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Inside Track

All-Star snub for Galway Ladies leaves sour taste

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In happier times: Team captain Marie O'Connell and team mates celebrate with their Manager, Con Moynihan, on their arrival in Ballinasloe following their All-Ireland victory in the Junior Ladies Football final at Croke Park in 2002.

Inside Track with Stephen Glennon

It beggars belief each and every year that when the Ladies Gaelic Football All-Stars are announced that Galway gets continually snubbed when it comes to the gongs. It happened again last weekend when no Galway player was feted and this, not surprisingly, has left many in the county fuming.

All-Stars, by their nature, tend to generate debate and it is no different when the hurling, camogie and football teams are named annually. There are cases for and against. However, there does seem to be a trend in recent years that Galway ladies have to go that extra yard to secure some recognition.

This year, Galway were seen as the biggest threat to Cork’s ambitions of landing a 10th All-Ireland title in 11 years – particularly earlier in the year when it required a replay and extra-time to separate the teams in the National League Division 1 final before Cork finally emerged victorious.

The Tribeswomen bounced back from their league defeat to win their fourth consecutive Connacht title over Cora Staunton’s Mayo, with All-Star nominee Patricia Gleeson kicking a dramatic late point to snatch the victory.

Sadly, when Galway and beaten Munster finalists Cork met in the All-Ireland quarter-final in August, the reigning All-Ireland champions snatched the victory on a scoreline of 1-12 to 1-10. That two-point defeat was the same margin Dublin, who received a plethora of All-Stars, lost the All-Ireland decider.

If Galway and Cork had avoided each other for another round, until the All-Ireland semi-final, it may have strengthened their case in the eyes of the All-Star selection committee – yet, that said, would that have even mattered?

The All-Star nominations were released in October, with 45 players named on the shortlist. All-Ireland champions Cork understandably dominated with 11. They were followed by Dublin who received 10. Galway – for many regarded as the second best team in the country at present – received just five.

They were Sinead Burke, Áine Seoighe, Geraldine Conneally, Patricia Gleeson and Tracey Leonard, the latter of whom was one of the top forwards in the country in 2015 and absolutely terrorised Cork when she had the ball in her hands.

In the National League alone, Leonard tallied 8-35 – taking Dublin in the semi-final for eight points (seven from play) before going on to shoot another eight against Cork (six from play) in the drawn League final. She tallied three more (two from play) in their 0-14 to 1-10 loss to the Rebels in the replay.

In their own statement, the Ladies Association state “the players that are selected as being potential All Star nominees could be from either the winning or the losing sides regardless of the result” and that this criteria extends to all competitions, including the National League.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

 

Connacht Tribune

Energetic Fitzy hops back onto the hurling managerial merry-go-round

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Barna's Seán Fitzgerald is pursued by Rory Melody of St James’ during Friday's Senior Football Championship tie at Pearse Stadium. Photo:Joe O'Shaughnessy.

Inside Track with John McIntyre

WHETHER you’re a fan or not of Davy Fitzgerald, nobody can dispute the reality that he’s mad for road. Within days of stepping down as coach to the Cork camogie team, the former Banner goalkeeper is off on his managerial travels again – this time, however, he will be returning to an old stomping ground.

Fitzgerald, a fearless competitor between the posts, was one of the lynchpins of Clare’s long-awaited and emotional All-Ireland triumphs in 1995 and ’97, but his profile has moved onto a different level over the past 15 years. Whether it’s through his management roles or TV shows like Ireland’s Fittest Family, he is rarely out of the limelight.

And that’s basically why some people don’t like him . . . they basically see too much of him. He was even added to the Sunday Game analysts panel this summer where he was something of a muted observer on hurling’s finer arts. Apart from the three counties – Kilkenny, Tipperary and Cork – who would never countenance an outsider, Fitzy is nearly linked with every managerial vacancy that crops up these days.

