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Emmett Hartigan (Galway United Board Member), Emer Flatley (FAI Development Officer), John Caulfield (Galway United Senior Manager), Geraldine Gibbons (GTI Principal), Sean McGlynn (Galway FA), Gary Traynor (Galway United Academy Coach), Johnny Glynn (GTI, Galway United Head of Academy).

There is a growing awareness among SSE Airtricity League clubs of the necessity to make sure their players are supported should they wish to combine their football with furthering their education on third level college and university courses.

Several clubs already have links with third level institutions and now Galway United have become the latest club to recognise the importance of this initiative.


The first division club have teamed up with Galway Technical Institute (GTI) to deliver a full-time dual career programme for high-level players.

The introduction of a new coaching & training programme at GTI will provide another important structure to enhance their player development pathway.

This programme will be delivered by professional coaches from Galway United and is aimed at players with a proven track record at an advanced level of the game.

A substantial element of this course is the provision of additional coaching hours from Galway United coaches in a high-performance environment.

This full-time course includes eight additional coaching hours per week delivered by UEFA qualified coaches. 

The course will enable talented young players to further develop their technical and tactical skills and understanding of the game whilst also gaining a full QQI qualification in Sport, Recreation and Exercise at level 5, the successful completion of which allows for progression to universities and the new Technological Universities.

John Caulfield the Galway United Senior team manager is an enthusiastic supporter of this new initiative having previously managed University College Cork (UCC) to Irish Universities Collingwood Cup glory before taking over as Cork City boss and establishing a link with the UCC.

This project is very significant and should provide another important structure in our club to support player development. A dual career pathway allows players to balance training and education without any compromise”.

Geraldine Gibbons, Principal of Galway Technical Institute is delighted to see the college being part of this new programme.

GTI are very pleased to collaborate with Galway United Football Club in the development of this exciting and innovative programme. This new programme will provide participants with the opportunity to focus on developing their skills and talents in the game whilst simultaneously achieving qualifications which can provide progression routes to further and higher education.

“GTI recognises the changes in the football pathway in Ireland and this collaboration seeks to assist the dual pathway requirements.

“We also have direct links to Physiotherapy and Sports Rehabilitation degree courses at Bolton University and our Sports students can apply for a sports-specific Erasmus and work experience in mainland Europe.”

GTI has delivered an Elite football course since 2012 and many graduates have gone on to further their game in Ireland and abroad.

Patrick Hoban, Kevin Horgan, Enda Curran, Conor Winn, Chris Horgan, Gary Shanahan and current senior player Wilson Waweru are just some of the former GTI students who have gone on to play professional football.

Head of the Galway United Academy Johnny Glynn also recognises the necessity for players to also focus on their further education.

“This is a great opportunity for young players to experience full-time coaching and training whilst at the same time getting Academic qualifications which will allow them to progress to higher education.

“This new football course is designed specifically to allow us to deliver additional coaching hours and close the gap to senior professional football.

“GTI has a proven track record and this collaboration should prove to be a catalyst for further dual career opportunities for young footballers across the country. Our coaching programme will mirror our senior team’s full-time training which should help facilitate progression to the senior squad.”

Applications can be made for this course through GTI’s website – https://www.gti.ie/applications/course/detail/course/gti-238 or call them on 091 – 581 342, with the course commencing in late August 2022.

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