Front Office Football Central  

Go Back   Front Office Football Central > Main Forums > Dynasty Reports
Register FAQ Members List Calendar Mark Forums Read Statistics

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old 03-16-2019, 08:47 AM   #1
Greyfriars Bobby
High School Varsity
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Returning to Galway (FM 15)

This dynasty has been inspired by a very cool story.

My middle child, Claire, is about to turn 12. She's in the sixth grade. An amazing history teacher, who has taught both of my older kids, encouraged her and her classmates to research their own personal histories for a class project back in the fall. That assignment sparked her interest in finding out even more about the history of our family.

Both my wife and I have roots in Ireland. I've known my family came from Galway for as long as I can remember, so I was able to tell Claire that much about my ancestry. She took it from there and, according to my Dad, she now knows more about our family story than any living relative.

Watching her excitement over each new discovery has been a fascinating, enjoyable experience. Last night, the whole family ended up in our playroom, doing various things--reading, watching a movie, playing a board game. Claire was curled up beside me on the couch, looking up more information about Galway on her iPad. That gave me an idea. I think I'd like to return to my ancestral home--at least virtually--through a Football Manager career.

I tried writing about a managerial career in Galway a few years ago, but the dynasty never really got going very well. That was long before my curious daughter took an interest in our family's heritage. Now, the idea of managing Galway United FC seems even more fun than it did before. Claire likes Dad's idea, too. She plays soccer herself; she's been in a club team for three years now, and she's recently begun her first season with her middle school side.

I'll be playing FM 15, and I'm using "fake players." I don't like seeing black silhouettes on my players' pages, and the FM 15 images look like humans (recent Football Manager editions use 3D images that can be positively creepy).

I'll be back shortly with some information about the club, and then the story will begin. Claire and I hope you'll enjoy following along.

Greyfriars Bobby is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-16-2019, 09:22 AM   #2
Greyfriars Bobby
High School Varsity
 
Join Date: Sep 2013

Galway United FC were founded as Galway Rovers in the Claddagh district of the city of Galway. The club's website says the club was formed in 1937, but the Galway Advertiser reported a club by that name won a local competition in 1933. Perhaps it's the same club; who knows?

Rovers joined the League of Ireland in 1977. Their first goal in League play was scored by a 19-year-old left back called Eamonn Deacy. Two years later, Deacy signed with Aston Villa, where he was part of a side that won the English League Championship, the European Cup, and the European Super Cup. Deacy returned home to Galway in 1984, and went on to make over 200 appearances for the club. He was also capped four times by Ireland before he retired in 1991.

After Deacy died of a heart attack in 2012, the club's stadium was renamed Eamonn Deacy Park.


As the 2014 season begins, United are playing in the League of Ireland First Division, the second division of Irish football. The club are nicknamed the Tribesmen after the Tribes of Galway, a group of fourteen prominent local families.



United's kit is simple, but I like it. Claire's younger sister Beth especially likes the green shirt.

The League of Ireland plays a summer schedule, like several other northern European nations and the USA. I'll return with a look at the team after I play through the preseason.

Last edited by Greyfriars Bobby : 03-16-2019 at 09:32 AM.
Greyfriars Bobby is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-16-2019, 11:32 AM   #3
Greyfriars Bobby
High School Varsity
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
6 March 2014

Tomorrow is Opening Day for the First Division programme. Here are the players I'll have at my disposal as the season begins. The star ratings come from my assistant manager, Ronan Smith. I trust his evaluations, since his ratings for Judging Current Ability and Judging Potential Ability are 14 apiece.

Goalkeepers


I had only two 'keepers in the team when I took over, so I wanted to add another right away. I brought in Bradford on a year-long loan from Sunderland. The young English gloveman is quick, agile, and communicates well with his defense. Byrne is a big lad, good in the air. Jimmy O'Connor is a fine shot stopper with great determination. All three 'keepers played quite a bit in preseason, and they all did well enough that I wouldn't hesitate to play any of them in a meaningful game. Bradford is first choice, but not by much.


Defenders


My wide defenders are wing backs, so I need them to be hard-working and skilled enough to present a bit of offensive threat. Left back Díaz is well-suited for this role, and his long throw is a powerful weapon. Woods will play on the right. He is a determined, hard-tackling defender, but he's not quite as polished as Díaz.

I was happy to see a ball-playing defender like Murphy in the team. He is brave, determined, and composed, and he is very good in the air. I wish he saw the field a bit better, but he'll do. Either Reilly or Mark Molloy will be Murphy's partner. Molloy is fast, and will get the nod against teams that feature especially pacy strikers. Reilly is a natural leader, whose commitment and determination have earned him the captain's armband. All three of these players will find themselves on the team sheet most of the time, and Glynn isn't a bad choice, either.

Longworth and Connolly are versatile young players who should be valuable backups.


Midfielders


I'm playing a formation FM calls 4-1-2-3 Wide DM. It employs a holding midfielder in front of the defense, two central players in front of him, and two advanced wide midfielders, which looks like 4-3-3 when we have the ball. When we're defending, the defensive midfielder drops back between the center halves, who can then push forward a bit more.

I didn't have a suitable DM in the team when I took over, so I tasked Ronan Smith with finding one. He suggested I take a look at Aaron O'Connor, and I'm glad he did. Aaron should be an ideal fit, with an ideal set of attributes for the Half Back role.

One of the central midfielders plays a fairly generic supporting role in the middle of the park. Reilly is probably the best choice here, with his solid positional sense and his non-stop engine.

The other CM is an Advanced Playmaker, much more of an attacking player. Russell has the creativity and technical skill I'm looking for in my midfield conductor.

Jamaican right winger Watson's electric pace makes him a dangerous weapon. He led the team with four goals in preseason play.

I brought in veteran Talsma to man the left wing. How did a Dutchman get into an Irish team? My son Blake is an Ajax fan, and I gave him a shout-out by making my manager have Holland as a second nationality. That's how I found Talsma, a classy player with a well-rounded game.

Ryan is a decent footballer who can play several positions, but he has a few really weak attributes (Composure and Determination, in particular) that keep him from being a regular first choice. I'm going to make sure promising Connolly gets plenty of playing time, either with the senior team or the Under 19s. He can play a variety of roles in the middle of the park. John O'Connor is a very promising youngster who can play all along the left side. Matthews runs like the wind, but he's not too useful otherwise.


Attackers


I am still working out the best possible role for my striker. My first instinct is to use the Complete Forward, if such a thing exists in the Irish First Division. Joyce is the closest thing I have to this player. He's an old school number 9, strong and tough.

McCabe played well in two friendlies before he pulled his hamstring. When he returns, he'll make a good backup, with lots of pace. Collins, who can also play out wide, offers even more speed.

Versatile Cronin can do a job in all three attacking roles. He's a flair player with a silky first touch. Mark Molloy can lead the line, too, and he got a goal in one of our preseason matches.


Overall Impressions
The top team in the First Division is automatically promoted to the Premiership. The next two clubs face each other in a Playoff, and the winner goes up, too. My board expect me to lead the team to the Playoff, and according to the League Preview, that's a fair expectation. Longford are the bookmakers' choice to win the league, on 1-2 odds, while we and Shelbourne are next, each on Evens.

We should be a good side, if a few of our key players fit the roles I've given for them as well as I think they will. Murphy and Joyce are examples of these, players whom my staff rate as bang average, but whose particular abilities will hopefully enable them to play like stars in my system.

I had room in my wage budget to bring in Aaron O'Connor and Talsma, whom my staff consider two of the three best players in the team. I don't see any reason why they won't be among the best players in the whole division.

There are, however, a few things about this team I'm not crazy about. Compared to the other teams in the league, our players lack the ability to make good decisions, and they aren't terribly hard workers. A high work rate is part of the DNA of any team I manage, and fixing this issue is one of my long term plans for the club. I'd like to see a bit more steel in my midfielders, and better positioning from my defenders.

Last edited by Greyfriars Bobby : 03-16-2019 at 09:24 PM.
Greyfriars Bobby is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-16-2019, 09:13 PM   #4
Izulde
Head Coach
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Hopefully you'll be able to stick with this one long-term (Yes, I realize the hypocrisy here from me )
__________________
2006 Golden Scribe Nominee
2006 Golden Scribe Winner
Best Non-Sport Dynasty: May Our Reign Be Green and Golden (CK Dynasty)

Rookie Writer of the Year
Dynasty of the Year: May Our Reign Be Green and Golden (CK Dynasty)
Izulde is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-16-2019, 09:23 PM   #5
Greyfriars Bobby
High School Varsity
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Quote:
Originally Posted by Izulde View Post
Hopefully you'll be able to stick with this one long-term (Yes, I realize the hypocrisy here from me )

We're hoping the same thing! If anyone can relate to my situation, it's you.

Thanks for stopping by, and I hope you'll keep following along. It's encouraging to know someone out there is reading what I write here.
Greyfriars Bobby is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-18-2019, 07:17 PM   #6
Greyfriars Bobby
High School Varsity
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
1 April 2014



The best word to describe the first month of our season is “blah.” In four games, we’ve scored two goals and conceded three. Rather unfortunately, those goals have been combined to create a situation in which we’ve taken only four points, and we find ourselves in a rather “blah” sixth place in the eight-team First Division.

For the one match we won, away to Finn Harps, I switched from our usual 4-3-3 shape to an old reliable 4-4-2. Scout Robert Fadden told me Harps might struggle against a formation with two strikers, and Fadden’s report was spot on. However, our next opponent was a good Longford side who eat 4-4-2 for breakfast. We went back to 4-3-3, and lost when they converted a penalty in the fifth minute.

I like the 4-4-3; it allows me to put our best eleven players on the pitch, and it’s been very solid defensively. Aaron O’Connor has played the DM role perfectly, dropping back to give us a five-man back line when the other team has the ball, and contributing to our transition to offense by providing an outlet for our defenders and making smart passes.

But, as you can see, we’ve struggled to score. I can never seem to get the striker’s role right when I play a formation with one man up front. I’m using the Complete Forward role in this formation, and it hasn’t quite gelled yet. Gary Joyce isn’t a bad choice for the role, but he’s yet to impose his will upon a match. I’ll be patient while the lads learn the tactic, but before long, I might have to think about some changes.
Greyfriars Bobby is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-19-2019, 06:12 PM   #7
Greyfriars Bobby
High School Varsity
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
1 May 2014



Our first match of April saw us at home to a Wexford Youths side that is walking the league right now. I tried the 4-4-2 again, because Youths struggled a bit against a team playing that formation earlier in the season. Not this time. They carved us up like a roast.

Two days later, Gary Joyce pulled his hamstring in training. As those things go, it could have been worse—physio Shane McNally predicted Gary might be back in a month—but it meant the 4-4-2 probably wouldn’t be a good option for a while. So I’m back to my 4-3-3 again, with Martin McCabe leading the line.

Poor Gary might have a hard time getting back into the eleven, because Martin has four goals in his last three games. Even more importantly, we’ve taken seven points over that stretch, and we’ve climbed up to third. We’ve had to contend with a few other injuries, but fortunately they were minor ones. Aaron O’Connor and Rudmer Talsma both missed a game (not the same game, thank goodness).

I like to build my teams around a strong spine. I look for a dependable, resilient goalkeeper; a pair of imperious center halves; a combination of players with steel and guile in the central midfield; a striker (or two) with a nose for goal. I’m not sure if that’s a traditional way to construct a side, but it fits my own managerial philosophy. I’m fairly happy with the heart of the team I inherited in Galway, but I’m nonetheless looking to strengthen it, too.

