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Ambitious Muldoon is anxious Connacht take the fight to Gloucester

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Connacht's John Muldoon

CAPTAIN John Muldoon arrived at Connacht Rugby’s midweek press conference with tears rolling down his cheek. Still hurting from the drubbing away to Munster at the weekend? Not exactly.

The back-row forward was just out of the doctors after his eye was scratched in training earlier that morning. He didn’t say, but the Portumna man could be forgiven for shedding a sly tear three months ago, too. At home, on the couch, channel surfing, Muldoon stumbled across that epic TG4 programme, The West’s Awake.

The fly-on-the-wall documentary chronicled Connacht’s inaugural Heineken Cup season in 2011/2012 when they endured 14-straight defeats in all competitions.

Muldoon dipped into the action, midway through, just around the time in the season and programme when Connacht played Gloucester, who are this weekend’s Challenge Cup quarter-final.

“I had to turn it off. It still frustrated me,” he says.  Four years on and he still couldn’t watch the late horror unfold. Connacht were leading by three, but conceded a try four minutes from time through a missed tackle on Gloucester’s Johnny May.

They lost by four – their tenth loss in a row, and probably the most difficult to stomach given how they dominated the match.  It still hurts? “It always does,” says Muldoon. “At the time it felt like the World was on our shoulders and every time we thought we had a lifeline, something would come and take the ladder or the feet from under us, and that’s how it felt that night.”

Connacht have matured a lot since then. And even though they were fairly battered by Munster at the weekend – losing 42-20 and shipping six tries in the process at Thomond Park – there is no sense of doom about the place.

“When you go through that, maybe ten matches, nothing seems to go right for you and there’s an air of desperation in everything that you do. Whereas now ultimately we didn’t play as well as we’d hoped to play against Munster in Thomond Park, which is a lot like Gloucester in Kingsholm. We didn’t play to the best of our ability and in some aspects, not even close.

“But yet after 57 or 58 minutes, it’s seven-six. We know if we get things right we could be easily winning that game and winning it comfortably. When you think about it that way, we should be going into this Gloucester game with a lot of confidence and it’s up to us to fix those few things we got wrong.”

The loss to Munster was demoralising. But Muldoon accentuates the positives. After all, with just a handful of games remaining in the season, Connacht players aren’t looking ahead to the summer holidays – they’re very much in contention in the league and cup.

“First of all it’s great to be here,” he says. “It’s not too often you sit here coming in to the month of April and you’re in the top six in the league and you’re in a quarter final in Europe, and potentially a home semi-final. It’s exciting times for us. It is a cup, it is knockout, it is a competition that we’ve done well in but ultimately we’ve no silverware to show.

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

CITY TRIBUNE

Ruthless Utd knock seven bells out of hapless hosts

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Galway United’s leading marksman Stephen Walsh who scored twice in their seven-nil rout of Bluebell United in the FAI Cup on Sunday.

Bluebell United 0

Galway United 7

Keith Kelly at Tolka Park

GALWAY United not only avoided a potential FAI Cup shock, they did so in record-breaking fashion on Sunday when breezing past the challenge of Leinster Senior League side, Bluebell United, in glorious sunshine in Tolka Park.

The victory was United’s biggest-ever in an FAI Cup tie – they did stick eight without reply past Salthill Devon in the group stages of the League Cup in the 1994/95 season – and was also the biggest win by a First Division side in an FAI Cup tie since the second tier of the league was introduced in 1985/96.

No-one will get carried away with a win over a non-league outfit, but considering previous United iterations had struggled against a similar level of opposition – they needed penalties to see off the mighty Killester United in 2017, and fumbled to a 2-1 win over Collinstown two years later – this ruthless annihilation of their hosts shows a very different mindset in the 2022 United model.

A Stephen Walsh double in the space of 90 seconds in the late stages of the first-half meant the tie was over by half-time, though in truth, it was a 190-second spell much earlier in the game which dictated just how the afternoon would finish.

United made three changes to the side which had beaten Athlone Town 3-1 in the league the previous week, including handing a debut to new signing, Bastien Hery, after his midweek loan move from Finn Harps that saw Gary Boylan go in the opposite direction.

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.

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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

Thumbs up from Moloney as Galway is back in the groove

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Julianne Devine presents the winning trophy to Basil Holian, Athenry, after Soaring Monarch had won the Rockshore Handicap at Ballybrit. Also included are, Pamela and Bernie Holian, with Ber and Peter Fahey, trainer.

IT would have been easy to have got carried away on the wave of expectancy. With advance ticket sales strong and corporate hospitality booked out for the opening six days, it fuelled loose talk about huge numbers descending on the Galway Summer Racing Festival.

We even heard a couple of suggestions that Ballybrit wouldn’t be able to hold the crowds such was the anticipated pent-up desire to attend the popular festival after the Covid-hit meetings of 2020 – held behind closed doors – and last year when daily attendances were restricted to 1,000.

But Chief Executive of Galway Racecourse, Michael Moloney, had been guarded in his pre-festival expectations about the numbers which would end up heading west for one of Irish sport’s most iconic occasions.

Between the current cost of living pressures, the festival coming in the wake of a hectic period for Galway GAA teams, and high accommodation and fuel prices, Moloney knew the meeting would struggle to reach the total attendance of nearly 130,000 of the previous pre-pandemic fixture of 2019.

It was no reflection on what Galway had to offer, more a case of many people forced to be more selective about the number days they would attend Ballybrit due to their own financial considerations and priorities.

Galway Racecourse had run an energetic and innovative social medial campaign promoting the festival, while these who made it to Ballybrit last week had to be impressed by the increased covered areas and extra catering facilities around the enclosure.

Ultimately, over the seven days of the festival, there was an attendance drop of almost 10% from the last comparable meeting of three years ago. The total crowd was 116,720 which represented a decline of 12,338 spectators spread over the seven days.

That figure would have been lower only for the Friday evening and Saturday cards being hit by adverse weather, but the festival finished on a high with the Sunday crowd of 13,040 a significant jump on the 2019 figure of 9,998.

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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CITY TRIBUNE

Thousands to take part in 8k Streets of Galway race

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The 36th edition of the Blackrock Health Galway Clinic sponsored Streets of Galway 8km, organised by Galway City Harriers, takes place tomorrow (Saturday), with the race set to start at 7pm.

With the race returning to its traditional Saturday evening slot, huge crowds are expected to turn out to support the huge field who will race, with close on 3,000 athletes expected to race the famous route through the city streets.

The 8km returns to its 2019 route around the city, with race start at GTI on Fr Griffin Road, with the finish in South Park. The race routes over Wolfe Tone Bridge, Merchants Road, Eyre Square, Eglinton Street, over the Salmon Weir Bridge, and loops around the Cathedral and onto University Road, before turning left at the Hospital for a run along St Marys Road, Lower Salthill and into Devon Park, Devon Gardens and onto Dr Mannix Road.

A water stop at 5km is at Pearse Stadium, with the turn for home at Leisureland, seeing a fast stretch along Seapoint, Dr Colohan Road and the final kilometre on Grattan Road with the finish in the gates of South Park.

Race number collection will be at the Claddagh Hall, beside South Park from 3pm today (Friday) with limited registration on the day in person; and tomorrow from 10am to 5pm.

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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