Athenry FC History

Athenry Soccer Club was formed in 1971 in the Canton Hall, Athenry. The founding members were Rev. Fr. M. Gleeson, Tony Coffey, Michael Morrissey, David Sweeney, Richard Mulkerrins, Henry Docherty, Sean Hynes, Frank Kilkelly, Leo Coffey, S. King, and Dessie Glynn. The first match was played in South Park , Galway against West United and ended in a 1-1 draw with David Sweeney scoring for Athenry. The Athenry team on that occasion was: Frank Stack, John Quinn, G O' Dowd, Leo Coffey, Michael Morrissey, Dessie Glynn, Gerry Docherty, Sean King, David Sweeney, Francis Kilkelly, Kieran Barrett, Patrick Flannery, Kevin Healy, Peter Gilhooley and Gerry Connaughton. David Sweeney scored Athenry's first ever goal. At present the club has four senior teams and also juvenile teams at under 18, 17, 16, 15, 14, 13, 12, 11, 10 and 9 age groups.

Since the formation of the club we have won 25 titles at all levels and 23 of these have come in the last 10 years. In the last three seasons we have won an historic 9 titles including 6 at senior level. We have over 400 playing members at the moment and will probably need more playing facilities in the coming years.

We have won 15 senior titles since the formation of the club with ten of these coming in the last ten years. The club won its first Connacht title, Premiership trophy and Michael O' Byrne cup. We also got to the FAI junior cup final in 2006 being only the second Galway team to do so. We lost unluckily by the only goal after extra time.

Since being started by Johnny Delaney the under age structure has come on leaps and bounds with most of the young players who started under Johnny now in our senior teams. The club has won ten juvenile titles since its formation with all of those coming in the last ten years. We won our first Connacht cup at all levels in 2006. We won our first a league title at A level winning the under 10 title in 2008.

The following is taken from the diary of Dessie Glynn one of the founding members of the club from 1971.

The entry in my diary for Wednesday 17th March,1971 reads as follows;
Went to twelve mass. Played soccer in school. Talk of a soccer club being formed.  Formed a Club-Henry Doherty and company.  Went for walk in Moneen. The field we played in that day was the convent field. It was where the present secondary school is now located (2009).

Among the lads playing that day in the convent field were as follows;
Henry and Gerry Doherty (Caheroyan), Pat, Francis and Michael Kilkelly (Caheroyan), Gearoid O' Dowd (Park), myself-Des Glynn (Caheroyan) , Gerry Stack (Chapel Lane), David Sweeney (Cross Street), Packie Flannery ( North Gate Street), Kieran Barrett (Caheroyan) and Tony and Leo Coffey (Caheroyan Avenue). Others who may have been there that day included Seamus Mulkerrins and Micky Gill  (Caheroyan), Packie and Eugene Curley (Caheroyn Crescent/Bridge Street),Gerry Hall (The Valley) and Sean King (Mulpit).
That of course means that this is the moment, St.Patricks Day, 1971. It was decided that we wanted to form a Soccer Club in Athenry. Shortly afterwards, we arranged a meeting for the Canton Hall, where a committee and officers were elected. That is the official date of the setting up of the Athenry Soccer Club.  The next reference in my diary is for a Soccer meeting in the Canton Hall on April Sunday April 3rd,1971. I remember, I cycled to Cussane to tell Peter Gillhooley about the meeting about starting a Soccer Club in Athenry. Peter, Tommy Fahy and Willie Killeen attended the first meeting in the Canton Hall.
In conversation with Tony Coffey, Caherroyn Avenue, in the Square, Athenry on 23rd January, 2008, in the company of Seamus Mulkerrins,  Ard  Aoibhinn, Tony (elected first Chairman of Athenry Soccer Club in 1971),  said that while he was walking about the school grounds on St. Patricks Day 1971, he was approached by Henry Doherty and a group of lads, and Henry told him that they wanted  to form  a Soccer Club. Looking back on these events, Tony felt that there were  a couple of reasons as to why  he was approached by the lads. Firstly, he was more senior than them and therefore had a certain respect and, secondly, that he actually had a soccer ball which he had brought back from England the previous year. The ball being used by the lads playing that day may in fact have been his.

The following is the committee elected that day and also reports in the Connacht Tribune of the first meeting and the first fixtures.