To provide some depth in the middle of the park, I signed Stephen Spillane, who’s currently playing on an amateur contract for a small club from Dublin called Collinstown F.C. Spillane is 21, and I like the strength of his mental game a lot (Determination 14, Teamwork 12, Decisions 12, Work Rate 12). He plays with a bit of edge (Bravery 13, Aggression 14), but he also sees the pitch well and displays a decent passing range (Vision 12). I’m envisioning him as a reliable reserve who can back up all the members of our central midfield trio.

I finished third in the balloting for Manager of the Month, which was a nice bit of recognition.
Greyfriars Bobby is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-22-2019, 07:57 PM   #8
Greyfriars Bobby
High School Varsity
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
1 June 2014



We’re riding a wave of excellent form into our midseason break. We haven’t lost a league match in almost two months now, and we’ve surged into second place. I have to tip my cap to Wexford Youths, who refuse to let us close within four points of them.



I’m very pleased with our defensive performance. We went 334 minutes without conceding a goal in the league before Wexford Youths finally breached Darcy Bradford's goal on 16 May—but that goal made the score 3-1 to the good guys, so it was relatively harmless.

Bradford has been excellent, and so have the defenders in front of him. Everpresent wingbacks Kenneth Díaz and Alan Woods have done everything I’ve asked of them, and Roy Murphy has been nothing but fantastic at center back. He leads the division in interceptions and key aerial challenges. There have been matches, such as at Cobh Ramblers (16/20 headers won, 24 interceptions) and at home to Finn Harps (20/28 headers won, 23 interceptions) when Roy was truly imperious. Mark Molloy seems to have locked down the spot beside Murphy with a succession of very solid performances. He’s keeping captain David Reilly on the bench, through no fault of David’s.

I rotated in the backups in the cup matches, and we ended up losing both of them. Among them were two new men I brought into the team. Barry McGee is a versatile midfielder with very good ball skills and strong mental attributes. He also has a Fairly Professional personality, and might make a very good tutor for younger players.

Paul O'Keefe is our other newcomer. I was delighted to find a well-rounded young player (he's 20) who is content to be a backup, at least for now. Paul is also a very good set piece taker. He’s been starting on the left wing lately, while Rudger Tolsma recovers from injury, and he was named Man of Match for bagging two goals against Longford in his first League start.

Speaking of injury, Gary Joyce is hurt again. This time it's his knee, and he might be out for two months. I'm wondering if he'll be one of those players whom the injury bug won't stop biting. Martin McCabe will be leading the line in Gary's absence, and if he goes back to banging them in, who knows how much longer he'll have the job?



I got a nice honor this month, too.

Last edited by Greyfriars Bobby : 03-22-2019 at 07:59 PM.
Greyfriars Bobby is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-22-2019, 10:30 PM   #9
Greyfriars Bobby
High School Varsity
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
27 June 2014

Our first match after the break was at home to Cobh Ramblers on the 20th. They were fourth in the table, but they led the league in goals and came into the match on a run of good form.

We spent a lot of time buzzing around Ramblers' goal. Gerry Foley made three outstanding stops, denying David Reilly, Martin McCabe, and Roy Murphy in turn. On the other end of the pitch, Murphy and Mark Molloy led a stout defense that kept Ramblers from testing Darcy Bradford once.

Finally, in the 84th minute, Damion Watson rattled Foley's crossbar from 25 yards. In the ensuing scramble for the ball, Ramblers left back Noel Holohan--a very good player--knocked the ball in his own goal. It was messy, but we'll take it.

Meanwhile, Longford striker Mark Tiernan fired in his league-best eighth goal of the season to see off Wexford Youths, 2-1. We were now within a point of the lead!

Today, Waterford United came to Eamonn Deacy Park and took an early lead through Jamie Long. Seven minutes later, Martin McCabe drew us level. We added two more goals in the second half--one more from McCabe and one from Watson--and left with all three points.

Wexford Youths were at home at Ferrycarrig Park, hosting Shelbourne...



Go you Shels!



I like seeing that little green dot beside Galway Utd.
Greyfriars Bobby is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-23-2019, 01:00 PM   #10
Greyfriars Bobby
High School Varsity
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
8 July 2014

The transfer window opened on 1 July. I knew Stephen Spillane and Ryan Thornton would be joining the team--we'd made those arrangements back in April--but I wasn't really prepared for the other change that occurred the next day.

Brian Glynn hadn't played much for us during the first half of the season. Roy Murphy and Mark Molloy have been spectacular, and Brian can't play anywhere but center back. When I gave him a start in the Senior Challenge Cup tie, he was booked twice and sent off.

Derry City are currently trying to stay above the relegation places in the Premier Division. They aren't having a good season, but they are a bigger club, so I was surprised when they made a transfer offer for Glynn. They weren't offering any money; they probably don't have any more money for transfers than we do (zero). They turned Brian's head, though, and he cooed to the press about how much he'd like to join Derry City. I gave him his wishes, accepted the transfer, and took €300 off our wage bill.

Ryan Thornton can take his place on our team sheet, and he did just that when we played Shamrock Rovers B in Dublin. We won, 3-1, to go five points clear at the top of the table. I'm starting to see some signs of complacency when we take a lead. Kieron Russell is the worst offender, but one or two other lads are starting to pick up on his mood.

After the match, the board offered me two things:
  1. The opportunity to add another €500 to the wage budget in exchange for a revised goal: winning the league. I decided to take it. I had almost maxed out our budget, and we'll be getting our youth intake soon. I'd like to have room to sign some of the youngsters if they're good enough.
  2. A new contract!



There is another side of our success, one that could make things a bit difficult. Premier Division teams are flirting with a few more of our players now. Mark Molloy, David Reilly, and Alan Woods are all being targeted by bigger clubs. Reilly is gushing about how much he'd like to play for Bohemians.

He's our captain, but if he doesn't cut out the coyness, he might not be wearing a Galway shirt much longer.
Greyfriars Bobby is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-23-2019, 09:11 PM   #11
Greyfriars Bobby
High School Varsity
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
1 August 2014



I'd be lying if I said I thought this was coming. I figured we would be among the league's stronger teams. We're a big club by First Division standings. Our wage budget is bigger than any team in the league besides Shamrock Rovers B, and that reflects the Premier Division status of Rovers' senior team. Still, I didn't think we'd be good enough to lead the league by eleven points with nine matches to play.



We ground out a character-building win at home to Wexford Youths, and Gary Joyce celebrated his return to health and the first eleven with a brace at Longford. Wide man Rudner Talsma wasn't so lucky. He'd only been on the pitch for eight minutes in his return to action before he injured himself again. It will be nearly September before we see him back on the pitch.

It will be next season before we see David Reilly in a Galway shirt again. I hate to send the club captain out on loan, but Bohemians were willing to pay his wages for the rest of the season. It seemed odd to me that a player who was struggling for playing time here would be that attractive to a team at a higher level, but football is strange sometimes. David did say complimentary things about wanting to improve for the sake of our club, so he left on better-than-expected terms. Mark Molloy will wear the armband for the remainder of our season.



I wonder how long we can keep it going? It's been a fun ride, that's for sure.
Greyfriars Bobby is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-23-2019, 09:11 PM   #12
JonInMiddleGA
Hall Of Famer
 
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Behind Enemy Lines in Athens, GA
{reading}
__________________
"I lit another cigarette. Unless I specifically inform you to the contrary, I am always lighting another cigarette." - from a novel by Martin Amis
JonInMiddleGA is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 03-24-2019, 08:58 AM   #13
Greyfriars Bobby
High School Varsity
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Quote:
Originally Posted by JonInMiddleGA View Post
{reading}

Thanks for reading, and thanks for letting me know, Jon. It's fun to write for the forum, but it can be a very lonely process. A simple reply like yours can be encouraging, so I appreciate it.
Greyfriars Bobby is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-24-2019, 12:34 PM   #14
Greyfriars Bobby
High School Varsity
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
29 August 2014



We're going up as champions!!!

We clinched the title with a comfortable four matches to spare. The deciding game was far from a classic, as we drew 0-0 at home with a Finn Harps side who couldn't manage to get a shot off against us, and whom we'd outscored 7-0 in our three previous matchups.

(Yes, the Irish First Division has only eight teams, so you get to know your opponents very well.)

One point turned out to be enough, thanks to Cobh Ramblers, who saw off Longford, 3-2.



I'll have an opportunity to play some of the backups now, which might help me decide what changes I'll want to make as we prepare for the Premier Division.



If the board stick with this budget, I'll have almost FOUR TIMES as much money to spend on wages as I do now! That made me curious, so I looked at the Premier Division squad lists, and it doesn't look like any club is paying its players anywhere close to that amount. I won't be surprised if the board ends up giving me much less money to work with next year.

By the way, my daughter Claire is delighted to see "her team" lift a trophy in Dad's first season.
Greyfriars Bobby is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-24-2019, 03:49 PM   #15
Chas in Cinti
High School Varsity
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Cincinnati, OH
I'm along for the ride as well... always a sucker for a good FM story...
__________________
Email: [email protected]
Chas in Cinti is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-24-2019, 07:24 PM   #16
Greyfriars Bobby
High School Varsity
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
12 September 2014

Our Head of Youth Development, Pat O'Connell, presented the 2014 class of youth graduates this week. Pat's favorite formation is 4-4-1-1, so the class is short on players who can fill the DM role. Otherwise, we got a good, balanced assortment of players we can use.



My staff think Johnny McEntee is the most promising player in the class. He has the makings of a creative, skilled midfield creator. Some of his mental attributes--anticipation, concentration, and positioning--are alarmingly low, but with careful training, we could have a future star.

I also like Anton Zonneveld, a product of my manager character's Dutch roots. Anton is a tall, athletic left-footed center half. Like McEntee, he'll need to develop the mental side of his game, but he's well on his way to being a productive player.

Andy Sheridan could be our goalkeeper of the future, if he can overcome his lack of height. Unless I can manage to persuade Darcy Bradford to return to Eamonn Deacy Park for another year, I'll need a goalkeeper sooner rather than later. Whoever is between the posts might only be keeping the spot warm for Sheridan's eventual arrival.

Those three are the most promising, but there's more. I like defenders Jimmy Chambers and Ryan Dornan; the latter has a Professional personality already. So does quick winger Alan Curran.

I'm disappointed that several of the lads have Low Determination. Pat O'Connell's personality is Balanced and his Determination score is a respectable 13, so I'm not sure who spit in the well. There are a couple decent players who suffer from this lack of tenacity.

I've never done much with tutoring, but I think I'll give it a try with this class. It has the makings of a very solid group of players, given the right kind of nurturing.

Yesterday, the Youth Candidates played our Under 19s to a 1-1 draw, and after the match, I signed the lot of them to youth contracts. They'll fill out our U19 side for the remainder of the season.
Greyfriars Bobby is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-26-2019, 04:57 PM   #17
Greyfriars Bobby
High School Varsity
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Offseason 2014/15



The rest of the 2014 season passed uneventfully. My plans to give the backups some playing time backfired; I rotated them in for one match and they played horribly, and our other games had implications for a dandy fight for the Playoff places. Those went to Cobh Ramblers and Wexford Youths by the narrowest of margins, and an in-form Ramblers side won the right to go up by a 6-2 aggregate score. They'll be joining us in the Premier Division next season.



If you've been following along, the choices for the Best Eleven weren't hard to predict. Paul O'Keefe snagged a spot by taking advantage of Rudmer Talsma's repeated trips to the physio room and playing very well to boot.



For those of you (like me) who enjoy the numbers, here are the 2014 stats for our most frequently used players.

Surprise of the Season (pleasant): Mark Molloy
When the season opened, I had Mark pegged as a rotation option. He turned out to be a much, much better player than that. He scored six times--as a center back, in a league where the top scorer had 14. Mark received some post-season honors too; more on that later.

