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Big blow to St. Thomas’ as key man Cooney suffers recurrence of foot injury

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St Thomas' Conor Cooney who faces another lengthy spell on the sidelines after suffering a recurrence of a foot injury.

AFTER an interesting, if not topsy-turvy opening round of the senior hurling championship – which generated its fair share of upsets – the formbook for the second series of games would appear to have been well and truly torn to shreds.

Tynagh/Abbey-Duniry, Padraig Pearses, Tommy Larkins, Sarsfields and Ardrahan all secured favourable results in the first round despite the pundits – and the bookmakers – indicating they would struggle to harvest any point from their respective ties.

It means they can all strengthen their stranglehold on a top two finish in their groups should they build on those results this weekend although for Padraig Pearses and Ardrahan, who face each other on Saturday, their meeting could well make or break their season given the quality of opposition in their section.

Of course, the result that raised the most eyebrows in the opening round was Portumna’s demolition of Turloughmore on a 2-18 to 0-6 scoreline, Damien Hayes and Andy Smith netting the four-time All-Ireland club champions goals. They face an improving Killimordaly outfit this Saturday.

The second round also signals the return to action of former All-Ireland club winners St. Thomas’, who had a bye in the first round, as they face Turloughmore, stung by their opening day defeat, in a tricky opener for them.

The last remaining side to enter the championship race is 2014 intermediate champions Cappataggle. They face neighbours Sarsfields, who were impressive 13-point winners over 2014 semi-finalists Beagh first day out.

Elsewhere, there are a number of intermediate games down for decision, with last year’s junior A winners Annaghdown commencing their campaign with a tie against Kilbeacanty. (See fixtures).

SATURDAY

Tommy Larkins v Carnmore

(Kenny Park, Athenry 5pm)

Corner forward Stephen Page (hamstring), forced to withdraw in Tommy Larkins’ victory over Craughwell, is expected to be fit and back in contention for selection this weekend. The set-up will also be buoyed by their U-21s excellent quarter-final win over Tynagh/Abbey-Duniry last weekend. Peter English, Kevin McHugo and Jason Flynn are among their form players at the moment.

Carnmore were competitive in their opening round clash against Castlegar but, ultimately, suffered a 1-18 to 0-13 defeat. Out of that, defenders Anthony Daveron and Ciaran Murray and forward Barry Hanley are all nursing knocks but should be fit to play. Midfielder Donie Fox, though, is unavailable for this one.

Verdict: Tommy Larkins.

Last meeting: 2013 (Second Round) Tommy Larkins 0-15, Carnmore 0-10.

Match odds: Tommy Larkins 1/8; draw 12/1; Carnmore 5/1.

Ardrahan v Padraig Pearses

(Kenny Park, Athenry 6:30pm)

Inspired by the returning Cyril Donnellan, Padraig Pearses caused an upset when dispatching Clarinbridge in the first round. A number of players picked up knocks and strains in that game but manager Martin Tierney is hoping they will have cleared up by the weekend. Corner forward Conor O’Grady is struggling though to shake off a bug. Shane Raftery, Cormac Ward, Sean Hardiman and Keith Donnellan continue to be long term concerns.

Ardrahan, already without Pat Holland (hip) and John Greene (shoulder), have now corner forward Stephen Whelan added to the list after he broke his hand in their opening day draw against champions Gort. While initially disappointed with that result, having led for most of the game, it could still prove an invaluable point for Tom Helebert’s charges.

Verdict: Ardrahan.

Last meeting: 2014 (First Round) Ardrahan 2-10, Padraig Pearses 0-9.

Match odds: Ardrahan 4/6; draw 15/2; Padraig Pearses 11/8.

For more, read this week’s Galway City 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.

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

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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