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Ardrahan the new camogie queens

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Ardrahan 3-8

Mullagh 1-7

A whooping 2-3 in the closing quarter, to Mullagh’s paltry two points, was pivotal to Ardrahan writing another new chapter in the history of Galway camogie and, more importantly, seeing off the challenge of overwhelming favourites Mullagh in Loughrea on Sunday.

Given the way Ardrahan, who had defeated reigning champions Killimor in the semi-final, went about winning this county title, you would wonder how the pundits got it so wrong. Ardrahan, when they opened up, were awesome in securing a first ever Galway senior championship.

An explosive closing quarter exemplified this. Having seen their four point interval lead wiped out in the third quarter by a resurgent Mullagh, Ardrahan pinned back the ears again and took flight with two fine points from Keelin O’Shaughnessy and a free from the ultra-dependable Rebecca Hennelly.

A placed ball from Rachel Monaghan had kept her struggling side in touch but when Ardrahan ghosted in for their second goal, to take a 2-8 to 1-6 lead, the Mullagh challenge was crippled irrevocably. That 56th minute goal was simply sublime.

It came from a surging run from Denise Diviney – a player of the match contender who was a late addition to the starting line-up after missing the semi-final through injury – and her clinical effort on the run gave a fully stretched Catriona Daly no chance in the Mullagh goals. Top corner. Top class.

Within minutes, Ardrahan had the deal signed, sealed and delivered when they struck for their third – this time a Hennelly sideline cut causing the Mullagh rearguard all sorts of problems and when they failed to clear substitute Cliodhna Walsh pounced on the loose ball to net.

What was interesting was that the three goals came from the two players – Diviney and Walsh – who had battled it out for the right corner forward position. That both players netted underlined the quality Ardrahan had in their ranks.

The final score was registered by Mullagh and, in many respects, it was a great irony that it came from a Rachel Monaghan placed ball. Usually a reliable freetaker, it was a miserable afternoon for the unfortunate teenager.

Following three wides and a saved effort in the first period, at a time when Mullagh should have put more scores on the board, Monaghan’s freetaking duties were subsequently handed over to Sarah Dervan, Cathy Bowes and Sinead Cahalan – one long range effort – before Monaghan was handed back the responsibility late on.

In truth, despite Dervan and Bowes both landing frees, Monaghan, arguably, should have been put back on the dead balls once she netted Mullagh’s goal two minutes after the break. By this stage, her confidence would have been back up and Mullagh needed her to return to form.

Monaghan’s goal came from a Dervan clearance which was collected by Aoife Donohue who, in turn, played in the sharpshooter. Although Ardrahan custodian Roisin Gardiner got her body behind it, the sliotar still managed to worm its way to the net.

It certainly was a tonic for Monaghan and Mullagh and over the third quarter Declan Hardiman’s charges looked as if they were about to turn the screw on Ardrahan. However, a couple of wides and a plethora of efforts falling short into Gardiner’s hands hurt them badly.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune

Galway’s U20s aim to halt Cork’s All-Ireland hurling treble in its tracks

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Galway’s Sean McDonagh who will be crucial to their hopes of overcoming Cork in Tuesday's All-Ireland U20 hurling final at Semple Stadium.

THE Rebels are on the march and have a clean sweep of the senior, U20 and minor All-Ireland hurling titles in their sights – but Galway U20s have the opportunity of stopping resurgent Cork’s treble quest in the first of those deciders at Semple Stadium on Tuesday (7.30pm).

Jeffrey Lynskey’s charges gained revenge on Dublin in the recent Leinster Final and will be seeking the county’s first title at this level since 2011.

Galway are the outsiders to carry the day, but will be looking to the likes of team captain Seán Neary, Ian McGlynn, Seán McDonagh, Donal O’Shea, Oisín Flannery and John Cooney to lead the way.

Meanwhile, the county minors will also set up an All-Ireland Final against Cork if they ovecome Kilkenny in tomorrow evening’s (Friday, 7.30pm) semi-final in Thurles.