Surprise of the Season (unpleasant): David Reilly
I wonder how many managers make a player team captain, watch him lose his job, and end up loaning him out (per his request) in order to get him any playing time? I'm not sure he'll be back for 2015.



At first I thought they got this one badly wrong, and then I realized young Garreth did all that scoring in three-quarters of a season. The top scorer in the league had 14 goals in 28 games. Well played, O'Brien.

It was good to see Kieron Russell get some love. He was our team's creative heartbeat. He might not have been the best player in our team, however...





As good as Russell was, Roy Murphy was even better. Look back up at his defensive statistics. Those interceptions and headers won represent a lot of opposing attacks squelched, and who knows how many possible goals prevented? Roy was the very definition of an "imperious center half."



I've already extended Darcy Bradford's loan for the first few months of next season. He goes out of contract then, and I'm going to see if we can sign him outright. He was simply outstanding for us, and I think he'll be able to make the leap to Premier Division football without missing a beat. He's also only 20 years old.

Here's the First Division Team of the Year:


How unusual is that? Our 'keeper and back four, Ramblers' midfielders, and Wexford's forwards.

Wingbacks Kenneth Díaz and Alan Woods did everything I asked of them, and more. I admittedly love having a player in the team who can perform a powerful long throw. KD filled that bill perfectly. I think three of his five assists came on balls he fired into the penalty area. He's also our assistant captain.

Woods played every minute of every league game for us, and that fact says it all about his dependability and performance. He plays like a veteran, and he's still only 20 himself.

There will be a few new faces around Eamonn Deacy Park next season. I'll be back with some information about the changes soon.
Greyfriars Bobby is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-26-2019, 05:17 PM   #18
Greyfriars Bobby
High School Varsity
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Offseason 2014/15

The contracts of all the members of my backroom staff expired on 31 December. I'd already decided to offer new deals to our physio, Shane McNally, and our fitness coach, Richard Shanahan. They're both excellent at their specialties: Shane has a 17 rating for Physiotherapy and Richard a 16 for Fitness Coaching.

I drew on my manager's Dutch roots to fill three other staff positions. I had no real problem with Ronan Smith's performance as my assistant, but when I saw Dennis de Jonge might be interested in joining us, I couldn't resist. Look at his attributes!



I made Dennis an offer, and to my delight, he accepted. I'm not sure how long we can keep a coach of his ability, but it will be fun while it lasts.

Pepijn Cairo is joining the team as a general coach. He's a very good defensive coach and provides solid guidance on the mental aspects of the game. He's also good with younger players.

Our third Dutch import is head scout Wouter Beentjes. He's young (30), hard-working, and very astute for his age. He also prefers the 4-1-2-3 DM Wide formation we play at Galway United.

And, finally, I think I discovered a real hidden gem in our new Head of Youth Development, Ole Morten Reinum. He played 42 times for Norway, and he's familiar with the entire Nordic area. I'm wondering if his connections will give us the opportunity to find some players from his part of the world. Best of all, he has a Model Professional personality.

I suppose there might be some people out there who think I should fill my staff with Irishmen, but the qualifications of my new colleagues speak for themselves in any language--be it Dutch, Norwegian, or English.
Greyfriars Bobby is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-26-2019, 08:42 PM   #19
Greyfriars Bobby
High School Varsity
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
12 February 2015


The Irish Premier Division is called the SSE Airtricity League for sponsorship purposes. There are 12 teams in the division, and each team plays every other opponent three times. That means we'll play some opponents twice at home, and others only once.

Here's the league table from 2014.



Limerick and Bray Wanderers were relegated to the First Division, making room for us and Cobh Ramblers.

I think Ireland receive one spot in the Champions League and three in the Europa League. The fact that we play summer football makes the schedule a bit harder to follow. I'll pay attention to that and revise it if I need to.



It's pretty clear that the "experts" think there's a Big Four, maybe a Big Five, in Ireland. I'm somewhat pleasantly surprised to see us tipped for a potential mid-table finish. I was wondering how much I might have to make my squad over in order to stay up, and it seems I might not have to change much more than I already have.

More on that, soon.
Greyfriars Bobby is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-27-2019, 01:53 PM   #20
Greyfriars Bobby
High School Varsity
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
6 March 2015

The preseason is complete, and we're ready to begin our Premier Division campaign. You'll recognize most of the names in this feature on the 2015 Galway United team.


Goalkeepers


Bradford will be in a Galway shirt for good on 1 July, when his contract with Sunderland expires and he signs for us. After his outstanding performance last year, I'm delighted to have him back.

Byrne and O'Connor are adequate backups, who might get a cup game here and there. Darcy is the unquestioned number one, however.


Defenders


All four starting defenders from last season made the 2014 First Division Team of the Year, and they'll have the opportunity to show what they can do at a higher level this season.

Murphy is the star, a formidable center half who is tidy with the ball, too. Molloy was attracting interest from St. Pat's and at one point was on the verge of asking for a move so he could play European football. I managed to convince him to stick around, but the situation bears watching.

Woods and Díaz were as reliable as the sunrise last year. They both had very good preseasons, including solid performances against Premier Division opponents.

Sikumoya is in on a year-long loan from Chelsea. As you might expect from a player trained by one of the biggest clubs in Europe, he is skilled and athletic, and he can play all along the back line and as a holding midfielder. Aaron will definitely be the primary backup for both wide defenders--that's why I brought him in.

Connolly, Thornton, and Reilly will also be available. The first two are promising youngsters. Reilly is nominally the captain, but he might not see much playing time.


Midfielders


O'Connor didn't receive a lot of fanfare for his solid, consistent play last season. The holding role I have him playing doesn't afford him a lot of chance to shine, but his ability to shield the back four and make smart passes is vital to making our tactic work.

Ryan and Russell are both Galway lads who take a lot of pride in their club. Kieron plays farther up the pitch, and is our team's leading creative force. Billy is a versatile, all-action midfielder with an increasingly professional attitude about his craft.

Jamaican winger Watson brings his blistering pace back to the right wing, but he'll miss the first weeks of the season with knee ligament issues. He'll see plenty of Talsma in the physio room; the Dutch wide man is there yet again, this time for a sprained ankle.

Rudmer isn't getting any younger, he's hurt frequently, and he sometimes whinges about playing time when he's not hurt. I had my scout, Wooter Beentjes, look for another option at left wing.

Beentjes returned with Van Daele. I don't know whether the fact Hoek were willing to send Pasquale out on loan to us says more about the quality of the Irish Premier Division or that of the Dutch Hoofdklasse Zaterdag B. We had to pay his wages, but he's on €110/week. Most of our fringe players make three times that much.

Pasquale's technique is smooth, whether he's dribbling, passing, or crossing. He's fast enough to be dangerous. And he's absolutely rock-solid mentally--he's Hoek's team captain. If he's anywhere close to being as good as our staff (and I) think he is, he will be an absolute steal. He's ours for five months, at least.

You might have spotted a FIVE-STAR PLAYER on this list! Wooter Beentjes discovered Johansson playing for Frej in the Swedish Second Division. I checked out his profile and was immediately impressed. Peter is a cultured midfielder with the ability to play both in the middle of the park and on the wings. He's not flashy, but he works tirelessly and keeps his head in the game.

I took a flyer on him, seeing if his club would send him out on loan. They agreed, as long as we paid his wages--€550/week. That's well within our budget now, so we completed the paperwork and Peter got on a plane to Ireland. He'll probably start the season playing right wing while Watson heals. Wherever he plays, he should be an absolute boss.

My kids, who are taking quite an interest in Dad's game, have already nicknamed him, just in case he makes good. They love the Chronicles of Narnia, so now he's High King Peter.

Kelly and McManus are the other new names. Thomas was released by Derry City last year, and I picked him up as a squad player. We'd been looking at John all last year and couldn't afford him, but jumped at the chance to sign him from Letterkenny once we were promoted. He's a cross between Russell and Ryan, and will back both these lads up.


Attackers


McCabe was a very pleasant surprise last year. His pace wreaked havoc on First Division defenses; will it play as well in the top flight? Joyce, whom I brought in as a first-team striker, wasn't as effective, despite having a better assortment of attributes for the Complete Forward role.

Dennis de Jonge suggested we strengthen our strike force, so we took a look at West Ham's Nolan. He's an athletic forward and a clinical finisher, and he has the kind of personality I want in our team. Declan shares an agent with several of his teammates, including Malloy and O'Connor. In on a year-long loan deal, he will begin the season as our front man.

We signed free agent Kennedy this winter, too. Niall offers lots of pace, and he's an extremely unselfish, determined player. He's also studying for his coaching badges.

There might not be much room for Collins, but I like him and his Professional personality, so I'm keeping him around.


Bright Young Things


We were invited to play in the Irish Under 19 league, so our youth will get more regular playing time this season. Last year, I had to schedule a series of friendlies to get the young lads on the pitch.

Zonneveld and Sheridan both got significant playing time during the preseason, and neither looked out of place. I've signed both of them to pro contracts, along with Chambers, whom my staff rate much more highly now than they did before.

McEntee, whose meh personality might be one reason why his development has been sporadic so far, is now being tutored by McManus, one of the most determined players in the team. Hutton, on the other hand, is improving steadily and might be one of the best players in the U19 ranks now.

So Long, Farewell
Six players whose contracts ran out at the end of the 2014 season are not returning. We say goodbye to Conor Fitzpatrick, Dave Cronin, Jamie Longworth, Frankie Matthews, John O'Connor, and Barry McGee.

Matthews, who scored eight goals and assisted on eight others in U19 friendlies, will be the one we miss most. We couldn't agree on a contract, so he bade us farewell. McGee was also a useful player, but he can't do anything McManus can't do, and he's six years older.


The Big Picture
When I compare our team to the rest of the league, I'm optimistic about our chances to stay up. In fact, we look much more like a mid-table club than a relegation battler.

Last edited by Greyfriars Bobby : 03-27-2019 at 03:58 PM. Reason: Correcting a mistake with my roster
Greyfriars Bobby is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-27-2019, 02:54 PM   #21
Izulde
Head Coach
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Looks like your midfielders section got cropped. Your 3 most recent additions aren't on the pic
__________________
2006 Golden Scribe Nominee
2006 Golden Scribe Winner
Best Non-Sport Dynasty: May Our Reign Be Green and Golden (CK Dynasty)

Rookie Writer of the Year
Dynasty of the Year: May Our Reign Be Green and Golden (CK Dynasty)
Izulde is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-27-2019, 03:56 PM   #22
Greyfriars Bobby
High School Varsity
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Quote:
Originally Posted by Izulde View Post
Looks like your midfielders section got cropped. Your 3 most recent additions aren't on the pic

Good catch! That's last year's group. I'll edit and fix that.
Greyfriars Bobby is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-27-2019, 08:45 PM   #23
Greyfriars Bobby
High School Varsity
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
2 April 2015



We've had two wins, a draw, and a loss in our first four matches in the Premier Division. That puts us in fifth, behind Derry City on goal difference. I'm not the least bit disappointed with that. Our fellow promoted club, Cobh Ramblers, have played three games and lost three, scoring one goal and conceding seven. It could be a lot worse for us.

Oddly enough, we played Bohemians twice before we played anyone else. We opened our league campaign there, and came back after the weekend to face them in a League Cup tie. Not surprisingly, both Chris Doyle and I chose to play our backups in the Cup, and ours got the better of theirs, just as our first teamers did.

We played quite well against a strong Dundalk side, but we didn't take full advantage of our chances. If there's such a thing as a good two-nil loss, this would be it.

Did you notice that all four of the outfield players we have on loan have scored already? I think it's also interesting that Declan Nolan's goal is the only one scored by a center forward. I'm not sure if that's a problem, or not.



