for the home tie. I wasn't prepared, however, for what happened next. We rolled to a 5-0 result at our European "home," Thomond Park in Limerick.



That surprising victory put us in the Champions Playoff for the second straight year. You can see how much better the coefficients for the seeded teams are...and you can also see we're not considered the weakest of the unseeded teams this time around!

We drew Red Bull Salzburg, so we got to travel to one of Europe's most beautiful cities. We pulled off an impressive upset at Thomond Park, getting the game's only goal in the first minute of the match. Advancing full back David Kinsella was barged over in the penalty area, and David White converted from the spot.

The magic finally ended in Salzburg, where we lost 3-0. I can't complain. The last time we lost a game of football was 22 February, when Crystal Palace beat us in a friendly we arranged when we sold them Patrick Lynch.

Speaking of Lynch, he broke his ankle in early March and was out of commission for three months. Since then, he's been playing for Palace's U21 team, and they'd like to send him out on loan.

Yes, I'm thinking about bringing him in when the loan window opens again.

Last edited by Greyfriars Bobby : 08-05-2019 at 07:51 PM.
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Old 08-05-2019, 10:46 PM   #84
thehitcat
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greyfriars Bobby View Post
1 September 2017

Speaking of Lynch, he broke his ankle in early March and was out of commission for three months. Since then, he's been playing for Palace's U21 team, and they'd like to send him out on loan.

Yes, I'm thinking about bringing him in when the loan window opens again.

Might be time to bring my jersey back out of the closet
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Old 08-05-2019, 11:48 PM   #85
Greyfriars Bobby
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Join Date: Sep 2013
17 September 2017

Our progress in the European Champions Cup put €2.1 million into our bank account, and as we're moving into the Group Stage of the EURO cup now, we've banked another €1.3 million. Our cash balance is now almost €5.8 million, which is huge for an Irish club.



Speaking of the EURO Cup, look at that group! I have no illusions of making it to the knockout stage, but it will still be fun to take the pitch against another assortment of some of Europe's most illustrious teams.



I've used the League Cup and Senior Challenge Cup as opportunities to rotate the squad. I realized I hadn't given my "cup warriors" the credit they deserve. Pasquale Van Daele, in particular, has been impressive, with a hat trick in each of the competitions. PVD has lost his place in our first eleven to Colin Fearn, but he is still our captain and he's handled his new role with professionalism and class.

PVD will be among the strong, positive personalities I hope will help shape the development of our newest youth class. Here they are:



Owen Gaffney might be the star pupil. He's a flair player, a slick passer with a silky first touch. Owen isn't terribly interested in things like marking or tackling, but he's a fairly hard worker.

Then again, Owen might not be the most promising player in the class at his position. Chris Feeney is a very similar player, a creative force in the middle of the park. My staff tell me looks forward to big matches, and his determination is higher than Owen's.

Ole Morten Reinum, who guided their development in our youth program, rates Conor Cretaro as the best prospect in the group. He's a nippy forward with a poacher's instinct. Some of our coaches point out his inconsistency, his one-footedness, and his selfishness. Conor is far from a polished player, but Reinum says the potential is there.

It doesn't look like a very deep class, and the three most promising players are a long way from the first team. And, none of the three look like they're great fits for my system. Only time will tell.
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Old 08-11-2019, 02:19 AM   #86
Greyfriars Bobby
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Originally Posted by thehitcat View Post
Might be time to bring my jersey back out of the closet

I'll definitely find out if Crystal Palace would be interested in loaning him to us. However, as hard as it is to admit, I'm not sure what I would do with him.

Patrick's natural position is AM(C), which I don't use in my formation. I played him at striker or at AM(R) when he was here, but since he left, I've upgraded those positions significantly.

Our new front man, Kevin O'Shea, has been fantastic. He's hit 28 goals in 39 appearances (33 starts), which is twice as many as any forward I've had here. He's also contributed 10 assists...so he's had a hand in 38 goals. That's a fantastic output.

Take a look at how he compares with Lynch, attribute-wise.



They are very similar players, but O'Shea is better...at least for now. Lynch is only 18, while Kevin is 24.

Our new right winger, David White, has also been a great addition to the team. His 12 goals are second on the team, and he has 6 assists.

Here's how he and Patrick compare:



Again, the two players are quite similar. White is a more technically adept player, with a bit more in his attacking toolbox. Lynch is much better in the air, a quality you usually associate more with a center forward than a wide man.

