Interview with GUFC Coach "Gary Traynor"

1. Where did Football start for you? When did you retire? How and when did you start coaching?
Started off playing with Newcastle Utd (8or9) then Galway Hibs U16 (Newcastle when they merged with GUFC)
Galway United. U17/18 > U21
Won the league, league Cup, and Connacht Cup that year U18. Simon Walsh, Dave (Smithy) Smith alone won it for us, the Moran twins also.
Mervue U21 for a season.
Our Ladies Boys Club (OLBC) who I had grown up watching as my cousin played there. Great entertainment, they were the Wimbledon of Galway Football
Spent 4-5 years, few Div 1 and 2 leagues and Cups
Renmore AFC, Mark Herrick took over for year.
OLBC for a season and we won the league and Joe Ryan Cup (scored the winner oddly enough) Great team, which included: Geoffrey Power, Ollie Rafferty, Dave McDonagh, Jimmy Jennings, Bryan O Halloran and more... players who are still peaking today.
In 2009 then I was signed by
Mervue United AFC who had just attained a licence to take part in the new ‘LOI A Championship’
Long story short, we got to the playoffs that season and beat Kildare County in a two leg playoff to get ‘Division 1’ status, Next two seasons were great experience playing in Div 1 against some big sides: Shels, Finn Harps, Longford, UCD, Sporting Final, Dundalk etc.
We had amazing players, some which went to England, and some still lighting up the LOI at moment.
Tried to go back and 3 years ago had a half season with Knocknacarra but work commitments again got in the way and 4 kids now
My current status is OVER 35s WEST

2. Who was the biggest influence on you?
Firstly my cousin Bryan O'Halloran, great player, never got enough credit.
Dave Daly (senior) OLBC.
Johnny Glynn, still to this day mentors me along with Mark Herrick.
John Power also (Power Soccer) was good to me for 16 years and that’s where I learn my passion for my trade today. The younger players! Also got to coach in Canada (2 summers) and Tanzania, East Africa.
Also, Adrian Cronin, I love listening to Adrian.

3. What did you achieve in your career?
•Few underage leagues, cups
•Connacht Cup
•Joe Ryan Cup x2
•Jack Lillis Cups
•FAI National 5s (Smithy, Jonny O Brien and co)
•Currently UEFA B
•Intro courses in England, Scotland and Wales and Ontario

4. What are your three most memorable moments during your career?
•Winner in Joe Ryan Cup
•Irish Sun FAI 5s (Aviva Stadium)
•Playoff win in Kildare when we qualified for League Of Ireland

5. Who was the toughest opponent you ever played against?
Ronn Finn (now Shamrock Rovers F.C.) I used to have to man mark him, true story followed him into the UCD dressing room at HT once as a joke, he had the last laugh I can tell you that.
Toughest team played against, it would always be Mervue Utd. They always were so well structured, all very good footballers technically and good managers that were tactically smart as hell.

6. In all the squads you have been part of can you name the following:
Tough as Nails - Geoff Power (OLBC)
Funny Guy - Billy Mannion (OLBC)
Fastest player - Alex Lee (Mervue)
Most Skillful - Simon Walsh (school/GUFC)
Most Grumpy - Simon Murray (OLBC)
Best Player - Simon Murray (OLBC)

7. From all the players you have played with, name your strongest 11 which includes yourself:
GK: Motsy McDonagh (OLBC, he’s a cult hero in Westside)
2. Dave O’Brien (Mervue)
3. Marc Ludden (Mervue)
4. Eric Browne (Mervue)
5. Nigel Corbett (OLBC)
6. Me
7. Rory Gaffney (Mervue)
8. Geoff Power (OLBC)
9. Simon Murray (OLBC)
10. Pat Hoban (Mervue)
11. Ollie Keogh (Mervue)
Manager: Johnny Glynn

8. Finally, you have been coaching now for many yrs! What do you enjoy about coaching? what would be your strength and can you name a weakness?
- Coaching since I was 19 (now 37... you do the math) when I left school I was at a loose end and John Power took me under his wing (Power Soccer) spend a couple of years there coaching kids from the ages of 3-12 then doing summer camps etc.
He then expanded and I was doing 6-7 days a week, leading the programs.
Which gave me huge experience meeting and dealing with people. We’d have locations all over Galway.
Weekend work was effecting my football however and I ended up finishing playing football properly at around 28 years of age.. 3 kids at the time and work had to come first. I was gutted.
I left Power Soccer in 2017 and took up a new Role with Galway United in the Acadmey as one of the head coaches there along with:
Johnny Glynn (UEFA PRO), Phil Trill (UEFA A), Jason Murphy (UEFA B), Xavi Vàzquez (UEFA B), also GUFC U17s and dev squads.
Also in 2017 I took over as Knocknacarra Soccer Coordinator from ages 3-9 (over see around 250 kids)
My strength would be working with the really young player and understanding their needs. A player focused approach. Each kid leaves the session having touched the ball over 1000 times each, along with smaller sided games incorporated by age appropriate fun games.
My Weakness = TECHNOLOGY and coaching is evolving so quick with technology I fear I’ll be left behind.

Thank you,
@athenry_afc / #athenry_afc
Galway United F.C.