Johnny Glynn: 'When it's your home town, and you are the captain and you score the winning goal, it's a fantastic moment for everyone'

Tue, Nov 17 2020

None Credit: Hugh de Paor (ETPhotos)

As Galway United legends go, none come much greater than Galway native Johnny Glynn.

With numerous domestic honours to his name and the captain and goal scorer the day The Tribesmen won their only FAI Cup, Glynn made a great name for himself at a number of League of Ireland clubs including Galway United.

Now with his playing career behind him he is the Head of Youth Development at Galway United as well as now being involved with the first team as of the 2020 season, but it all began back in the mid-1980s

Johnny Glynn’s senior football career began when he signed for Tommy Lally’s Galway United team at the start of the 1984/85 season from local side Corrib Shamrocks.

“I was 17 and still in school. I joined a team where the lads were a lot older than me; it was a different environment than it would be now,” Glynn told

Glynn and that Galway side reached the FAI Cup final in 1985, narrowly losing 1-0 to Shamrock Rovers.

After the 1985/86 season concluded, Glynn was offered a move across the water to America to pursue a scholarship in Boston University.

“The football is different in the States but it was a good standard,” he explained.

“The college season starts in August and finishes in December. It is a very short compressed season. I was lucky at Boston University that there was a very good team; I ended up as leading goal scorer.

“This was due to my striking partner Michael Emenalo, who made nearly all my goals. Emenalo went on to play for Nigeria in the World Cup and he is now a Sporting Director, most recently at Chelsea and Monaco.

“There are probably more opportunities in the American system now for youngsters to pursue a career in football when finished with their studies,” he added.

Glynn didn’t stay too long at Boston University, leaving after one season. He came home for Christmas and signed for Shamrock Rovers.

Glynn spent one season at Rovers where he would win the League and FAI Cup with his new side.  

After one season with Sligo Rovers, Johnny returned to Galway United for the 1988/89 season when he was signed by John Herrick and then played under Paul ‘Ski’ McGee the following season.

Glynn would spend three years at Eamonn Deacy Park but during this time he was plagued by injuries and had little game time.

Glynn recalled a point during the 1990 season where the Galway United team suffered a heavy defeat at the hands of Derry City, losing 9-1 at the Brandywell.

“It was a very hard experience for everyone in the squad at the time. We could not have imagined that we would be cup winners the following year.”

Glynn points to how Joey Malone came in as manager for the Cup winning season and restructured the team.

The striker scored the winning goal in a 1-0 victory over Shamrock Rovers at Lansdowne Road. Writing his name clearly in Galway United’s history. 

“When it’s your home town, and you are the captain and you score the winning goal, it’s a fantastic moment for everyone,” he explains.

The following season, Glynn left Galway United and signed for Cork City. He would spend three years at Cork, winning one League title, before he joined St Patrick’s Athletic in 1995.

The Galwegian would win another League of Ireland title with The Saints.

During his time playing for Cork and The Saints, Glynn was studying Sports Science at the University of Limerick and graduated in 1997 with an honours degree.

After a season in the Norwegian league, playing for FK Haugesund and FC Stord, Glynn returned to the League of Ireland and re-signed for Cork City for one season under David Barry.

Glynn’s last hurrah as a player was a triumphant one as he won the FAI Cup with Cork before he retired.

Upon retirement, Johnny Glynn pursued a career in Sports Science. He worked for the IRFU for two years where he was a fitness consultant for the Connacht rugby team.

Glynn also worked for GAA teams which included spells with the Clare hurling team and the Galway hurling and football teams.

On the football side of things, Glynn worked for St Patrick’s Athletic as a fitness consultant and also worked under Pat Fenlon for a year at Derry City as a fitness coach initially and then stayed on to be part of the backroom staff for the season.

Glynn’s first step into League of Ireland management came when Mervue United were offered a place in the new A Championship structure which began in 2009.

“Myself and Mark Herrick formed a management team. We started from scratch; Marc Ludden, Pat Hoban and Rory Gaffney were some of the young lads coming through the Under 18 team at Mervue.

“We ended up getting promoted to the First Division from this A Championship Division and reached the playoffs in 2014,” he recalled.

Johnny became Under 19 Galway United manager before taking on the role as Head of Galway Youth Development ahead of the 2017 Airtricity League season.

In August of this year, Glynn was asked to join the senior set up at the club by new manager John Caulfield. The Cork City legend was a former teammate of Glynn’s.

“I have been very impressed with John. We are very fortunate to have him at Galway. The job really is a full time job and it needs somebody with energy, knowledge and experience to get us back to the Premier Division.

“John has the drive, skills and ambition to want to turn Galway into a successful club. John knows what needs to be done and I’m there to help him whatever way I can.”

In terms of the future for the Connacht club, the man synonymous with Galway football has a clear vision of what direction Galway United should take to progress.

“We are a club in transition and need to have clearer objectives and develop a clearer identity,” he said.

“We have a great coaching team working very hard in the Academy and an excellent manager in the senior team.

“We must create something unique and maximise our resources to ensure we can challenge to be the leading club in Irish football.

“We now have an excellent Community Coaching Programme at the base of our coaching pyramid and this is the entry point for young players at the club.

“We get to know and develop the players at a younger age and create a connection between the young players, their parents and schoolboy clubs with Galway United.

“We will continue to develop our connections in the football community over the next few years and although we are waiting to develop our own facilities, we are fortunate to have support of many clubs in the football community.

“Having our own base in the future will be great for the club and a place that we can say ‘this is Galway United’”.


Did you enjoy this article? If so, please consider becoming a patron of for just €4 a month to help us cover running costs.