Five Galway United players to watch this season
With the 2022 League of Ireland First Division season well underway, here are Galway Pulse’s five key men to look out for as Galway United aim to win promotion to the Premier Division.
United announced the signing of striker Jordan Adeyemo from Drogheda United on Christmas Day, 2021. In what was certainly a fantastic gift to Galway United fans, the 21-year-old forward made 22 appearances for Drogheda United in the Premier Division last season, scoring four goals and grabbing one assist. With manager John Caulfield trying to recruit smartly, Adeyemo’s experience in the Premier Division could prove vital to Galway’s push for the title. As former talisman Ruairi Keating has joined promotion rivals Cork City, the responsibility of grabbing goals has fallen on Adeyemo’s shoulders, with him scoring two goals in eight for the Tribesmen so far this season.
Attacking midfielder Manning re-signed for Galway United ahead of the 2021 season, following a very successful spell with Athlone Town. Manning, brother of Republic of Ireland international and Swansea City defender Ryan Manning, scored 8 goals in 18 appearances in the First Division for Athlone Town, before coming back to the Maroon Army. Manning’s minutes were limited last season as he was plagued with injury, only featuring twice in the First Division for Galway United. Provided he can stay fit, the 21-year-old winger could prove to be a huge asset to John Caulfield’s men this season
Another centre forward, 21-year-old Waweru, of Kenyan descent, carries a goal threat, after notching eight goals and an assist in the First Division last season. A firm fan’s favourite in Eamon Deacy Park, Waweru has had an impressive rise through the ranks at Galway United, having joined the club from Mervue United in 2017 he was 17 years of age, and going on to win the club’s Player of the Year award for 2021. His season has gotten off to an eventful start, as he was sent off in the club’s opening home game of the season against title rivals Cork City, but has scored two goals in the following games. Just like Adeyemo, as mentioned above, Waweru will be hoping to bring his goal tally for 2022 into double figures as United push for promotion this season.
2021 was a massive year for 17-year-old Alex Murphy, as he made the step-up from Academy to First Team football for the very first time. Making his first appearance against Athlone Town halfway through the 2021 season, Murphy went on to make 12 assured appearances for Galway United at both left and centre back in all competitions and was rewarded for his efforts with his first ever professional contract. Murphy has achieved a lot in his short footballing career already, as he also captained and scored for the Republic of Ireland U17’s as they demolished Malta 7-1 last season. It is easy to forget how young Murphy is with the quality of his play, and he will continue balancing his football with schoolwork as he is still in 5th year. Although 2021 was his breakout season, United fans are excited to see if Murphy’s stock will rise even further again this season, as he has already attracted interest from the UK ahead of an imminent big move.
If you were to go through the Galway United squad for the 2022 season, not many would have picked out full-back Stephen Walsh as the current top scorer for United so far this season. The defender has popped up with crucial goals for Galway so far, scoring four goals in Galway’s eight games this season. Walsh stepped away from professional football for a year, but was lured back in by John Caulfield ahead of the 2021 season, and it’s safe to say he has been rejuvenated since.