HISTORY – GALWAY BOHEMIANS 1932 – 2020
When John O’Dowd came to town to work in the Galway Printing Company, he was amazed to discover that there was no organised juvenile soccer played here, all of the schools regarded it as a foreign game, and the established junior clubs reckoned that young fellas were a nuisance taking up space on pitches and using footballs etc. He approached The Galway Football Committee to demand a juvenile league be set up, and so began a new era in Galway soccer history in 1931/32. The clubs involved included Crusaders, Hotspurs, Reds United, Emmetts, Unknowns, Bective Rangers and Hibernians.
The only soccer pitch available was ‘The Swamp’ which had been acquired by Galway Corporation under the Carnegie Trust. The pitches there were allotted under the Trust rulings, which meant there could be no charge for viewing games. The league was a big success with Hotspurs winning the first title. A minor league was established in 1932/33 thus ensuring continuity of competitive football for the players.
A competition for The Free State Minor Cup was the beginning of organised underage soccer at National level. John O’Dowd decided Galway should be represented. A team selected from the best players in Crusaders and Hotspurs was entered in the inaugural competition under the name Galway Bohemians AFC. They won their first game 3 – 0 against Westport Town in the Swamp, but were beaten 3 – 1 by Sligo United in the next round.
Bohs produced very high quality play and kept winning matches and trophies..
The Young Cup, Schweppes Cup, The City Shield Charity Cup etc, and one by one some of the other clubs folded like Rangers, Rovers, Celtic, Wanderers, City and Collegians. Bohs minors won the Connacht area of the Free State Minor Cup in 1936/37, and in 1941, they became the first Galway club to reach the final of the Free State Junior Cup. By the end of the 1940’s, they had teams playing in all grades of football being organised by The Galway Committee.