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Galway United will be ready this time – Dunne

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GALWAY United manager Tommy Dunne has admitted that last season’s Premier Division campaign caught his side by surprise, but insists that the squad he has assembled for the 2016 campaign which kicks-off in a fortnight is much better prepared.

Speaking at the Connacht Hotel in Galway City last week where the club unveiled its latest two signings – the returning Alex Byrne, and new capture, Armin Aganovic – Dunne told Tribune Sport that there was an overall sense of disappointment with how the 2015 season turned out.

“I think last year we reached our goal as such of staying in the Premier Division, and getting a cup run, which we did,” he said – United reached their first domestic cup final in almost two decades, losing the EA Sports Cup final to St Patrick’s Athletic on penalties.

“However, overall when we reflect on last year, as we did as a group, we were a little disappointed, so there is a new mindset and a new hope so we are hoping we can push on this year,” Dunne said.

Last season saw a large portion of United’s squad get their first taste of Premier Division action, and the greater intensity and physicality of the top flight caught many by surprise, with United winning just one of their first seven league games.

“We weren’t ready last year in a sense. I think the Premier Division took us by surprise, and not so much the game, but the physical side of it, our guys sort of got a bit of an eye opener, so this year we want to be in better condition, and they have made sure of that themselves as well,” Dunne says.

The campaign opens with a trip to Richmond Park on Friday, March 4 to take on a St Patrick’s Athletic side that broke United hearts in that EA Sports Cup final, as well as winning all three league meetings between the sides on an 8-2 aggregate score.

They went into last year on the back of an underwhelming pre-season campaign of just two friendlies, a scoreless draw with Finn Harps and a 1-0 win over Athlone Town, but United will have more game time under their belt come kick-off this time around.

They hammered NUI Galway’s Collingwood Cup side 7-0 a couple of weeks ago, followed that up with a 2-0 win over UCD on Saturday, and have three more games lined up, starting with the visit of Shelbourne to Eamonn Deacy Park this coming Saturday (3pm), followed by away games against Longford Town (Tuesday, February 23) and Limerick FC (Saturday, February 27).

Full coverage in this week’s Connacht Tribune.

CITY TRIBUNE

Galway minors continue to turn season around with latest win over Derry

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Galway players Seán Dunne, Fionn O'Connor and Adam Colleran celebrating their All-Ireland Minor Football semi-final win over Derry at Parnell Park on Saturday. Photo: Ray McManus /Sportsfile.

THE results may not have gone Galway’s way in the Connacht minor football championship, but team manager Alan Glynn never lost faith in his young squad.

And his belief in them has certainly been justified following deserved victories over Dublin and Derry in the All-Ireland series, setting Galway up for a unique third championship collision with Mayo in the one year.

The more games Galway are playing, the better they are getting, and Glynn is in no doubt that their extended championship run will do wonders for the development of his players.

But after losing three times in Connacht – twice to Mayo – how did Glynn, and his backroom team of Tim Rabbitt and Michéal Antaine Ó Loidéain, manage to turn their season around?

“We did speak in the dressing-room after that game [Connacht final] and we said, ‘look that’s the Connacht championship done with, that’s one competition finished and we’re now into a new All-Ireland competition.’

“There were eight teams left and we took that look to things. At the end of the day, we had lost three games in Connacht, and I suppose if you were to dwell on that, we could get bogged down and we could get negative. We just said, ‘We’ve finished second in Connacht. Not what we wanted but it’s where we were and we’re now into the last eight.’

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Aki captains Ireland, scores a try but tourists’ first match ends in heavy defeat

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Ireland captain Bundee Aki touches down for a first-half try against the Maori All Blacks on Wednesday, but the game ended in a disappointing loss for the tourists.

IT should have been a night to savour for Bundee Aki who was honoured with the Irish captaincy for the first game of their daunting tour to New Zealand.

Leading an inexperienced tourist selection, Aki could hardly have wished for a better start after powering over for Ireland’s first try against the Maori All Blacks.

But it was nearly all downhill for the men in green subsequently on Wednesday. Ireland were repeatedly carved open and trailed by 32-10 at the break.

On a night when fellow Connacht player, flanker Cian Prendergast, also started and prop Finlay Bealham was a second-half substitute, Ireland never really fired despite not conceding another score on the resumption.

But all the tourists could add to their tally was a converted Gavin Coombes’ try in a disappointing opening to their five-match tour.

Ahead of the game, Aki said it was a “huge privilege” to captain Ireland against the Maori All Blacks after initially suspecting head coach Andy Farrell was joking about giving him the responsibility.

New Zealand-born Aki led a youthful side containing five uncapped players on Wednesday night as the Irish kicked-off their summer tour of his homeland.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

 

 

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Galway have more than a prayer of toppling Limerick

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Galway’s Tom Monaghan breaking away from Limerick’s Kyle Hayes during their National League encounter at the Gaelic Grounds last February The teams clash again in Sunday's All-Ireland semi-final.

THEY are unbeaten in the championship since the All-Ireland semi-final of 2019; are chasing a fourth Liam McCarthy Cup in five years; and when it comes to brute force and physicality, they have no peers in the game.

This is the Limerick team that Galway must upset the odds against in Sunday’s All-Ireland hurling semi-final at Croke Park (3.30pm). And though few give them a realistic chance of doing so, the Tribesmen are at least capable of giving the champions a searching test.

Galway will also draw encouragement from their last semi-final battle with Limerick in 2020 at an empty Croke Park. The teams were level in injury time only for the Shannonsiders to salvage a result with Tom Morrissey catching fire late on.

It was a contest with no goals (0-27 to 0-24) and benefiting from a flying start, Galway really carried the fight to Limerick despite suffering the loss of Cathal Mannion through injury in the opening-half. It was an occasion which also stood out for Joe Canning’s remarkable feat of converting four sideline cuts – a record number for one championship game.

The team’s long-time ace marksman is no longer involved, but apart from the also retired Aidan Harte and long-term injury victim Shane Cooney, Galway will again be relying on the bulk of those players from that semi-final of two years in their quest to turn the tables.

Naturally, it will be one less if, as anticipated, Gearóid McInerney fails to recover from the knee injury which forced him to hobble off before half-time in their quarter-final victory over Cork in Thurles last Saturday week.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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