For a few days last winter, he looked the number one candidate to replace Shane O’Neill in Galway, but his bubble was burst somewhat when County Chairman Paul Bellew launched an audacious and successful attempt to entice Henry Shefflin west. Having just finished up with Wexford – a project which flatlined in his last two years in charge – Fitzy is clearly not one for standing still.

But why are some counties still inclined to swoon about the prospect of having Fitzy on board? For starters, he landed two Fitzgibbon Cups with Limerick IT before taking over as Waterford manager in mid-season in 2008 after the players revolted against Justin McCarthy. He guided the Deise to that year’s All-Ireland final only for them to suffer a humiliating 3-30 to 1-14 loss against Kilkenny.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Lyng taking over from Cody leads to an outbreak of relief in Galway

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Galway's Ciara Donohue breaking out of defence against Lauren Homan of Cork during Sunday's All-Ireland Intermediate Camogie Final at Croke Park. Photo: INPHO/Bryan Keane.

Inside Track with John McIntyre

THERE was surely a collective sigh of relief in Galway’s hurling strongholds when former midfielder Derek Lyng was appointed to succeed Brian Cody as the new Kilkenny manager last week – the first time since the winter of 1998 that a new senior supremo has been unveiled down Noreside way.

After Cody somewhat surprisingly ended his long tenure as Kilkenny manager in the wake of last month’s battling All-Ireland Final defeat to Limerick, it was only natural that current Galway team manager Henry Shefflin, Kilkenny’s most decorated player of all-time, would be linked with the vacancy.

“Don’t do it Henry” was a common refrain on social media as Galway supporters understandably feared the Ballyhale Shamrocks clubman would find the prospect of talking over his native county impossible to resist. Lyng, Martin Fogarty and ex-Laois boss Eddie Brennan were also touted as being in the running.

A similar precedent had been set this summer when Liam Cahill abruptly departed Waterford to return to Tipperary after the local County Board hardly covered itself in glory in the manner it ended the tenure of former player Colm Bonnar after just one year in charge. Admittedly, it had been a tough championship for Tipperary, losing all four games in Munster, but there were extenuating circumstances.

For starters, Brendan Maher and Padraic Maher retired – the latter was forced to hang up the boots due to a neck injury – while other heroes of past All-Ireland triumphs, Bubbles O’Dwyer, John McGrath and Seamus Callanan, were also notable absentees. It meant Bonnar took over a Tipperary team in transition.

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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Connacht Tribune

Lots of positivity around but Galway will now have target on their backs

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Owner Annette Mee with Monday’s Galway Festival bumper winner,This Songisforyou. Also included are Emmet Mullins, trainer, Laura Keir, and jockey Derek O'Connor. Photo: Patrick McCann/Racing Post.

Inside Track with John McIntyre

ALL around Ballybrit last week, the post All-Ireland football final verdict was virtually unanimous: Galway were unlucky against Kerry but had done the county proud. Naturally, the big focus was on the harsh free awarded against John Daly as he attempted to break out of defence late in the match.

Of all the varying opinions on the controversy doing the rounds at the races and in the media at large, former Donegal manager Jim McGuinness probably put it the most succinctly of all in Saturday’s edition of the Irish Times. He said anyone just focusing on the first part of the incident would award a free out to Daly, but those only seeing Killian Spillane’s arm being pulled in by the Galway number six would have sided with referee Seán Hurson’s call.

And that’s in a nutshell. The first foul was committed on Daly and that should have led to a crucial free out for Galway just seconds after Damien Comer had forced a terrific turnover. In that moment, however, Kerry got a break they weren’t entitled to, and the Munster champions weren’t slow in taking advantage.

Galway were that close to ending 21-years in the All-Ireland wastelands, but Padraic Joyce and his players don’t need any reminding that it’s a long way back to next year’s final. Sure, they have made huge progress over the past few months and their camp will now be stacked with belief, but there are no guarantees that they will enjoy another protracted run in 2023.

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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