Kieron Russell was spectacular in both our victories, and very solid in our other matches. That combination was good enough to earn him the league's monthly honor.
Greyfriars Bobby is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-28-2019, 01:39 PM   #24
Greyfriars Bobby
High School Varsity
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
1 May 2015



Under the circumstances, which I'll explain in a bit, I'm very satisfied with our performance in April.

Almost as soon as March became April, I got bad news from our physio. Roy Murphy went down in training with a strained groin muscle, and we would be without his services for three weeks. I'd come to regard Roy as virtually indispensable. Our first match without him would be a tough one--away to St. Pat's Athletic--but fortunately for us, the next fixtures didn't look like they'd be quite as challenging.



We fell behind St. Pat's quickly, after Mark Molloy got turned every which way but loose by their tricky Icelandic forward Sigurður Kjartansson. We clawed our way back in, finally equalizing when Aaron O'Connor converted a penalty. At that point we were playing without three of our normal starting defenders; I'd subbed off both Molloy and Kenneth Díaz, after both (1) drew yellow cards and (2) generally played like donkeys.

I didn't start Molloy against Drogheda United, but I had to call on him when Alan Woods got a knock. Mark redeemed himself by heading in a corner and doing other Mark Molloy things. Declan Nolan took his brace very well, too...but as is often the case when we win, Kieron Russell was sublime. He completed 104 of 109 passes, including 5 key passes, and set up two of our goals. He also contributed five tackles, a fine performance by a creative player who nonetheless understands his role in our pressing defense.

Cobh Ramblers achieved a boring nil-nil draw by playing the worst kind of anti-football. They took only one shot and couldn't put it on net. They're overmatched in the Premier Division but, to their credit, they parked their bus extremely well.

Athlone Town are listed as one of our rivals but, strangely enough, we're not listed as one of theirs. I'm not sure what that means, but I approached this match with a derby mentality anyway. The media played up its importance, too.

Town are struggling so far this season, and we had no trouble with them. Roy Murphy got back on the pitch and made good use of his 60 minutes of action. Our victory meant we'd gone six matches without a loss.

That changed before a big, raucous crowd at Derry City. Again, Molloy was responsible for one of their goals. Mark made a hash of a simple backpass to Darcy Bradford and let their striker cut in front of him to square the ball to a teammate for an easy tap-in. Keep this up, Mark, and I'll let St. Pat's have you, mate.

I was approached by two teams for interviews this month: Bradford Park Avenue and Colwyn Bay. They both play in the English Conference North. I turned both of them down. Right now, I'm committed to staying in Galway (that's the premise of this story, after all). However, I am becoming increasingly frustrated by the attitude of the Galway Utd board. I've asked them more than once to allow me to increase the size of our coaching staff, because I'd like to bring in a goalkeeping coach. I'm tired of being told how they agree with my request, but don't have the money to fund it. It's true; we're a couple hundred thousand euro in the red. Nonetheless, it's annoying.

I'm wondering if a brief flirtation with another suitor might make my board more willing to listen to me...?

Last edited by Greyfriars Bobby : 03-28-2019 at 01:43 PM.
Greyfriars Bobby is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-28-2019, 02:17 PM   #25
Greyfriars Bobby
High School Varsity
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
1 May 2015

I forgot to mention something I noticed, even more than usual, last month. Darcy Bradford is absolutely clutch.

Keeeeeeeeeeep!


Case in point. On the surface, it didn't look like he had much of a game against St. Pat's Athletic. He conceded two goals, which he rarely does, especially at Eamonn Deacy Park. I mentioned how Saints' first goal was more Mark Molloy's fault than anyone else's. What I failed to mention was that Saints tested Bradford no fewer than TEN times that night, and Darcy came up big again and again.

Then, against Athlone Town, Darcy made a fine double save in the early minutes of the match. Had Town scored that early goal, the shape of the match might have been quite different.

He's probably not the best gloveman in the Premier Division. Johnny Quinn of St. Pat's is excellent, and so is Sean O'Connor at Shamrock Rovers. Dundalk's Michael Farrell has been lights out this season. Still, I'd put Darcy one half-step below those three, and he's at least eight years younger than all of them.
Greyfriars Bobby is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-28-2019, 08:10 PM   #26
Greyfriars Bobby
High School Varsity
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
1 June 2015



It's been fun to watch this Galway United team take shape. As the players have gained familiarity with our tactic, they're producing some very, very nice football. We lead the Premier Division in possession percentage (57.53%), significantly more than any other team. When we're at our best, we create lots of chances, and we're second in goals scored.

The League Cup tie was a disaster, but all it proved was that Dundalk have much better depth than we do. I could have told you that already. Jimmy O'Connor was absolutely dreadful in goal, and might have made his last appearance in a Galway United shirt. You'll see why in a month or so.

After Martin McCabe found the net against Dundalk, I gave him a chance in a league match, and he obligingly fired in a game-winner. Martin's performance reminds me of a trend I've seen quite often this season. I've been rotating a number of players through the team, sometimes for necessity (injuries and suspensions). Four men--Rudmer Talsma, Pasquale Van Daele, Damion Watson, and Peter Johanssen--have been more-or-less regulars at AM(L) and AM(R), and they've all done a fine job. If Peter isn't playing on the wing, he's in the central midfield. So far, everyone seems happy with the playing time they're receiving, too.



Maybe our league position is keeping them in good moods. It certainly can't be hurting, can it?

Roy Murphy has plenty of reasons to be happy. He was named Irish Player of the Month for May. He scored against University College Dublin, and had 23 interceptions and won 13 headers against Shamrock Rovers. He seems to be adjusting to the Premier Division without missing a beat.

Last month, I was wondering if I could use the attention I was getting from other clubs to persuade the board to say "yes" to a request or two. I decided to give it a try, and went to England to interview for the job at Torquay. I wasn't offered the job, but chairman Stephen Murphy invited me to talk about what it might take to keep me in Galway. I'd just been named Manager of the Month, so my stock was up.

I tried asking for additional coaches, and I got the same answer as always. So much for my idea.

I threw the chairman under the bus in my next presser, just because I was hacked off. We'll see what happens next.

My job security rating is Untouchable, so I'm not too worried.
Greyfriars Bobby is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-28-2019, 09:30 PM   #27
Greyfriars Bobby
High School Varsity
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
5 June 2015

Claire and I think our experiences in the Second Round of the Irish Senior Challenge Cup were interesting enough to merit a post of their own. Hopefully you'll agree with us after you read the story.

We were drawn away to Cobh Ramblers who, you might remember, played us to a 0-0 draw by putting the entire population of County Cork inside their penalty area. We're in contention for a spot in Europe, so I wasn't going to send out the first team for the Cup tie. As badly as the reserves played against Dundalk last month in the League Cup, I didn't want my first eleven tiring themselves out on Tuesday before a Premier Division fixture on Friday.



That left back is Jim Moore, a 17-year-old up from the youth team for his senior debut. The other lads are probably at least somewhat familiar. Aaron O'Connor is the only regular player among them. In contrast, Ramblers fielded nearly a full-strength side.

We nearly took the lead in the second minute of play. Thomas Kelly broke free and hammered a shot off the left post, past the outstretched hand of their diving goalkeeper.

The ball bounced directly back to Thomas, who had a wide-open net to shoot at.

He hit the right post this time.

Dave Ward put Ramblers ahead on 16' with a sublime finish from 20 yards out. We drew level through Martin McCabe a few minutes from the half.

Just past the hour mark, the match took an ominous turn. Paul O'Keefe went into Ward with his studs up, and drew a well-deserved red card. It took eleven minutes, but Ramblers made us pay for Paul's recklessness and took the lead.

At this point, I turned to Claire, who was sitting beside me on the sofa. Claire saw no difference in losing a Cup tie by a 2-1, 3-1, or 13-1 score. "Go for it," she advised. I interpreted this as "Use Control mentality, like usual."

In the 81st minute, we won a free kick 25 yards from goal. Aaron O'Connor stood over it...and fired a howitzer into the top right corner to make the score 2-2, and force a replay at Eamonn Deacy Park on Tuesday night!

We didn't have another match for a week, so I sent the first eleven out to take care of business. Declan Nolan wasn't available due to a twisted ankle, but everyone else was ready to go. And, as you'll see, Declan's understudy took a star turn tonight.

I'll let a picture tell the story.



That screen shot doesn't do Pasquale Van Daele's performance justice. PVD, as he is now known, was credited with an assist on one of Gary Joyce's three goals. This is not unusual for the Belgian wide man, who is the Premier Division's leading provider, with seven.

After the game, I put in an offer to buy PVD from his Belgian club. I moved some funds from my (overly?) generous wage budget to fund a €52,000 transfer fee and, as of 1 July, Pasquale will be all ours.
Greyfriars Bobby is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-29-2019, 11:49 AM   #28
Greyfriars Bobby
High School Varsity
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
24 July 2015

I don't often write a mid-month update, but July has been a very busy--and very enjoyable--month. Times like this are when Football Manager becomes so immersive and fun to play.



You know about the Senior Challenge Cup already. What I didn't know at the time is that Cobh Ramblers are currently the Challenge Cup holders! They are legit cup warriors. As poor as their league form has been, they are very, very tough when there is hardware at stake. Their Challenge Cup victory earned them a place in the EURO Cup (the game's version of the Europa League; obviously FM didn't buy the licensing rights from UEFA).

I hadn't been planning to take the Challenge Cup all that seriously. Now I'm starting to re-think that decision. I've never managed a team in European competition--I almost never manage a team in the top flight in any nation--and I am close enough to dream this time.

I checked, and the Republic of Ireland is ranked 46th in the European coefficent rankings. That's really weak; Luxembourg and Malta are ranked higher. That sorry placing nonetheless gives Ireland four places in the European cups. The Premier Division champion earns a spot in the Second Qualifying Round of the European Champions Cup (the Champions League). Three other teams enter the First Qualifying Round of the EURO Cup.

In other words, if I can keep the Tribesmen where we are in the table, we might have European nights (at least one) at Eamonn Deacy Park!

I didn't make things any easier with the way I (mis)handled some contract negotiations. I already told you I'd arranged to buy Darcy Bradford and Pasquale Van Daele, whose transfers would go through when the summer window opened on 1 July. Unfortunately, Darcy's loan expired on 16 June, so he went back to Sunderland for two weeks, waiting for the transfer! I'm sure there was a way to make sure I retained Bradford's services without interruption, but I screwed it up. I'd have to make do with big Derek Byrne between the posts for three matches...including a big one, away to fellow contenders St. Pat's Athletic.

Our defenders made Derek's job very easy. He had one save to make, and he made it. Gary Joyce, in the starting team while Declan Nolan's tender ankle finished healing, did a better job with his chance, and we left Dublin with three big points.

After that, Derry City at home didn't seem like nearly as tough a task. Peter Johansson, who honestly hasn't been as dominant a force as I thought he'd be, was a beast in this game. Keiron Russell was unavailable after coming up lame in training, so Peter moved up to take his place as the most attack-minded member of our midfield trio. Attack he did, firing in a brace.

Unfortunately, Byrne let in two goals, and we had to settle for a point.

Then came the absolute disaster away to Drogheda, who were a point ahead of the drop zone when we pulled into town. When we limped back to Galway with our tails between our legs, well and truly beaten, they were four points clear. Aaron Sikumoya was sent off, but we were already down 3-0. We actually played them on even terms after Aaron's dismissal.

Pasquale returned to Holland the next day, but he'd be back before we played again. I hate to think what would have happened if he, too, were out of the lineup.

Then came some bad, bad news from Wearside. Darcy Bradford hurt his back in training, and he might be out for a month!!

With a chance to finish in the European qualifying spots at stake, would I have to rely on Derek Byrne in goal? Perhaps not...