In short, I'm not sure Patrick Lynch would walk into the Galway team right now. If he's willing to accept a supporting role--and if Palace are willing to send him here to play one--I'd still love to have him back in burgundy and white.
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Old 08-12-2019, 01:30 PM   #87
thehitcat
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Join Date: Feb 2007
Funny thing about that lad Kevin and yours truly in real life is that we share a surname. Perhaps it's time for a new jersey
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Old 08-12-2019, 02:28 PM   #88
Greyfriars Bobby
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Originally Posted by thehitcat View Post
Funny thing about that lad Kevin and yours truly in real life is that we share a surname. Perhaps it's time for a new jersey

That's cool! Maybe he's your cousin.

Kevin has the number 9 shirt, and unless a bigger club comes calling, he should make it his own. Kevin is 25, and my coaching staff believe he's playing at close to his full potential. That makes it unlikely a team like Crystal Palace will come for him, the way they did for a teenager like Lynch.

Thanks for following along.
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Old 08-12-2019, 06:21 PM   #89
Greyfriars Bobby
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Join Date: Sep 2013
24 September 2017

There have been four matches involving Galway United Football Club over the course of the past week, and each was interesting in its own way.

The first was a Premier Division fixture at home to Shelbourne. Our performance was delightfully typical of our play in the league this year: a 3-0 victory, behind goals by Barry Asher, Colin Fearn, and Roy Murphy. Other typical elements included a clean sheet for Darcy Bradford, his 16th in league competition; 60% possession, which was just over our season's rate of 59.13%; and a pass completion rate of 80%. We put 9 shots on target, while our defense was so tight that Bradford was only called upon twice.



Gareth Kearney set up Fearn's goal, and that allowed him to break his own team record for assists. He's got quite a few more chances to increase that total before the end of the season, too.

The next day, I watched our youth candidates play our Under 19s. The U19 side is a strong one. Through 18 matches, they are 13-2-3 (W-D-L), eight points clear at the top of the Irish Under 19s Group 1 table. The team that turned out to face the Youth Candidates included four U19 internationals: goalkeeper Michael Gill, defender Mike Devaney, and midfielder Gareth Hutton for Ireland and Mikael Riseth for Norway. I wasn't surprised to see the Youthers struggle against a side this strong. Hutton bossed the midfield, and his perfectly-weighted through ball played in Riseth for a goal. The 3-0 scoreline actually flattered the Youthers. After the match, I offered contracts to six of the lads, and I'm still thinking about giving an offer to a couple more.

On the 21st, we traveled to Denmark for our first EURO Cup group match. FC København pay their star man, Kent Stensgaard, €22,000 per week. Our entire weekly wage bill is just over €24,000. It's safe to say they are a much bigger club.

Before a crowd of over 20,000 at their Telia Parken grounds, we pulled off a surprising 2-1 victory! Kevin O'Shea took a pass from Gareth Kearney and fired across Anette Kjærgaard's goal to give us a lead on 36 minutes. Just after the interval, København's South Korean international, Kim Byung-ki, took David White down inside the penalty area. DW did the honors from the penalty spot, and we went up by two. The Danes pulled one back, but we headed back to Galway with our first-ever victory in the EURO Cup.

Today was the final of the League Cup, against Sligo Rovers at Oriel Park in Dundalk. I rotated the team completely, since there's another Premier Division fixture in TWO DAYS...

Veteran goalkeeper Kieran Forde got to captain the team today. He was delighted to wear the armband, and I think it's a fitting reward for a true professional.

Rovers had a player sent off for two yellow cards in the first eight minutes of the match. Ten minutes later, Kieron Russell scored, and before the half, their goalkeeper pushed a Mikael Riseth shot into his own goal. We held on for a 2-0 victory. Young center back Conor Quinn was Man of the Match, winning 12 of 13 aerial duels and making 20 interceptions. Quinn has worked very diligently in training--I've complimented his work ethic on several occasions--and he's earned himself a promotion to the first team.



We're still playing in the Challenge Cup, with a Semi Final date with Dundalk on 8 October. And, we're still top of the league.

Could we end the season with five trophies?

Let's do it.
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Old 08-13-2019, 10:20 AM   #90
Greyfriars Bobby
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Join Date: Sep 2013
29 September 2017








If we beat Drogheda United at Eamonn Deacy Park today, the title was ours. We could also sew it up with a draw if Dundalk lost away to Derry City.

The Drogs did what every club in Ireland does when they play us, especially when they travel to Galway: put ten men behind the ball and hope for a set piece or a lucky counter-attack. They employed this tactic better than most, and the match ended in a 0-0 draw.

Meanwhile, at the Brandywell, Ireland U21 forward Darren Anderson's goal gave Derry City a 2-1 victory over Dundalk. That was enough to put us over the line.

We have eight matches remaining in our league programme. I'll have time to give some playing time to loyal club servants who have lost their places in the first team, and also to blood some youngsters. I'll be able to field strong teams in the EURO Cup, and go all in for the Challenge Cup Final.

It's a good time to be a Tribesman.
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