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Ahascragh/Fohenagh ready to atone for past heartache

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Ballindereen's Kevin Lane who will be hoping to make a big impact in Sunday’s County Intermediate Final against Ahascragh/Fohenagh.

WHEN predictions were being made at the outset of 2016, few would have envisaged Ballinderreen and Ahascragh/ Fohenagh meeting in the Galway Intermediate Hurling Final at Kenny Park, Athenry on Sunday (2:15pm).

Granted, there would have been some who would have thought Ahascragh/Fohenagh, having contested finals in 2012 and 2014, would have been there or thereabouts but it was the likes of Kinvara and Oranmore/Maree who would have been seen as the frontrunners for this title.

The resurgence of Ballinderreen though has made this a novel pairing. Relegated from senior in 2008, the club continued to go into decline in the intermediate grade in the aftermath of their fall from grace. On this front, their story is no different to that of the vast majority of rural clubs around the country.

Two and a half years ago though, Ballinderreen hit a wall when a defeat to Kilbeacanty brought home the realisation that the slide was not being arrested – or would it be – without somebody taking ownership of the situation. In many respects, it had to come from the players . . . and it did.

Only 23 years of age, player Robbie Lane took the proverbial bulls by the horns after the set-up and the then manager parted ways following that defeat to Kilbeacanty who, Lane admits, had just blown Ballinderreen away with their work-rate and intensity around the park.

It was not that Kilbeacanty had players any better or worse than Ballinderreen but they were maximising their resources. Ballinderreen weren’t. “I thought there was more to be gotten out of the lads than a lot of people thought,” he begins.

“We didn’t want much disruption because we had to get a result after that to stay in the championship so I decided to take it on. A friend mentioned Fergal (Healy) would be interested in doing a bit of coaching and I rang him and from there on things just began to get better.

“Everything has gone so well and there has been no back step. Getting over the quarter-final this year was the main goal because we had fallen down on that the last couple of years. Thankfully, we achieved that.”

Ballinderreen, however, had rolled the dice a bit. They returned to training later than usual, believing the players had peaked too early last year which resulted in them bowing out to this weekend’s opponents Ahascragh/Fohenagh at the quarter-final stage.

Although Ballinderreen secured victory over Kilconieron in their championship opener, the late start meant they were not quite up to speed when they met title contenders Oranmore/Maree and Ahascragh/Fohenagh in the group stages.

Defeats in those dictated they had to win one of their last two group ties against Annaghdown and Rahoon/Newcastle at the very least. They won both; following this up with a 2-13 to 0-7 win over Kilbeacanty in the quarter-final; before ambushing neighbours Kinvara in the semi-final.

“Both teams didn’t really know what to expect from each other because we hadn’t played each other in league or a challenge or anything,” continues Lane, who also lauds Mark Lane for the work he has put in behind the scenes to get them to this point in the championship in 2016.

For more,  see this week’s Connacht Tribune.

CITY TRIBUNE

Referee shortage sees local games called off

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The Salthill Devon side that beat Corrib Celtic 4-1 in Drom last Friday night. Back row from left: Jackson Da Silva, Andrew Connolly, Cillian Doyle, Shane O’Rourke, Calum Crowe, and Arek Mamala. Front: Matthew Barrett, Darren Darcy, Matthew Murray, Michael Gallagher and Vinny Faherty. Photos: Iain McDonald.

Soccer Wrap with Mike Rafferty

It is not often that Mervue United have to wait until the third series of games in the Premier Division to get their first win, but after earlier losses to Maree/Oranmore and Athenry they finally secured their first success on the all-weather at Fahy’s Field on Sunday morning.

A 2-1 win over St Bernard’s moved them off the foot of the table, but in a close contest it was an outcome that could have gone either way. Mayo native Eoin Prendergast took both his goals well, although they were of the simple variety as deliveries over the top exposed the visitors cover and the former Conn Rangers striker was left with simple tap-in’s as they led by two at the break.

In contrast the St Bernard’s reply was a cracking effort as Matty Finn crossed from the right and the inrushing Paddy Mullins headed powerfully past Rob Carr to pull one back.

The visitors had plenty of opportunities to get back on level terms, but it was an occasion when their finishing let them down. Twice Dillon Murphy threatened a breakthrough, but his opening effort few across the face of goal; before failing to connect with a Keith Forde delivery.

Brian Moran had an effort that was easily gathered by Rob Carr, before Matty Finn was well off target with a late chance. All the opportunities were not at the one end, as Mervue threatened when Robert Carroll headed over following a Eli Sheedy corner; while Prendergast missed a great chance to complete his hat-trick, but fired over from in front of goal after a neat knockdown by Stephen Larkin set him up.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Lyons’ spectacular bicycle kick carries day for United

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Mikie Rowe of Galway United and Cork City's Cian Coleman in a race for possession during Friday night's First Division tie at Eamonn Deacy Park.

Galway United  2

Cork City 1

By Mike Rafferty at Eamonn Deacy Park

THERE is no doubt that the Galway United players will have had more of a pep in their step at training this week as their come-from-behind victory over Cork City at Eamonn Deacy Park on Friday night finally ended their five match winless streak and. hopefully, in the process installed a bit of confidence in their own ability.

No doubt the fact that the visitors would have clinched the Airtricity First Division title if they were to win was a further incentive for the home side to raise their game to a level that had gone missing in recent outings.

However, United did fall behind for the fourth game in succession, before two goals in a three minute spell by Wilson Waweru and Charlie Lyons rescued the situation and moved them to within seven points of the league leaders. United do enjoy a game in hand and while they are free this weekend, their next outing away against Treaty United will bring them level on games played with Cork City.

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.

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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

Connacht thrashed by Ulster but internationals return for tough South African trip

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Connacht's Caolin Blade who scored their only try in Saturday's heavy URC defeat to Ulster at the Kingspan Stadium.

By JOHN FALLON

ANDY Friend says Connacht need to pick up the pieces quickly from an opening night hammering (36-10) to Ulster after going down by five tries to one in Belfast.

Ulster dominated the opening half and were good value for their 14-3 lead as Connacht had to defend for long periods of a half littered with mistakes by both sides.

Centres Luke Marshall and Stuart McCloskey were dominant and the two combined for the opening score after 27 minutes, before 21-year old hooker Tom Stewart crowned his first start by punishing poor defending when he looped around a lineout to score three minutes from the break.

Connacht finished the half with a boost when Conor Fitzgerald landed a penalty from 35 metres to cut the gap to 11 points but they fell apart after the restart, coughing up six penalties in ten minutes.

Scrum-half Nathan Doak extended the lead with a 45th minute penalty and then he touched down for a try six minutes later when Stewart was stopped just short.

Doak’s third conversion made it 24-3 as both sides emptied their benches and Ulster secured the bonus point when full-back Stewart Moore got over after Connacht No.8 Paul Boyle was binned for offiside.

Replacement scrum-half Caolin Blade got over for a consolation try ten minutes from time after former Leinster out-half David Hawkshaw also impressed after coming on, but other than the performance of another ex-Leinster player, flanker Josh Murphy, there were few other consolations as Ulster finished on a high with replacement prop Callum Reid getting the touchdown and Doak converting from the right.

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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