I haven't been thrilled with the performance of our poor Under 19 lads. There are some decent prospects among them, but they're 11th in their 12-team league. Back in May, I decided to see if I could take some advantage of my connections back in Holland and bolster my youth team with some good young players.

I ended up finding two 18-year-olds I liked: a center back called Niels Kuipers...and a goalkeeper, Alexander van der Steen! There was, indeed, another option!

I decided not to give the young lad his debut in a derby against Athlone Town. I sent Byrne out one more time, and he was pants. Town had three shots on target, and two of them went in. To be fair, one of the saves would have been a tough one, the kind of stop that would have done Darcy Bradford proud. Still, we dominated the match in every regard, and only managed a draw.

Thus, the Derek Byrne Era at Galway United FC came to an undistinguished end. I decided to see how van der Steen would fare against Cobh Ramblers at St. Colman's Park.

Our boys made young Alexander's job easy. They scored three in the first 23 minutes, and after Ramblers pulled one back early in the second half, we scored two more. Craig McNamara completed a brace for the home side with a possible Goal of the Month nominee, so I can't fault van der Steen for that one.

Next up were Sligo Rovers, away. They entered the match second in the league, a point ahead of us. I took a deep breath and put van der Steen in the lineup.

Seven minutes in, Pasquale Van Daele dribbled to the byline and crossed for Declan Nolan, who swept the ball in at the far post. It was PVD's 11th assist of the season, best in the Premiership. Right before the half hour, Billy Ryan's slide tackle on Glenn Black poked the ball into the path of a sprinting Nolan. Declan beat the 'keeper, and just like that, the score was 2-0. Over two thousand fans at The Showgrounds fell quiet.

That's how the score stood at the final whistle. Van der Steen had only three saves to make, but he made all three.

Our happiness over the result was dampened by some bad news from our physio. Darcy Bradford's back injury was worse than expected, and he might miss another month.



Here's how the table looks right now. A lot can change here, for good or for bad, in a month.

The transfer window is open for another week, so I looked through head scout Wooter Beentjes's files to see if there might be a good goalkeeper looking for work. Indeed there was: a veteran gloveman called Patrick Sheehan who had been released by Queens Park Rangers on 30 June. Patrick never got in a game with QPR, but he was still on the books with a club in England's top flight. I decided to bring him in on trial, and let my staff take a look at him.

They like what they see. Dennis de Jonge believes he's better than Bradford; he organizes his defense well, demonstrates excellent positioning, and commands his area authoritatively. He won't be cheap, but I can afford him.

Here's the question: Do I sign Sheehan, or trust van der Steen for another month? We'll play five matches before Darcy's expected return. The toughest one is away to Dundalk (which is, indeed, the toughest possible fixture). Our other opponents are mainly mid-table teams.

Claire says I should sign Patrick before another team snaps him up. I pointed out the fact that once Bradford is healthy, he'll be understandably eager to play again, and we're paying him €800/week to do just that. Plus, we might be paying Sheehan just about as much, and you only get to play one goalkeeper at a time.

Decisions, decisions...
Greyfriars Bobby is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-29-2019, 01:15 PM   #29
Izulde
Head Coach
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
What's Bradford's player value?
__________________
2006 Golden Scribe Nominee
2006 Golden Scribe Winner
Best Non-Sport Dynasty: May Our Reign Be Green and Golden (CK Dynasty)

Rookie Writer of the Year
Dynasty of the Year: May Our Reign Be Green and Golden (CK Dynasty)
Izulde is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-29-2019, 01:38 PM   #30
Greyfriars Bobby
High School Varsity
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Quote:
Originally Posted by Izulde View Post
What's Bradford's player value?

He's worth €57K.
Greyfriars Bobby is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-29-2019, 03:45 PM   #31
Izulde
Head Coach
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Quote:
Originally Posted by Greyfriars Bobby View Post
He's worth €57K.

Transfer-list him.
__________________
2006 Golden Scribe Nominee
2006 Golden Scribe Winner
Best Non-Sport Dynasty: May Our Reign Be Green and Golden (CK Dynasty)

Rookie Writer of the Year
Dynasty of the Year: May Our Reign Be Green and Golden (CK Dynasty)
Izulde is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-29-2019, 09:03 PM   #32
Greyfriars Bobby
High School Varsity
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Quote:
Originally Posted by Izulde View Post
Transfer-list him.

I seriously considered doing just that, but decided against it. I don't think any club in Ireland has any money to spend on transfers, except Galway United. Every deal made during the winter window was a free transfer or a loan deal. My purchase of PVD was the only cash deal of the summer window.

I could possibly sell Bradford to an English club--he is English, after all--but I decided to roll with Alexander van der Steen between the posts while Darcy is mending.

Update: Patrick Sheehan didn't sign with anyone on Deadline Day. He's still a free agent, which means I can offer him a deal anytime, and if van der Steen struggles, I'll make a move then.
Greyfriars Bobby is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-30-2019, 01:22 PM   #33
Greyfriars Bobby
High School Varsity
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
14 August 2015

After I decided not to sign Patrick Sheehan, I didn't look back. Young Alexander van der Steen was my goalkeeper until Darcy Bradford was ready to return to action.

In the remaining days of the transfer period, I made two moves in order to keep the defense in front of my young gloveman as hard to breach as possible. I confess I hadn't thought of bringing in Sean Glynn until Gareth Kelly, a local journo, asked me about it in an interview. I took a look at Glynn and told Gareth I'd be doing everything I could to make it happen.

Glynn is a natural right back, but he's also comfortable in the middle of the defense. He's on the books at Everton, but he's yet to make an appearance there, spending part of last season on loan at York City. He'll be doing a similar stint with us for the remainder of the year. Sean immediately moved into the starting lineup at center half, replacing the injured Aaron Sikumoya. Mark Molloy, unfortunately for him, played himself out of contention with a series of sub-par performances.

Our other new man fills a double role. David Brennan is not young (37) and he is not fast (4 Pace). He's nominally a left back, where he'd have to depend on his defensive instincts and his ability to read the game; he can also play more centrally, where his intelligence and technical skill could enable him to be an Irish Andrea Pirlo. The impact of David's professionalism and maturity could be immeasurable to a team in a title fight. He'll also take a role in the coaching staff for our Under 19s.

Glynn was in the lineup when we saw off Cork City, 4-1, at Eamonn Deacy Park. Brennan came on as a substitute and demonstrated another of his skills, converting a penalty for our fourth goal. Van der Steen was beaten once, but his performance was otherwise rock-solid.

Our defense was even better in each of the next two matches, 2-0 victories over Bohemians and Derry City. The Bohs didn't test our 'keeper once, as Roy Murphy led the defense with 19 interceptions. The Candystripes were a tougher foe, but Sean Glynn won nine headers, and Alexander van der Steen made two nifty saves. Unfortunately, though, striker Declan Nolan twisted his knee in the Derry City match, so we'd have to do without him for a few weeks.

When I took a look at the results from around the division, here is what I saw:



St. Pat's Athletic had beaten Dundalk, and now we're top of the league!

And, as fortune would have it, we play Dundalk at Oriel Park tonight.

But, first I wanted to enjoy some of the rewards of our outstanding play of late.



Sweeping the podium is lots of fun! Declan's injury came at a bad time, but hopefully one of our other forwards will pick up the slack. Russell and Murphy have been as good as anyone in the division at their positions, all season long.



I got a little love for myself, too.



It took Peter Johansson some time to settle in at Galway United. I wondered if we'd rated him too highly; perhaps he was a flat track bully who'd been dominating an inferior league. Still, his attributes were so good that I found it hard to believe there wasn't a player in there somewhere.

Sometime around the first of June, things clicked for him. Since then, he's played like The High King Peter. I'd love to bring him to Ireland for keeps, but so far he's not been interested. Maybe things will change soon. At least, he's saying good things about his time here.

Last edited by Greyfriars Bobby : 03-30-2019 at 01:25 PM.
Greyfriars Bobby is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-30-2019, 06:16 PM   #34
Greyfriars Bobby
High School Varsity
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
1 September 2015



After the swirl of events that took place in and around Eamonn Deacy Park in June, July, and early August, the last few weeks have been much more normal. That is, if being top of the league in our first year in the Premier Division is normal.

The Dundalk match was a very good one, a neutral's delight. We struck early through Pasquale Van Daele, and their outstanding striker, Craig Robinson, equalized not long after. I couldn't fault our defenders or our young goalkeeper on Robinson's goal. It was a fine strike, the kind you might expect the league's top scorer to make.

Four minutes later, Rudmer Talsma lashed in a goal to put us ahead again. He was back in the starting XI because Damion Watson tore a hamstring, getting the chance at first team football he'd been clamoring for, albeit under unfortunate circumstances.

Their on-loan striker, Everton man Eion O'Reilly, brought them level again before the half, and that's how the game ended. We were, on the whole, the better side, and I'll take a point from a match away to our biggest rival for the league title. We went back home with the same two-point lead we had when we arrived.

Darcy Bradford was cleared to return to action the next day. In years to come, when old men and women tell the tale of the '15 season, I hope they remember young Alexander van der Steen, who gamely went between the posts in our time of need and played like a hero. In six Premier Division matches, Alexander let in a paltry five goals and kept three clean sheets. Even better, Galway won five and drew one with him on the job.


Alexander van der Steen

Darcy had very little to do against Shamrock Rovers, making a single save. A flurry of three goals late in the first half put this one away for us.

Next came the Third Round of the Challenge Cup. With a week off before our next league fixture, I could field a strong side against our old friends from the First Division, Wexford Youths. Niall Kennedy, a forward who hasn't had much opportunity to strut his stuff, had a brace, and Talsma found the net for the third straight match.

UCD played against us the way you would expect a team trying to stay up would play against the league leader. We had 63% of the ball and took 17 shots to their three. We hit the woodwork four times, but all that really matters is the score: nil-nil.



That point was a big deal for UCD, wasn't it?

It looks like our ticket to European football is almost punched. With six matches to go, we're eight points clear of fourth, which seems to be the place we need to be. Let's push on and see if we can lift another trophy, shall we?

When Ireland manager Paul Martin picked his team for this month's European Championship qualifying matches against Scotland and Gibraltar, this item appeared:



Before I leave Galway United, I'd like to produce at least one player who becomes a full Ireland international.

As I was looking at the Ireland squad for the Under 21 European qualifiers, I saw three lads who play their club football at home: Alan Kelly of Dundalk, and William Conway and Mark Dunne of Shamrock Rovers. I also noticed a player who is a free agent, a midfielder called Gareth Kearney. I'm having Wouter Beentjes look him over, and perhaps I'll be making him an offer soon.
Greyfriars Bobby is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-31-2019, 06:12 PM   #35
Greyfriars Bobby
High School Varsity
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chas in Cinti View Post
I'm along for the ride as well... always a sucker for a good FM story...

Sorry I missed this last week, Chas. I always try to acknowledge when a fellow forum member posts in my thread. I'm happy to have you along for the ride.

I hope it turns out to be a good FM story. I'm giving it my best shot.
Greyfriars Bobby is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-31-2019, 06:54 PM   #36
Greyfriars Bobby
High School Varsity
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
16 September 2015

I'm saving the story of Galway United's push for the Premier Division title for another post. This one is devoted to the Youth Candidates Class of 2015.

Our new Head of Youth Development, Ole Morten Reinum, is pleased to present the following graduates of our youth setup:



Reinum is a Model Professional, and his influence on the personalities of our young players is clear to me.

It's a solid group of players, with three who immediately jump off the page.

Our backroom staff unanimously agrees on goalkeeper Michael Gill's potential to become a top Premier Division player, but U19 goalkeeping coach Barry Holt warns that Michael doesn't appear to enjoy big matches, and he lacks the determination I like to see at his position.

