AIRTRICITY LEAGUE FOOTBALL in Galway took another twist in an already eventful pre-season as it has emerged that Salthill Devon are to rebrand.
Following yesterday’s announcement that Galway United Supporters Trust (GUST) would not be represented in the league this season after their licence application was turned down and they voted to reject the offers of a merger, one of the teams who they had held talks with will today meet with its club members to explain their latest decision.
As part of the plan, they will change their name from Salthill Devon to ‘SD Galway FC’ and look likely to play Aitricity League home fixtures out of Terryland Park, which is now available because of Galway United’s absence.
And according to club representative Pete Kelly, they are optimistic of being successful in their move and will be reaching out to the people of Galway for support.
“We are comfortable that we can do what we need to do,” Kelly told TheScore.ie. “You want to get as many people supporting as you can and we will welcome followers of football in Galway with open arms.
Over the years, you had a lot of people going to Terryland Park to watch games – I was a season-ticket holder myself.
“And I think people will want to come and see League of Ireland matches in a comfortable surrounding.”
FAI chief executive John Delaney also praised the decision.
“Salthill Devon have a fantastic facility out in Drom and I think it is important there will be a Galway team playing out of Terryland Park this season, simply to keep senior football alive in the venue,” Delaney said in the Galway Advertiser.
“Terryland Park is a lovely stadium and we wanted a Galway team playing there, that was important.”
The excellent facilities in Drom will remain SD Galway’s home and training ground and the next month will be spent finalising the first-team squad and a new kit (which will possibly be maroon and white).
“Half a dozen players who have experience with Galway United are training with us and I believe we will have a much stronger squad of players this season,” said Kelly, ahead of their opening fixture away to Athlone Town on March 2.
“But this club isn’t all about the first-team, it’s about the entity. We’ve got 23 other teams and believe in the ethos of bringing local players up through the ranks from schoolboys to seniors.”
On the long-term future of the game in Galway, Delaney sees just one team competing in the League of Ireland.
“Going forward we ideally would like to marry the three different constituencies that exist in Galway at present,” he said.
“The process isn’t finished and further meetings and negotiations will take place. We must strive to get a solution that has a good, strong football team coming out of Galway.”