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Galway fail to measure up in crunch league tie

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CAVAN 1-16

GALWAY 1-12

THE effort was decent and honest but in the end Galway footballers fell a good bid short of the mark in their bid to return to Division One against a Cavan team that was stronger in most of the key positions on the pitch.

Four points separated the teams in the end – it could have been more and rather strangely it could have been less too – as Galway desperately probed for a late goal that would have put their noses in front at a vital juncture of the final quarter.

Objectively though – and using any standard barometer of fairness – it would have been a travesty had Cavan not won this Division Two encounter before an enthusiastic home crowd of around 5,000 in the impressive bowl that is Kingspan/Breffni Park.

Terry Hyland’s side were stronger in almost all of the key central positions . . . they always fought that bit harder to win the ‘dirty ball’ and especially so around the fringes of midfield . . . while critically they held a key edge in terms of attacking threat from start to finish.

Galway did enjoy one early window of dominance through the first 15 minutes when they edged into a 1-4 to 1-1 lead but from there on, Cavan were largely in control of this game and probably shouldn’t have been sweating as much in the final 10 minutes when Kevin Walsh’s charges pressed for a late goal strike.

For the final 20 minutes of that first half, Galway didn’t raise a white flag and they didn’t get a point from play through the closing 26 minutes of the opening period – during that spell, Cavan controlled possession and the match.

Despite all that, Galway went in at the interval just three points down on 1-8 to 1-5 – with the breeze and driving rain behind them in the second half, they were not without hope, although Cavan should have been a lot further ahead.

Cavan matched their nine first half scores with an equal number of wides while at the other end Galway had no misses. That 9-0 wides tally in favour of the home team tells its own tale of possession domination.

Galway started without the injured Fiontán Ó Curraoin with Tom Flynn moving from wing forward to partner Paul Conroy in midfield but across that sector right through the second quarter, Cavan ruled the roost.

Full coverage in this week’s Connacht Tribune.

CITY TRIBUNE

NUIG Mystics sticking to their routine ahead of Cup decider

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Alison Blaney of NUIG Mystics in action against Sophie Moore of Limerick Sport Huskies during the Women’s Division 1 National Cup semi-final. The Galway club face Templeogue in Sunday's final.

NUIG Mystics head coach Paul O’Brien says his squad are treating this week like any other as they prepare to head to the National Basketball Arena in Tallaght on Sunday to take on Templeogue in the Women’s Division One Cup final (1.30pm).

Mystics go into the game as favourites, having lowered the Templeogue flag on the Dublin side’s home court in the league with a 76-60 win back at the end of November, though O’Brien insists that game will have little bearing on Sunday’s contest.

“That was a couple of months ago, they are a much better side now, defensively they are far stronger now then they were for that game, so we are going to have to shoot the ball well, certainly better than we did in the semi-final,” he says.

That semi-final saw Mystics overcome Limerick Sport Huskies 70-54, and they go into Sunday’s final in great form, having trimmed Tipperary Knights 92-65 at the NUIG Sports Complex on Saturday, their eighth win on the bounce since their one and only defeat of the season, a 77-74 loss to Ulster University Elks back in November.

“That was a very good game at the weekend and the final scoreline doesn’t do justice to Tipperary. They were right in it until about half way through the third quarter, they were leading in fact, but we just pulled it out with a big final quarter,” he said.

Templeogue are also on a decent run of form, having won four games on the spin, their last defeat being that reversal to Mystics, and O’Brien says that the Dublin side will be boosted by having something of a home court advantage, given the fact the NBA is just a 20-minute drive from their home court.

However, Mystics have plenty of players used to playing high-pressure games, and the national arena won’t hold any surprises for a side packed with players who have worn the green of Ireland at the venue, and have contested schools’ and club finals there.

“We have a great team spirit, there is no ego in the squad, players don’t mind who gets the scores as long as the team wins, and that has been crucial to our season so far. We are treating this week the same as any other, we’ll train Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, and we’ll get the bus up on Sunday morning and hopefully we will play to our ability,” he said.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Tribes complete the Girls’ double with U-17 Cup win

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Tribes water polo team management and coach do the “splashy” in the pool moments after winning the Irish U-17 Cup in Belfast.