On the other hand, Conor Quinn gets high marks across the board for his professionalism, his consistency, and his tendency to step up when the stakes are high. He projects as a future shutdown defender, and perhaps a club captain one day.

Reinum saved his highest praise for Patrick Lynch. After I look more closely, I understand why. He is very athletic, quick and agile. His ability to play off the ball is exceptional, especially for a teenager, and he sees the pitch very well. His technical skills need work, and he could do a better job of keeping his head in the game, but he's barely 16 years old. My staff say he could step into the first team right now.

Patrick plays most naturally as a number 10, a role I don't currently use, but he can also play as a striker or as a winger. And his attributes ought to play well as a central midfielder, in the mold of Kieron Russell. At any rate, I'm excited to see how he turns out.

The youth candidates took on our Under 19s today, and beat them, 2-0. It's worth mentioning that our U19s aren't very good; they're last in their league, with 16 points from 18 matches. Still, the young lads looked quite impressive. Gill kept a clean sheet, and Quinn looked solid in front of him. Right back Mikey Kilcawley was Man of the Match, adding an assist to a solid defensive performance. Lynch went off with a knock at the half hour mark but, fortunately, he's okay.

My staff recommend I keep all the youngsters, but I'm not sure I will. My Under 19 team is already full, and there's no reserve team. Then again, I could always cull the herd at the end of the season.
Greyfriars Bobby is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-31-2019, 09:06 PM   #37
Greyfriars Bobby
High School Varsity
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
1 October 2015

Well, here we go! As the campaign draws to a close, we hold our chances for a Premier Division championship in our hands. And, there's a chance to make it a double.



Early in the season, I didn't place much emphasis on the cups. Now, things are different. We're making a very good run in the Senior Challenge Cup, and since we had a nice break in the schedule after the Cup tie, I fielded a strong side.

We were away to Bohemians, a fixture we've played no fewer than FOUR times this season. And, as we've done every time we've played them (including once at Eamonn Deacy Park), we ran out winners. In retrospect, however, we might all remember the game with sadness. Rudmer Talsma tore ligaments in his knee, finishing his season and, perhaps, his career. The 35-year-old wide man, who has one more year left on his contract, is considering hanging up his boots.

After the break, we hosted St. Pat's Athletic in a game with major implications on the title race. We fell behind in the first half, and I let the lads have it--and good--at halftime. They came out ready to fight, and scored twice to take back a point and run our streak of games without a defeat to nine. Meanwhile, Dundalk beat Drogheda United. That result put the Lilywhites top of the league again--even with us on points, ahead on goal differential.

The Saints matched marked the debut of our newest Tribesman, Gareth Kearney. I mentioned him earlier, when I spotted him on a list of players picked for Ireland Under 21s. We scouted him, I liked what I saw, and we signed him to a contract.

Gareth is a classy, versatile midfielder, who can play in the middle or out wide, in a more attacking role or as a holding player. He's a very similar player to Aaron O'Connor, perhaps a bit better. Gareth's arrival strengthens the core of our side, and he's under contract for the next two seasons. Not long after he signed for us, he earned two more Ireland U21 caps, and he scored a goal against Bosnia & Herzegovina.

Two more wins followed, away to Athlone Town and at home to Drogheda United. Meanwhile, Dundalk managed a win and a draw, so we moved back to the top of the table.




Here's what the remainder of our fixture list looks like:



Cork City and Sligo Rovers have each beaten us once. We've never lost to Cobh Ramblers, but it has the makings of a classic trap game. We'll be welcoming Damion Watson back to action, but Pasquale Van Daele will be out for at least a week with a minor hamstring issue.

Dundalk has this set of opponents:



They've never lost to Drogheda, but Derry City have beaten them once, and Shamrock Rovers have defeated them twice.

And here's who St. Pat's have left:



Saints haven't lost to any of the teams remaining on their schedule. The only blemish on their record against these three clubs is a draw with Bohemians.

It won't be easy, but that's what would make it good.

Last edited by Greyfriars Bobby : 03-31-2019 at 09:06 PM.
Greyfriars Bobby is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-31-2019, 11:58 PM   #38
Greyfriars Bobby
High School Varsity
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
2 October 2015

Galway United v. Cobh Ramblers
Eamonn Deacy Park, Galway

GK: Darcy Bradford
D: Alan Woods, Sean Glynn, Roy Murphy, Kenneth Díaz (C)
DM: Aaron O'Connor
MC: Kieron Russell, Billy Ryan
AM: Peter Johansson, Gareth Kearney
ST: Declan Nolan


A few of the lads, namely Russell and Ryan, were feeling worried they might let the team down as we pushed for the title. Kieron's nervousness made sense. Our staff have noted that he doesn't particularly care for important matches. Billy, on the other hand, surprised me, because he's known for the exact opposite quality.

Pasquale Van Daele was still injured, and I chose Damion Watson for the bench. That meant Peter Johansson would move back up front, and he'd be joined by Gareth Kearney.

Gareth promptly made me look like a master tactician. The play began as so many of our threats begin: with a powerful throw into the penalty area by Kenneth Díaz. Roy Murphy rose up to head the ball back to Díaz, who curled it first time toward the near post. Again Murphy leaped, won a header, and nodded it down to Declan Nolan. He slipped it to Kearney, who fired a laser to the upper right corner that Ramblers goalie Mark Murphy probably never saw.

Some sloppy defending allowed the visitors to draw level. They earned a free kick about 25 yards from our goal. Brendan O'Connor launched it at the far post. Alan Woods and Aaron O'Connor let a big lad, Darren O'Neill, leave them flat-footed, and O'Neill had time to let the ball drop before he volleyed it past Darcy Bradford.

I took my time with my halftime team talk, and almost all the boys were green and happy when they ran out for the second half. Right before the hour mark, Kieron Russell slipped the ball ahead to Nolan at the edge of the area. Murphy parried away his drive, but Kearney raced past his marker, collected it, and slashed back across a sprawling Murphy and in.

We barely had time to celebrate the goal before Ramblers again pulled even. This time the goal was a good one, courtesy of Craig McNamara, who had entered the game only two minutes earlier.

I think both managers, myself and Conor Skinner, believed a draw was the most likely outcome. He used his substitutions early, making like-for-like swaps for tiring players. I took Declan Nolan off when he got (another) knock, bringing on Gary Joyce. Then I pulled O'Connor, who was suffering through a rare off night. I shifted Johansson to DM and brought in Thomas Kelly on the right wing. With seven minutes to go in regular time, I replaced an exhausted Russell with Glen Scully.

I realized I never mentioned signing Scully. That's probably because I added him during the busy days at the end of the summer transfer window, when so much attention was focused on our goalkeeping situation. Glen is a 17-year-old midfielder whom Manchester City discarded in late June. I envisioned him as a lad who might make our Under 19 team more competitive, and I liked his Resolute personality and his determined character. Our scouts rated him fairly highly, and I thought he was worth a flyer. Glen had played well for the U19s, so I gave him a spot on the bench over a handful of older players who don't enjoy big matches.

One minute into stoppage time, I thought the match was ours. The High King Peter calmly dispossessed an opponent and launched an appropriately majestic long ball in the direction of Sean Glynn. The Everton man won the header, directing it toward Kearney...who headed it home!

The assistant referee's flag was up. The call was the right one, but it still stung.

Not a minute later, Murphy challenged McNamara robustly inside the box, and he made contact with the Ramblers man. While everyone in blue screamed for a penalty, referee Robert Harvey insisted the teams play on. At the other end, Joyce stung Murphy's palms.

We kept the pressure on, earning a corner and a free kick. Billy Ryan took the latter, delivering a nice ball in the direction of Scully, who collected it and turned. Then O'Neill clattered him, sending him to the turf, and this time Mr. Harvey pointed at the spot. Again, the official was assailed by a host of Ramblers, to no avail.

I wondered if Kearney, on a hat trick, would take the penalty. He's only fair at them, however, and I was not the least bit disappointed when Thomas Kelly stepped up. Very sharp-eyed readers might remember that Kelly, who has played only 566 minutes this season, has scored two penalties this season.

Make that three. Kelly confidently drilled the ball high to the right, and even though Murphy dove the correct way, there was nothing he could do.



St. Pat's walloped Cork City, 4-1. Then, today, Derry City went to Dundalk and came away with a stunning 3-0 victory!



Two more to play, but first, the Senior Challenge Cup Semi Final.

Last edited by Greyfriars Bobby : 04-01-2019 at 12:03 AM. Reason: a few typos, etc.
Greyfriars Bobby is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-01-2019, 12:00 PM   #39
Greyfriars Bobby
High School Varsity
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
15 October 2014
The Senior Challenge Cup


I've decided I'm not much of a fan of Shamrock Rovers. They are the biggest club in Ireland, according to the rankings. They have the biggest payroll. They have a B squad, something only three Irish teams have. They're located in the capital, Dublin. Their new manager, Paul Kelly, is a bit of a jerk.


A record crowd, 2,898 strong, turned up at Eamonn Deacy Park on the 4th to watch us face our new nemesis in the Semi Final. The teams circled each other like boxers, trying to find an opening, for nearly an hour. We struck the first blow when Billy Ryan, who'd come on for an injured Kieron Russell, took a pass from Glen Scully and fired home.

I had to make my second substitution a few minutes later, after Gary Joyce had to come off with an injury. Then came the decision that I'm still having second thoughts about.

Aaron O'Connor was on a yellow card and was getting tired. I subbed him off on 78', not thinking the injury bug could bite me three times.

I was wrong.

Not two minutes later, a young right back called Matt Cotton went in hard on a challenge against Gareth Kearney. Kearney went down, and he was injured too badly to continue. Cotton is a young lad, up from their B squad. Props to him for getting stuck in; he wasn't booked for his actions, and they didn't seem dirty to me. It was just a rotten piece of luck--but it came against Shamrock Rovers.

You know how this will end. We dropped back, defended in a compact shape, doing all the right things, but we finally conceded the equalizer in the last minute of regular time. Now we had to go to Dublin for the replay.

You probably know how this will end, too.

Tallaght Stadium is not a fun place to play, especially when there are 4000 Rovers fans there. I'm not sure if the crowd influenced the decision, but when Kenneth Díaz made contact with Rovers winger William Conway inside the box, the referee was very, very quick to award the penalty. Ger Merritt converted it to give Rovers the lead.

We equalized through Damion Watson on 67', but five minutes later, Alan Woods coughed up the ball in a very dangerous place and their veteran midfielder, James King, swept it in. I feel bad for Alan, who is usually as dependable as they come.

We couldn't find another goal, and just like that, we're out of the Cup. It would have been fun to win some silverware, but now we can give all our attentions to winning the league.

Unfortunately, we might have to do it without Kieron Russell. He twisted an ankle in the replay, and he'll certainly miss the trip to Cork City in two days.

I'd have some more things to say about Shamrock Rovers, but my kids read what Dad writes here.
Greyfriars Bobby is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-01-2019, 02:53 PM   #40
Greyfriars Bobby
High School Varsity
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
17 October 2015

Cork City v. Galway United
Turner's Cross, Cork


We didn't have time to stew over our loss in the Challenge Cup, and Pasquale Van Daele quickly made sure the players got their heads in the right places.



PVD has had an outstanding season, and especially since he became a full-time Galway player, he has been every bit as outstanding a leader. His ankle healed, he'd be returning to the lineup at Turner's Cross.

Friday evening's results added an additional layer of drama to the match.



Dundalk's victory preserved their slim chance of lifting the trophy. If they won their last match and we lost ours, they would win the league.