See full previews in Tribune Sport, part of 18 pages of coverage in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or you can download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie

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Connacht Tribune

Corofin show no mercy in thrashing hapless Oughterard

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Corofin 7-17
Oughterard 0-11

IS there anything to be said for splitting Corofin in two? We jest, of course, but the Dublin-like dominance of the North Galway club on the local scene in the past decade shows no sign of abating.
A new championship, a new-look team, but the same old classy Corofin who were in seventh heaven after bagging a record seven goals in their 27-points victory over hapless Oughterard.
That Kevin O’Brien could spring dual county star, Daithi Burke, and Galway senior footballer Ian Burke, as second-half substitutes when the game was over as a contest, highlights the embarrassment of riches in the Corofin camp.
Nine of Corofin’s starters were on the starting 15 that won an historic three-in-a-row of All-Ireland titles in January, but the introduction of former Galway minor Matthew Cooley, who scored a goal off the bench on his senior club debut, highlighted, too, how they have young talent coming through.
Leaving aside the lack of resistance, particularly in the second half, the ruthless manner in which Corofin annihilated their Connemara opponents was frightening for all other pretenders to the throne.
As warnings go, this was savage, as Corofin signalled their intent about securing an eighth successive county title, with a clinical brushing aside of an Oughterard outfit whose heads-dropped early. Corofin had 11 different scorers, including seven goal scorers; all bar one of their 17 points, were from play.
Darragh Silke who finished with 1-7, ran riot in the second half, and was the game’s best performer, and Micheál Lundy (1-3) proved a handful on the inside line, but Corofin had quality dotted all over the field, and in truth, won without clicking into high gear.
If things went their way in the opening half, Oughterard’s spirits might not have been drained so soon, but they failed to convert the chances they had.
That was the big difference in the first half-hour: Corofin converted 10 out of 10 scoring opportunities that presented themselves, whereas Oughterard hit five wides, including two shots that should at the very least have troubled goalkeeper Bernard Power.
For Oughterard, this will cut deep. The 2019 All-Ireland intermediate winners were unbeaten in championship last season but got a rude awakening on their re-introduction to senior. Their first championship match back in senior in nearly 20 years, and they’re annihilated. To add to the embarrassment, it was televised live on TG4 for all to see.
It was effectively over at half-time, but it shouldn’t have been. Oughterard had enough of the play, and enough chances, to be still in with a shout at the change of ends and they just failed to punish their more ruthless opponents.

Full report in this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Ó Fatharta lauds minor squad for response to Mayo reversal

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GALWAY minor football manager Dónal Ó Fátharta has praised his young charges for the manner in which they responded to their Connacht final defeat to Mayo.

Ó Fátharta’s squad turned on the style when taking down Leinster champions Kildare in their All-Ireland quarter-final at Pearse Park, Longford last weekend to set up a semi-final meeting against a Kerry outfit chasing an incredible six-in-a-row of titles at this grade.

However, the Galway manager admitted he was concerned initially as to how his players would respond to the provincial final loss to Mayo. “After the Connacht final, the guys were down. We gave them a week off, which we were going to do anyways. When they came back in for our meeting and the usual stuff, I was worried, but, after that meeting, I wasn’t worried. I was hopeful.

“For the last two weeks, they have worked hard. We played Dublin in a challenge and it was one of those games of 30 minutes, 20 minutes, 30 minutes. We were very sharp that night. That reinforced it for me that there was a performance in these guys. The next challenge is a game in Croke Park, which is another step up, but I am delighted that they are there and they have that opportunity.”

Indeed, Ó Fátharta described his players’ display against Kildare as “a complete performance”, noting: “Structurally, I think we were very good. I think we took our chances, and we did everything that we talk about doing every day. They took their chances when they had to; they worked hard; they put in shifts, and all that sort of stuff. So, we are delighted with the performance.”

See full report and reaction in Connacht Tribune Sport.

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