Tribes water polo club captured the Girls’ U-17 Irish Cup in Belfast last weekend, beating St. Vincents from Dublin 11-3 in the final. What makes this result all the more special is the fact that this same group of girls also captured the 2021 U-15 Cup in Galway back in November.

The club is really beginning to build a dynasty with this team. Some of their players were conceding three years to their older opponents at this age grade, but played with a confidence that belied their age, and their performance last weekend illustrates that the hard work and investment made in both water polo clubs in the city is reaping rich dividends at a national level.

The weekend began on Friday with an early departure for Belfast, and game in mid-afternoon against Bangor Barracudas. The Tribes girls were training all through the Christmas to ensure they were able to compete at the higher age grade, but need not have had any worries, getting off to a flying start with a comprehensive 15-3 victory.

Aoife Nash contributed three goals, and in a remarkable feat, every player in the Tribes team, bar goalkeeper Fiona Mooney, got on the scoresheet. Mooney, the team captain, played her own crucial role, keeping a clean sheet in the first half to allow her side build a comfortable lead.

The second game in their qualifying group on Saturday was against a young Cathal Brugha team. The 29-6 scoreline in favour of Tribes was more a reflection of the strength and experience of the Tribes team rather that the deficiencies of their opponents as, to be fair to Cathal Brugha, their squad is going to through a re-build phase who are using some younger players to gain experience at level.

That being said, Lydia McNicholas and Niamh Connery exploited the Brugha defence with ruthless efficiency with powerful swimming and heads-up water polo. They contributed eight of the nine goals in the first quarter, which broke the spirit of the Cathal Brugha team.

Once again, every member of the squad contributed a goal in a win that secured a semi-final spot on Sunday against local team Clonard.

The semi-final was going to test the character of the Tribes girls, playing Clonard in Belfast who would have strong home support. Tribes were established in 2010 to cater for the growing number of girls looking to play water polo in Galway. Clonard on the other hand, is a long-established club, a celebrated its centenary in 2021, but Tribes showed they are a force in the sport with a brilliant performance.

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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CITY TRIBUNE

Salthill are up against it

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Ger Mulholland of ‘Mulholland Windows and Doors’ presenting a set of gear bags to Salthill Knocknacarra hurling captain Michael O’Donnell ahead of their All Ireland semi-final on Sunday. Also included, left to right, are vice captains Brendan Moran and Seanie Joyce. Salthill Knocknacarra face Mooncoin of Kilkenny at the Gaelic Grounds.

By Darren Kelly

COUNTY Junior 1 hurling champions Salthill/Knocknacarra will chase their own piece of history on Sunday (1.30pm TUS Gaelic Grounds) when they take on Kilkenny’s Mooncoin in the All-Ireland semi-final at the Gaelic Grounds (1.30pm).

Never before has a Galway side reached the national decider in the third tier of club hurling, but they face opponents still on course to become the Marble County’s 10th different winner in just the 18th staging of this competition.

It’s a formidable task but one the city side will relish. And led by captain Michael O’Donnell and marksman Donal O’Shea, who’s impressed in county colours recently, they’ll put it up to their Leinster rivals.

Mooncoin have been devastating since overcoming Tullogher Rosbercon 3-19 to 3-11 in the county final in November. Two weeks earlier, they dispatched Slieverue with six goals in the semi.

The green flags continued with eight combined against Westmeath’s St. Oliver Plunketts and Wexford’s Tara Rocks. And just two weeks ago, they were 4-13 to 0-15 victors over Offaly’s Shamrocks in the Leinster Final.

Patrick Walsh was the star that day with 3-6 but over the campaign, there’s been a good spread of scorers for Willie Coogan’s team. Adam Croke has contributed 3-10 in their last five outings, Máirtin Gannon with 3-2, while centre back Martin O’Neill has tallied 1-11.

O’Neill was a Kilkenny under 20 in 2020 and forms a strong back line with Jim Delahunty and Cormac Daly. Eoin Purcell mans the goal with Shane Walsh in front of him, while at midfield, Sean Gannon has delivered 1-5.

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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