Relegation is the worst nightmare for any footballer playing at an elite level. For a passionate player like Colm Horgan it hurts even more, but Colm, who is a highly intelligent and ambitious young player, can also look at the season pragmatically, now that the dust has settled somewhat.
He has now moved on and signed for Cork City where the promise of European football and further glory beckons – he is also following a path trodden by older brother Daryl and that didn’t work out too bad!
The 23 year old is something of a League of Ireland veteran, amazingly, with eight seasons under his belt. He started as a sixteen year old with Salthill Devon when they plied their trade in the League of Ireland and right from the word go he acquitted himself well.
Last season, Horgan captained Galway United. Their fate was sealed early when they only managed one win in the opening series of games. However it was the drawn games that would ultimately be their undoing. They drew fourteen games and if they had managed to win half of those they would have been pressing Derry City for fourth place.
“It was our failure to keep clean sheets that was the biggest problem,” Colm reasons. “Probably meant we needed to score two, at least, to get a win.” So while goal scoring was a challenge as well, Colm points at a collective responsibility for defensive frailties rather than finger pointing or complaining about outside influences.
Galway United did not have a very big squad this season, their bench being mostly populated with younger, inexperienced players. However Colm says that they prepared professionally on a full-time basis, with a mixture of gym and pitch sessions. They were fit and well conditioned – Colm himself missed just two games all season – for one he was rested and the other suspended, for accumulated yellow cards.
Manager Shane Keegan
Colm speaks in glowing terms about manager Shane Keegan who he considers did a really good job, even when it appeared the gods conspired to frustrate their season. “At times it seemed that when we got a good result, we never got a break with other results!” It is actually to Keegan’s credit that he dealt very well with adversity. They lost Lee Grace to Shamrock Rovers during the transfer window – the club needed the funds. When they picked up Jonah Ayunga from Sligo, he broke his leg when it looked like he would deliver the threat up front that they desperately needed.
The future for Galway United is uncertain, with no players contracted for next season. The likelihood is they will lose their other top players to premier clubs – Rory Hale likely to go to Derry and it will be left to young pretenders to battle their way out of the First division. Whether Keegan is there or not remains to be seen, although he is on contract and would be the ideal person to manage the challenge. Football can be a cruel game though and sometimes sanity does not prevail.
The Future For Horgan
What next for Colm? Well initially it’s Cork City. Colm Horgan is a very bright young man who has decided that he will give professional football every chance to be his career. The ‘fallback’ is firmly in place, with a BComm degree from NUI Galway. Playing League of Ireland football is not the extent of his ambition and who is to say that he won’t get the opportunity to move cross channel. Playing in European football is the stage that shows what level you can compete at and that is how the ‘big clubs’ judge possible acquisitions.
Playing right back is Colm’s favourite position but he showed his adaptability this season when Galway reverted to a back three – he played left side ala Denis Irwin. Pace, tenacity and finely tuned ball skills are key tools is his armoury, tools he will get to sharpen in Europe.
“I love playing in the League – really enjoy it – the standard is very much underestimated! Next season will be a bigger challenge and hopefully even bigger ones are still to come.”
A Dynasty of Footballers?
The Horgan’s could become a soccer dynasty! We all know about Daryl’s starring role at Dundalk, his move to Preston North End and his debut for Ireland against Iceland. Last season Kevin was back-up keeper with Shamrock Rovers and younger brother Chris played for Galway United’s u19’s.
It may not be unique to have four brothers playing simultaneously at elite level – but it’s not very common.
It has been this writer’s privilege to watch Daryl, Colm, Kevin and Chris blossom as players from six years of age to the present day at Salthill Devon and beyond, both on and off the field. Who knows what heights they still have to scale!
They are standard bearers for the Salthill Devon conveyor belt at Drom, but they are not alone as a testimony to a lifetime of work by many coaches, parents, trainers & helpers.
Salthill Devon is 40 years on the go this year – as they say, “Much done, but much more to do!”