The news from Sligo was more encouraging. St. Pat's chances were now no better than Dundalk's, after they managed only a draw against Rovers. St. Pat's Sigurður Kjartansson put his team ahead with a well-taken goal. Then, Graham Kinsella, already on a yellow card, hacked down Sligo's Lee Cahill, and he was given an early bath. Cahill made Kinsella's mistake even worse by scoring the goal that drew Rovers level.

That result meant that we could clinch the league with a victory tonight.

GK: Darcy Bradford
D: Alan Woods, Sean Glynn, Roy Murphy, Kenneth Díaz (C)
DM: Aaron O'Connor
MC: Gareth Kearney, Billy Ryan
AM: Peter Johansson, Pasquale Van Daele
ST: Declan Nolan


The match took some time to find its footing. Gareth Kearney was knocked around quite a bit in the first half hour, and it became clear he wouldn't be able to last 90 minutes tonight.

On 37 minutes, we won a corner. Kearney floated it in, and Cork City cleared it back in the direction from which it had come. Roy Murphy reacted quickly, and beat his man to it.


Roy Murphy prepares to make a pass, with Cork's Eddie Moore closing in to defend him

Spotting Aaron O'Connor in space just inside the penalty area, he quickly whirled and passed it toward him, as Aaron slipped to his left to give himself even more room. O'Connor struck the ball first time with his left foot, sending it low and hard to the goalkeeper's right. Craig Long dived, but the shot zipped inside his near post and in.


Aaron O'Connor scores, despite Craig Long's valiant effort


O'Connor celebrates with his teammates


I suppose injuries are inevitable at the end of a long, tough season. Nevertheless, I had to wonder what was going on when Billy Ryan hobbled off just before the half ended, and I wondered even more when Pasquale Van Daele did the same in the opening minutes of the second half! Glen Scully replaced Ryan, and Damion Watson came on for PVD.

As the second half wore on, I slowly made changes that made our playing style increasingly defensive. Meanwhile, I watched Kearney battle on as his fitness level continued to drop. I remembered what happened when I used my last substitution against Shamrock Rovers in the Cup. Finally, on 80', I took a deep breath and brought John McManus on for Kearney.

There were some tense moments in stoppage time, but finally, Derek Tomney blew his whistle three times.

Galway United FC were champions of the Premier Division of Ireland!



Europe, here we come!
Greyfriars Bobby is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-01-2019, 03:22 PM   #41
thehitcat
H.S. Freshman Team
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
CONGRATS! Also it's line's like this one that keep me coming back and reading here "I'd have some more things to say about Shamrock Rovers, but my kids read what Dad writes here."
thehitcat is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-02-2019, 10:41 AM   #42
Greyfriars Bobby
High School Varsity
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Quote:
Originally Posted by thehitcat View Post
CONGRATS! Also it's line's like this one that keep me coming back and reading here "I'd have some more things to say about Shamrock Rovers, but my kids read what Dad writes here."

Thanks, hitcat! It was an exciting ride. Even though I knew we'd have another shot at winning the championship, I was sweating out the last few minutes of the match at Cork City. I didn't want to leave things to the final match.

Thanks for following along. The story has been fun to write, and the fact that all three of my kids are taking at least a passing interest makes it even more enjoyable. My daughter Claire, whose interest in our family history inspired the idea for this story, is really getting into it. I'll occasionally ask her advice about a decision, which she enjoys greatly. She's a de facto member of my backroom team. She fully understands it's a game, but she's approaching it with the enthusiasm of a curious, energetic, bright nearly-twelve-year-old.

Claire is currently "angry" at a (now former) member of Galway United. That story will be told soon enough.
Greyfriars Bobby is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-02-2019, 01:35 PM   #43
Greyfriars Bobby
High School Varsity
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Offseason 2015



We ended up four points clear of St. Pat's Athletic and a comfortable seven ahead of Dundalk. Those two clubs will play in the EURO Cup in 2016, along with (growl) Shamrock Rovers, who beat Longford to win the Senior Challenge Cup.

I really like the style of football I've been able to get this team to play. They score a lot of goals, while managing to keep things tight at the back. When teams score against us, they're often taking advantage of a set piece or beating us on a counter-attack. Meanwhile, we put together some very pretty team goals.

Poor Athlone Town are supposedly one of our rivals, but I feel badly for them. Outclassed nearly every single match, they're heading back down to the First Division next season. Four other clubs were battling to keep above the drop in the season's final weeks. University College Dublin ended up losing out, and I'm sorry to see them go down, too.

Here are the statistics for our outfield players. Well, most of them, at least. I forgot to grab the stats before Peter Johansson's loan expired and he returned to his native Sweden. He appeared in 31 games, scoring five goals, adding five assists, and playing to a 7.00 average rating.




The first name on the list is Mr. Everpresent, Alan Woods. He's not spectacular, but he's consistent, and he is a perfect example of a guy who plays better than his "star rating" would indicate.

Kenneth Díaz is just as solid on the other side of our back four. Those eight assists are evidence of his ability to move forward and join the attack and, of course, the effectiveness of his long throws.

There's a lot more to be said about Roy Murphy later on. For now, take a look at those offensive contributions--contributing to 12 goals as a center back--and the big numbers in the "interceptions" and "aerial challenges won" columns.

Then there's Kieron Russell, my pick for the top player in the Premier Division this season. His 12 assists tied for the league lead with a teammate, whose totals are jacked up because he spent the first part of the season on a loan deal before we bought him. That would be Pasquale Van Daele, of course.

Russell and Billy Ryan contributed lots of key passes, which I understand to be passes that resulted in a shot on target. Aaron O'Connor's high pass completion rate speaks to his ability to make smart passes in transition, exactly what I'm looking for from our defensive midfielder.

Declan Nolan was a big success for us, and I renewed his loan for another season. He was third on the list of top scorers in league play. Two more loanees from English Premier League clubs, Aaron Sikumoya and Sean Glynn, were also instrumental to our success. West Ham, Chelsea, and Everton were happy to renew our loan arrangements for these three players for 2016.

Damion Watson never seemed to get his season going. As soon as he'd recover from one injury and play his way back into fitness, he'd go down again. He was productive when he was on the pitch, but it felt like a lost season for the Jamaican wide man.

The stats above represent the curtain call for Rudmer Talsma, who has chosen to retire after tearing ligaments in his knee. Rudmer wants to stay in football, and he has the makings of a fine coach or scout. However, he's refusing to discuss any position other than Head of Youth Development, and I'm not going to dump Ole Morten Reinum for him. Maybe another time, Rudmer.

Gary Joyce won't be back, either. I would have loved to have another season like 2015 from him, with nine goals as our #2 option at striker. Unfortunately for us, Gary wants to be The Man, and he's proven himself too brittle to handle that job. He wouldn't accept an offer for us for any role other than Key Player, so I wished him well and let his contract expire.

We brought in Gareth Kearney on September 1, and while it's not fair to many of his teammates to say he was the reason for our successful title run, it's also not fair to Gareth to minimize his contribution. When injuries ravaged our team in the later weeks of the season, I could move Gareth around the formation and count on him to do a job wherever he landed. He also starred for his country, scoring four goals in seven appearances for Ireland Under 21s.
Greyfriars Bobby is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-02-2019, 08:19 PM   #44
Greyfriars Bobby
High School Varsity
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Offseason 2015, part 2



A nice honor for Kieron. The supporters split their votes fairly evenly, which says a lot about the performances of all three leading vote-getters.



I wouldn't have picked Derek Byrne for our Best Eleven, not after the way Alexander van der Steen filled in for Darcy in July and August. Otherwise, I think the choices capture the feel of our season very well.



I mentioned I'd have more to say about Roy Murphy's season later. Roy has been the Young Player of the Year in two successive leagues, in two successive seasons. As composed and commanding as he is, it's hard to believe he's only 20 now--and that he's never been called up to the Ireland setup.




Peter's contribution to our season can't be overestimated. There's a class, a maturity to his game that our team--which was otherwise quite young--needed over the course of the season.

Frej released Peter at the end of the season. I quickly offered him a contract...only to have him tell me Galway's squad wasn't strong enough to match his ambitions. That, right there, knocked the High King off the throne of my daughter's affections.

They'll always have 2015.





More well-deserved love for Kieron and Roy.



And a little for their boss, too.

Last edited by Greyfriars Bobby : 05-22-2019 at 01:00 PM.
Greyfriars Bobby is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-22-2019, 12:39 PM   #45
Greyfriars Bobby
High School Varsity
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
I decided to resume my return (re-return?) to Galway this summer. I also have another idea for a FM dynasty that I'm thinking about...

28 February 2016

Our season will begin today, when we will be forced to provide some semblance of a warm welcome for Shamrock Rovers when they arrive at Eamonn Deacy Park for the Irish President's Cup. We earned a spot in this match by winning the league, and Rovers punched their ticket by winning the Irish Senior Challenge Cup.

With the preseason done and dusted, here's a look at this year's first team squad.


Goalkeepers


Bradford needs no introduction. Darcy responded well to the challenges of the Premier Division, improving in the ways you want to see a young goalkeeper improve. Van der Steen probably won’t be content to be Bradford’s caddy for long; I can’t see us being able to keep both of them.

Last year’s depth goalkeepers, Derek Byrne and Jimmy O’Connor, left after I didn’t offer contracts to them. I was looking for a veteran goalie with a good personality who would be willing to serve as a backup. I found Forde, who fits the bill very well.


Defenders


The unquestioned star of the defensive corps—if not the whole team—is the rock-solid Murphy. It’s hard to remember he’s only just turned 20. He’s now the club’s vice captain. I renewed Glynn’s loan, so the Everton man will be back at Eamonn Deacy Park until June, at least (I’m hoping to extend it longer.) His Professional personality makes him even better to have around.

Díaz returns for his third season at left back. However, there will be a new face on the right side: Welsh U21 international McCarthy, on loan from Liverpool. A very well-rounded footballer, I can use Dean all around our formation. That would allow the reliable Woods a chance to play more regularly.

Molloy, who was willing to come back on a non-contract deal, and Connolly are also available. So is the versatile Sikumoya, the Chelsea loanee, who can (and will) play all across the back line and at defensive midfielder.


Midfielders


The departure of Peter Johanssen will leave a void, but it’s one I’m convinced we can fill with the players we still have. O’Connor, another example of a player who thrived in the more competitive environment of the Premier Division, possesses the defensive nous to play in the DM role, and the composure and vision to serve as a playmaker farther up the field.

Ryan suffered a horrible injury—a broken pelvis—at the very end of last season, which has affected his stamina and strength. I hope Billy can recover completely, because I’ve enjoyed having him in the team.

Russell will begin the season injured, too, after having fractured some ribs in a preseason friendly. When he returns, he’ll step back into our role as the most creative member of our midfield trio.

While Ryan and Russell work back into shape, Scully will have an opportunity to show what he can do in the first team. He’s recently been given his first U19 caps, and his pace and flair make him an intriguing prospect. Glen is another lad who won’t be long content with a backup role.

Brennan, who signed for us last spring, is an ideal reserve—mentally strong, technically adept, and versatile enough to play all along the back line or in central midfield. He’s also a valuable member of our Under 19s coaching staff.

Damion Watson begged me to let him go on loan with newly-promoted Longford…so I gave him what he wanted. He’d have had to fight for his place here; maybe he didn’t want to work that hard? Now I’m going to use Kearney on the right wing. He plays there sometimes for Ireland U21s, and he can certainly handle the role.

Van Daele is a fixture on the left. He’s also our new captain, since David Reilly decided not to accept a contract with a reduced role in the team. We’re short on depth on the wings, but fortunately a few of our strikers can play out wide, too.


Attackers


I extended Nolan’s loan, so the West Ham man will be back to lead the line. He’s a hard worker who has endeared himself to the fans at Eamonn Deacy Park. McCabe didn’t get a lot of playing time last year, but he was content to return to the team as a backup, and I’m glad to have him.

