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Ahascragh/Fohenagh finally make the breakthrough

Stephen Glennon

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Ahascragh/Fohenagh     2-15

Ballinderreen     0-8

ALL good things come to those who wait and that was certainly the case for Ahascragh/Fohenagh who, having lost county intermediate hurling finals in 2012 and 2014, finally secured the Mick Sylver Cup at the third time of asking with victory over Ballinderreen at Kenny Park, Athenry on Sunday.

By far the better team, the victors had led by 0-10 to 0-4 at half-time but still it took goals from Galway forward Cathal Mannion, a penalty, and Eoghain Delaney, a fortunate effort, on 42 and 56 minutes respectively to break the challenge of a plucky Ballinderreen.

From the outset, you got the sense that Ahascragh/Fohenagh were not going to let another opportunity slip and once Willie Dilleen’s outfit took the lead on seven minutes, after both sides had traded scores in the opening exchanges, they never really looked back.

In all, Ahascragh/Fohenagh had eight different scorers on the day, with Delaney and Mannion finishing with 1-3 apiece, while Ballinderreen, for their part, had just three players who found the target.

It was never going to be enough and this lack of cutting edge, creativity and rhythm, which had seen Ballinderreen dispense of the likes of Kilconieron, Rahoon/Newcastle and Kinvara earlier in the championship, was to cost them dearly.

Consequently, Ballinderreen just couldn’t conjure up the scores to produce a match-winning tally against a Ahascragh/Fohenagh side that flooded their defence with bodies to great effect any time Ballinderreen threatened.

In addition, Ahascragh/Fohenagh had also the experience of playing in those previous finals and this definitely stood to them as they looked totally at ease in their county final surroundings. They did not have to play the occasion as Ballinderreen did.

As contests go, though, this was by no means a classic. For one, a great deal of possession was turned over cheaply by both sides while, secondly, the standard of shooting, especially from placed balls, was not what you would have expected from two teams vying to go senior next year.

While the swirling wind around Kenny Park may have contributed to the probloem, the free-taking, at times, was an abomination. For Ahascragh/Fohenagh, Stephen Smyth and Cathal Mannion had some bad misses while Ballinderreen, in the second half, spurned relatively easy chances from placed balls through Kevin Lane and Shane Coen.

Those were to prove costly for Ballinderreen as they came at a time when they could have given themselves a lifeline. Already, Lane had converted a free on 32 minutes to reduce the gap to five but over the ensuing minutes he, along with Coen, missed chances from frees which, had they been converted, may have planted a seed of doubt in their opponents.

Full coverage in this week’s Connacht Tribune

CITY TRIBUNE

Big boost for Connacht as dozen make Irish squads

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Former Galway minor hurler Shane Jennings who is one of six Connacht players named on the Irish U20 rugby squad for the upcoming Six Nations.

By Rob Murphy

THERE was some off season good news for Connacht this week with confirmation of 12 players from the Sportsground having made it into international squads at senior and U-20 level.

Six Connacht players were called into Andy Farrell’s 37-man senior international squad for next month’s two tests against Japan and USA. Three of those are looking to make their international debut in Tom Daly, Paul Boyle and Caolin Blade; while three more are looking to continue their progress with the Irish squad in Dave Heffernan (5 caps), Ultan Dillane (18 caps) and Finlay Bealham (14 caps).

For Daly, the progress from fringe starter to captaining Connacht has been a rapid one. The 27-years-old inside centre from Carlow is now a key part of Andy Friend’s plans having led the way in starts this season and his consistent form has clearly caught the eye of Farrell too, with the recent stand-out effort in the win over Munster at Thomond Park no doubt a key factor.

At 24, Boyle has already amassed 57 appearances in the green of Connacht having made his debut in 2017. He also has captained Connacht on multiple occasions and while he missed some of the end of season Rainbow Cup games, the Gorey native was a consistent almost ever present part of the back row during the PRO14 campaign.

Monivea man Blade is back in Ireland camp for the second season in a row and will hope to get his first cap this time around. The 27-years-old is being rewarded for another excellent season in the nine shirt for Connacht where he led the team in starts at scrum half and scored five tries in 20 appearances.

Ireland will play two games in the Aviva Stadium next month starting with a clash against Japan on July 3 before they host USA on July 10.

The Irish U-20s will be involved in Six Nations action, starting tomorrow against Scotland with the month-long tournament taking place entirely in Cardiff to help guarantee a safe environment for players.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Galway surrender top flight status after Clones collapse

Stephen Glennon

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Galway’s Robert Finnerty who scored 1-3 in their costly National League relegation play-off defeat to Monaghan in Clones on Sunday.

Monaghan 1-21

Galway 2-17

(After Extra-Time)

NO thermometer was required to take the temperature of those hundred or so die-hard Galway supporters who travelled to Clones last Sunday. With their side five points to the good and time almost up, they watched on in horror as a winning lead was blown.

The result: Galway beaten. The result: Galway are no longer a Division 1 county. The result: Galway now have just won one game in their last seven competitive outings. The result: Galway have gone from a side on the brink of something in spring of 2020 to an outfit that has regressed and have now been cast back to the land of mediocrity.

That Galway boss Padraic Joyce didn’t make himself available to the media afterwards to put some positive spin on the performance only compounded the result. By not offering some take, he left a dangerous void in which disgruntled supporters have begun to weave their own narrative about where Joyce’s Galway are at.

Ironically, with time almost up in Clones, it appeared the Tribesmen had turned the corner after a poor run of form. First half goals from Paul Kelly and Rob Finnerty saw Galway lead this thrilling relegation game by five points going down the home stretch, but in the five minutes plus of normal time injury-time, they came undone.

In hindsight, hauling off Galway’s two best forwards – Robert Finnerty and Shane Walsh (although he was nowhere near his best) – was a mistake as it not only blunted the point of attack but deprived it of the guile and experience that they needed to see this game out.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Galway U20s set to make up for lost time in delayed final

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Conor Walsh who is a key member of the Galway U20 hurling team seeking Leinster final glory when they take on Dublin next Wednesday.

GALWAY’S U20 hurlers have a number of injury concerns ahead of their long overdue 2020 Leinster final clash against Dublin at O’Connor Park, Tullamore, next Wednesday evening, June 23. Throw-in 7:30pm.

Among them are Sarsfields midfielder Alex Connaire and Craughwell wing-forward Adrian Prendergast, both of whom scored in the Tribesmen’s victories over Laois and Kilkenny last December, but they now look set to miss the provincial decider with groin and pelvis injuries respectively.

“This game is just too early for them, it has just come too quick,” says Galway manager Jeffrey Lynskey, who says Connaire and Prendergast join an injury list that also includes long-term victims Mark Gill of Castlegar (metatarsal) and Conor Hynes of Liam Mellows (shoulder).

“We are lucky enough though that we have depth in the squad and can pull on lads who are performing and doing well (in training). They have trained well, in fairness to them, over the last five weeks.”

Indeed, Lynskey says the form is good in the camp, outlining the focus has been getting the players back up to speed with in-house and challenges games against the Galway development panel.

“In all the in-house and challenge games, they have performed really well. They are all looking forward to getting back. They have trained hard, really, over the last five weeks and they put a serious bloc of work in during the third lockdown. Gym-wise, they all came back in fantastic shape.

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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