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Galway United sign club legend and U17s manager to playing contract for 2018 season

One goal for 36-year-old Alan Murphy will see him become United’s joint-highest goalscorer of all time.

Image: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

GALWAY UNITED HAVE signed their U17s manager Alan Murphy to a senior playing contract for the 2018 SSE Airtricity First Division season.

The 36-year-old midfielder, a club icon, trails United’s all-time top scorer Paul ‘Ski’ McGee by just a single goal having begun his career at Eamonn Deacy Park 20 years ago.

Under Tony Mannion in 2003, Ballinrobe native Murphy enjoyed his standout season in maroon, scoring 21 league goals in the First Division for the westerners.

Moves to Derry City, Shamrock Rovers and Mervue United followed before he returned to Galway to play for junior side West United.

Murphy was named manager of Galway’s U17s this time last year, but has signed on the dotted line to return to League of Ireland football as a player for the upcoming First Division campaign.

“There was a couple of reasons I made a move to sign ‘Murph’, United boss Shane Keegan told the club website.

One was I went to watch three West United games in the last month or two, specifically looking at particular players, in all three games he was the best player on the pitch. That was what caught my eye first and foremost.

“We’re a little bit short on two things. One is an out-and-out central midfielder, and we’re also short of experience. Here is a player that ticks both boxes for us, so I had a chat with him to see if he was up for it. He was and the signing was a no-brainer after that.

“Watching how Alan has ran our under-17 team over the last year, he’s done an absolutely exceptional job and that just backs up my belief that when he commits to something, he doesn’t give anything less than 100%.

“He’s a real Galway United man and I think he could play an important role for me in a couple of different guises in the coming season.

“Every manager would like to have a situation where they effectively have two or three players who can actually manage the game on the pitch, to understand what the manager wants and have the experience to get the job done.

“It’s cuteness and cleverness, knowing the game inside out. A couple of weeks ago, I would’ve said we were very short on that front, but with the additions of Robbie Williams and Murph, we’re now gone from little experience, to quite a decent amount.”

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Alan Murphy signs 1 Source: Vinny O'Connor

‘Murph’ himself is highly enthused to be returning to the League of Ireland with the club he represented as a boy.

“It is a young squad, but it’s an ambitious and exciting squad. Yes, there are players there that wouldn’t have huge experience, but it’s something we [he and Keegan] spoke about.

“It would be a role for me on and off the pitch in the coming season that there would be a leadership element in it.

I have unfinished business with Galway United. I still have a huge ambition to see the club progress at both underage and senior level.

“I’ve gone full circle from being a 17-year-old kid who made his way with Galway United and nailed down a first team position at that age to now managing the under-17s and 17 or 18 years later, getting back into this situation again.

“It’s a great story for me, but it’s unfinished business and I’m going to be taking this very seriously. I’m looking forward to a very ambitious year and hopefully a season we deliver in.”

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