Coughlan is a new arrival, a well-rounded young striker with a decent nose for goal and the work ethic I’m trying to graft onto the DNA of our team.

Talented youngster Lynch is raw, but he is already talented enough to hang around the fringes of the first team, playing in a few cup ties while he hones his craft with the U19s.

Molloy can play at the top of the formation too, which makes him a valuable bench option.

Last edited by Greyfriars Bobby : 06-22-2019 at 12:41 PM.
Greyfriars Bobby is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-24-2019, 12:04 PM   #46
Greyfriars Bobby
High School Varsity
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
28 February 2016
The Irish President's Cup


The board don't care about our performance in this one-game "tournament," and I confess I wouldn't have either...if we hadn't been playing Shamrock Rovers, with their big payroll and their big-city attitude and their case full of trophies. They've won the Premier Division 17 times and placed second or third in another 27 seasons. They've got 25 Challenge Cups rattling around in their cupboard; that's the competition they bounced us from last autumn. We have four top-flight trophies, all told. Winning the league felt really good, but I'd like to put this particular club in its place.

Almost 3000 supporters shared my opinion about the importance of the match, and came out to Eamonn Deacy Park in fine voice. To my surprise, the big club from Dublin approached the game as if they were Ballypuddle FC. From the opening whistle, they packed into their end and rarely ventured out.

I'm used to smaller teams parking the bus, so I have an approach for dealing with it; I usually give my more creative players--Pasquale Van Daele, Declan Nolan, Gareth Kearney--freedom to do their thing. It worked, to some extent. We created 29 shots, only six from long range, and put 10 on target. But their goalkeeper, Sean O'Connor, was in fine form, and it took over an hour for us to beat him. Our own member of Clan O'Connor, Aaron, found a wide-open Kearney and set him up for an easy finish.

Thirteen minutes later, Rovers won a free kick just inside our half. Roy Murphy made a rare mistake, leaping to head it away, only to miss it and leave an attacker free as we scrambled back to defend. He cut the ball back to an equally-open Niall Lynch. His shot caromed off an unsuspecting teammate, Mark Dunne, and flew past a helpless Darcy Bradford.

That scoreline held through regular time and thirty minutes' worth of extra time, too. We had the only chances in the extra period, Aaron O'Connor going just wide and Declan Nolan forcing a fine save from Sean O'Connor. Still, the match would come down to penalties.

I'll make this short, because the outcome wasn't pleasant. Kearney, going third for us, was the first player to miss his penalty. Ross Tuite converted for Rovers, so it was up to Roy Murphy to keep our chances alive.

Sean O'Connor guessed right, made the save, and that was that.

It was a shame that Roy was part of the match's lowest points, because he played a typically fine game otherwise.

So, Shamrock Rovers went back to Dublin with another trophy, leaving me with one more reason to want to give them a thrashing or two in the league.
Greyfriars Bobby is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-24-2019, 12:33 PM   #47
Greyfriars Bobby
High School Varsity
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
15 April 2016



Drogheda United is off to a sizzling start this season, and they've emerged as a bit of a bogey side for us. They knocked us out of the League Cup (I fielded a team full of youngsters and backups) and, more importantly, took three points from us in the league.

Oddly enough, when we concede a goal, we lose. Good thing we haven't conceded many. We're technically fourth in the league, but two of the teams ahead of us have played seven games to our six. If we win today against Longford, we'll move up to second, a point behind Drogheda.

Billy Ryan returned to the team for the Derry City match, but drew two yellow cards and got himself sent off. With as many central midfielders as I have on hand, Billy can't afford to do things like that. As much as I like him, Glen Scully is perhaps a better choice.



Billy is still young at 23, but Glen is only 17. Scully is also expressing his desire to stay in the first team, and it might be hard to keep him unless I can give him that opportunity.

Last edited by Greyfriars Bobby : 06-24-2019 at 12:51 PM.
Greyfriars Bobby is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-25-2019, 04:30 PM   #48
Greyfriars Bobby
High School Varsity
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Ireland is turning out to be an interesting sort of football microcosm. Football is a summer sport in Ireland, for one thing, so it's out of step with much of the rest of the world. That means when mid-July rolls around, we'll be entering the European Champions Cup during the heat of our league programme, rather than during the offseason like clubs in many other countries.

The best Irish players don't play in Ireland. No member of the last Ireland squad plays his club football at home; most ply their trade in England, with a handful in the USA, Russia, and Italy. Gareth Kearney, whom I signed after I spotted him on a news release about the selections for the U21 team, is the only member of that team who plays for an Irish club. Gareth had recently been released by Greenock Morton, who play in Scotland's top league.

So, the Irish Premier Division is made up of the next tier of Irish players, along with a handful of foreign lads, mostly from England. I've put together the most diverse team in the league, with one Belgian (Pasquale Van Daele), one Costa Rican (Kenneth Díaz), one Englishman (Darcy Bradford) and one Dutchman (Alexander van der Steen). Loanees Aaron Sikumoya (Zambia) and Dean McCarthy (Wales) add even more international flavor. Perhaps my managerial alter ego being Dutch has something to do with that. I also have Dutch and Norwegian staff members, which sets us apart from our all-Irish opponents that much more.

The separation between Irish football and that of the rest of the world is fun, but I can also see how it might become a bit stifling in time. When it does, I suppose I can move on, whether it's in this dynasty story or in a new one.
Greyfriars Bobby is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-26-2019, 09:45 AM   #49
Greyfriars Bobby
High School Varsity
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
6 June 2016



Halfway through the season, the Tribesmen are involved in a hammer-and-tongs battle for the Premier Division lead. Despite a run of 12 games without a defeat, we can't separate ourselves from St. Pat's Athletic.



Sure, I'd like to be winning the league at a canter, but I'm delighted with how things are going right now. Look at that goals against total! We've let in only eight goals in the league so far, and three of those went in today (I'll elaborate later).

Our achievements are even more significant when you consider how many problems we've had with injuries this season. Kieron Russell didn't make his season debut until 15 April. Billy Ryan has been in and out of the team, banged up as often as not. Aaron O'Connor sprained his ankle on 16 May, and he hasn't come back yet. Darcy Bradford damaged his elbow last week, and won't be ready for another week or so. In the same match Declan Nolan tore his hamstring. That's four regular first team players and another (Ryan) who is a rotation option, all missing substantial amounts of time. And we're still top of the league on goal difference.

One highlight of the last two months has to be the 2-0 victory over Shamrock Rovers at Eamonn Deacy Park. We battered their 'keeper, Sean O'Connor, with 14 shots. While O'Connor was once again outstanding, he couldn't keep out a laser from Nolan, and he couldn't stop Dean McCarthy from banging in a shot off his near post.

We also got to congratulate young goalkeeper Michael Gill on the occasion of his first cap for Ireland U19s. He joins Patrick Lynch and Glen Scully as regular members of the national youth side.

Speaking of Lynch, he figures prominently in the story of our most exciting match of the season. We hosted St. Pat's Athletic, the two clubs topping the table on 33 points apiece. With Bradford unavailable, I selected Alexander van der Steen in goal, and the Dutch teenager was very shaky. With four minutes left in the first half, we were already down, 0-3. Declan Coughlan pulled one back, but our joy was both limited and brief. Captain Pasquale van Daele hobbled off the pitch and couldn't continue.

Coughlan can play on the left wing, so I shifted him there and brought on Lynch. Patrick has been scoring for fun for our U19s (8 games, 8 goals), so I picked him for the bench today.

Two minutes into the second half, Lynch drifted to the right side of the penalty area, received a cross from McCarthy, and lashed it home from a tight angle. Twelve minutes later, Gareth Kearney found him in nearly the same spot, and this time he fired across the face of goal and in at the far post. Just like that, we were level, and that's how the match ended. At 17 years, 7 days old, Lynch is now our youngest-ever goalscorer.

Over the course of the next few weeks, our squad will begin to look very different. Most of the players we've had on loan will be returning to their clubs, so we'll be saying goodbye to McCarthy, Nolan, and Aaron Sikumoya. Liverpool wants McCarthy to play with better players, and apparently Nolan and Sikumoya aren't allowed to return to us for a third time. We'll be keeping Sean Glynn until the end of the season, as both Everton and Sean are happy with our arrangement.

I'm discovering, however, that the prospects of playing in the Champions League appeal to a slightly higher calibre of player. I've reached terms with one talented footballer, whom I'll introduce to you when he arrives on 1 July.
Greyfriars Bobby is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-26-2019, 05:16 PM   #50
Greyfriars Bobby
High School Varsity
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
13 July 2016
European Champions Cup
Second Qualifying Phase


Galway United's first opponent in European competition will be Ludogorets, champions of Bulgaria.



Last season, Ludogorets made a nice run in the Champions Cup. They eliminated Vardar Skopje (Macedonia) and Qarabag (Azerbaijan) before falling to GNK Dinamo (Croatia) in the Champions Playoff. Then, they entered the EURO Cup, where they finished second in their group. They were bounced from the First Knockout Round by Fiorentina. In other words, Ludogorets are a big club--much bigger than we are--who have played 26 matches in European competition over the past two seasons. We will have to be at our very best to beat them, and even if we ARE at our best, it still might not be enough.

I am required to register a squad of no more than 25 players, with the following rules:
  • at least two goalkeepers must be in the squad
  • the squad must contain at least four players who were trained at Galway United for three years between their 15th and 21st birthdays
  • the squad must contain at least eight players who were trained in Ireland for three years, between their 15th and 21st birthdays

Here's the squad I've selected:


Our four Galway United homegrowns are Roy Murphy, Keiron Russell, Patrick Lynch, and Anton Zonneveld. I had no problem finding eight Irish-trained players.

There are three names on the list you won't recognize, and one more you weren't expecting to see again. It's time for you to meet them.

Barry Asher is the player I mentioned earlier, the one who was joining us on 1 July. A native of Bury, England, Asher spent the 2014 and 2015 seasons with Seattle Sounders in the USA. Barry has every quality he should need to become one of the biggest stars in Irish football. He is fast, strong, and technically adept, able to command the middle of the park against almost any opponent. He will immediately slot in beside Glen Scully, or perhaps I can play him at DM, moving Aaron O'Connor up to MC. In either spot, Asher should make us a more formidable side.

As much as I love Alan Woods, he isn't good enough to start for a Champions Cup team. So, when Dean McCarthy returned to Liverpool, I needed to find a new right back. I selected Derek Kelly, a Longford man and a former Irish international who had been released by Reading (England/Championship). Derek is 33 and has perhaps lost a yard of pace, but he is in fine condition and his positional awareness should enable him to remain effective. He will also take a coaching role with our U19 team.

We won't have Sean Glynn forever, so when my scouting team recommended a young center back called John Lawless who had been let go by Norwich, I took a long look at him. John might not be good enough for the top flight in England, but he ought to do a job for us. John isn't especially fast, but he is a solid defender with very good marking and tackling skills. At the very least, he will give us the ability to keep our defenders fresh as we compete in the league, the Champions Cup, and the Irish Challenge Cup.

Sharp eyes will pick up the presence of Aaron Sikumoya on the squad list. Chelsea decided Aaron was surplus to requirements, but I'll happily take a "reject" from last year's Champions Cup runners-up. Aaron is young (22), quick, hard-working, and versatile.



Our supporters aren't too optimistic, but hopefully some of the most steadfast among them will make that long journey to Razgrad to keep the Tribesmen's flag flying high!

Last edited by Greyfriars Bobby : 06-26-2019 at 05:17 PM.
Greyfriars Bobby is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 02:22 PM.



Powered by vBulletin Version 3.6.0
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.