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Countdown to Kickoff: 10 days until Galway United’s Premier Division Opener

As the countdown to Galway United’s highly anticipated SSE Airtricity Men’s Premier Division opener against St. Patrick’s Athletic reaches the single digits Season Tickets have reached an all-time high and there’s a sense of excitement around Galway. Nestled beside the tranquil waters of the River Corrib, Eamonn Deacy Park eagerly awaits the return of top-flight football for the first time since 2017.

2024 will see our 46th League of Ireland campaign. This season under the stewardship of Manager John Caulfield, Galway United is gearing up for a homecoming extravaganza like no other. “It’s fantastic for the supporters,” Caulfield remarks. “Having the Premier division first, at home — it doesn’t get bigger than that. We want to sell out Eamonn Deacy Park and create an electric atmosphere for the fans.”

7 October 2023; Galway United supporters during the Sports Direct Mens FAI Cup semi-final match between Galway United and Bohemians at Eamonn Deacy Park in Galway. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Reflecting on the challenge ahead, Caulfield acknowledges the strength of St. Patrick’s Athletic under the guidance of Jon Daly. “Jon Daly has come in and done a fantastic job,” Caulfield observes. “They won the cup in a really impressive fashion and secured a European spot. We can see that they have recruited well in the off-season too” We have played St.Pat’s numerous times through the years, see a breakdown below by our resident statistician Julian Canny:

This will be our 87th meeting with St Pat’s

Our most common opening day opponent has been St Pat’s who we’ve faced 7 times so far (W 2, D 1, L 4) but just twice at home. Most famously, we beat them 3-0 away in 2009 when Jeff Kenna had left United to become St Pat’s boss. This year will be our 8th time facing them on the opening day.

6 March 2009; Derek O’Brien, left, Galway United, celebrates after scoring his side’s first goal with team-mate Jay O’Shea, centre. League of Ireland Premier Division, St Patrick’s Athletic v Galway United, Richmond Park, Dublin. Picture credit: Barry Cregg / SPORTSFILE

25 wins, 23 draws and 38 defeats in those matches. 45 of those meetings have been at home with 13 wins, 14 draws and 18 losses.

Our latest competitive meeting was 13th October 2017, a 1-1 home draw, Eoin McCormack put United ahead in the first half before Billy Dennehy scored in the 2nd half.

The 7 previous first day meetings with St Pat’s were:

1977 H Drew 0-0 – first ever League of Ireland match for the club.
1978 A Lost 2-3 – St Pat’s went 3-0 up before two Tony ‘Ginger’ Collins goals in the second half mounted a comeback.
2001 A Lost 0-3 – first match under Dave Connell, held them to 0-0 at half-time before being well beaten.
2009 A Won 3-0 – Ian Foster in charge after Jeff Kenna had left to join St Pat’s. Derek O’Brien x2 and Vinny Faherty with the goals.
2010 A Lost 0-2 – Sean Connor’s first game in charge – Stephen O’Donnell was sent off on his debut!
2011 H Lost 0-3 – Third year in a row playing Pat’s on the opening day! A heavy defeat – an omen of things to come that season.
2016 A Won 3-1 – Christy Fagan gave St Pat’s the lead in the second half before a strong comeback saw United take the points back home – goals from Vinny Faherty, John Sullivan & Enda Curran.

4 March 2016; John O’SullEvan, Galway United, celebrates scoring his side’s second goal of the game. SSE Airtricity League Premier Division St Patrick’s Athletic v Galway United. Richmond Park, Dublin. Picture credit: David Fitzgerald / SPORTSFILE

Despite the opposition, Caulfield remains optimistic about Galway United’s prospects in the SSE Airtricity Men’s Premier Division. “It’s an exciting time back in the Premier Division,” he reflects. “Our supporters want to be back there. Our crowds, which were excellent last year, are expected to be even bigger this year. We can’t wait for the opening day of the season and to test ourselves against St. Pat’s.” Caulfield also remarked on how important the fans are to how the team performs “It’s important everyone gets into the ground very early and supports these lads” Having people in the ground early, can make a crucial difference to the pre-match atmosphere and the players can feed off that energy.

16 September 2022; Galway United supporters during the SSE Airtricity League First Division match between Galway United and Cork City at Eamonn Deacy Park in Galway. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

United have made a number of new signings in the off-season, including Garry Buckley, Karl O’Sullivan, Leo Gaxha, Patrick Hickey, Jeannot Esua, Joe Wright and Tom Costello. There’s still a few days for business to be done so keep an eye on our social media for any updates as we finalise our squad ahead of the 2024 campaign.

With just 10 days to go, the anticipation continues to mount as Galway United prepares to make its mark in the SSE Airtricity Men’s Premier Division. Make sure to get your Season Tickets now and we will see you in Eamonn Deacy Park on Saturday 10th February at 7PM for our friendly against Wexford. Stay tuned for further updates and announcements as the momentous kickoff draws near!

Our match partners for the game are Harry’s Bar. Founded in 2017 is situated right in the heart of Galway City in Bohermore. They offer a wide range of mouth-watering food, including brunch, wings, burgers, steak, nachos & desserts. They have everything from classic shakes to just about every type of daiquiri to shots, sours and signature classics. Pop in for some grub in front of the big screen, for a night out in the town, or for a romantic meal!

Our match-ball partners are The Cellar, Galway. An established, iconic gastropub located in the heart of Galway City on Eglington Street, The Cellar has been offering great food, drinks, live sport and entertainment to the local community and beyond for more than 30 years.