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CITY TRIBUNE

Big chance for Connacht to halt poor run in home clash with Cardiff Blues

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Connacht's influential back row Colby Fainga'a who is set to depart the province at the end of the season.

IT’S that time of year again. While all eyes are on the Six Nations, Connacht will toil away in their own corner as they face important PRO14 fixtures that could define their play-off hopes. The first of three games kicks off in the Sportsground on Saturday at 7:35pm as the Cardiff Blues come to Galway shorn of many frontline players.

The opportunity to bounce back from a run of five straight defeats in all competitions is just one of the motivating factors for Connacht. Furthermore, the Blues are in a battle with Connacht for fourth and like Connacht, they are chasing a place among the top three in the conference which would book a place in the play offs which kick off in late May.

Andy Friend’s side head to conference leaders Edinburgh the following Saturday before taking to the skies for a one game trip to South Africa to kick off March when they take on the struggling Southern Kings. All three games offer a very good chance of accumulating points with this weekend and the following weekend’s opponents decimated by Six Nations call ups and injuries.

“We all have to deliver, not just the players, but all of us,” noted Andy Friend at Tuesday’s press conference. “We had a few specific goals, one was a home quarter-final in the PRO14 which is alive and kicking. Another was to qualify for quarter-finals of Europe. We missed that, so there is now pressure on us to make sure we do achieve, and with that pressure we step up to the mark.”

There is mixed team news coming out of the three-week break. Tom McCartney has a hip injury so it’s certainly a relief for Connacht management that Dave Heffernan is fit and ready to go after his month in Ireland’s Six Nations camp. In the front row, Peter McCabe is out until March and Matthew Burke is out until next season, so it’s no harm that Denis Buckley and Paddy MacAlister are both in good form and available.

Another member of Andy Farrell’s squad to return this weekend will be Ultan Dillane, and he’ll be needed as Quinn Roux has not recovered in time from an injury picked up during the home defeat to Toulouse. Gavin Thornbury and Joe Maksymiw are both in line for selection at lock this weekend.

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

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CITY TRIBUNE

Comedian Julie Jay for Town Hall Studio

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Comedian Julie Jay.

Comedian and secondary school teacher Julie Jay will perform in the city’s Town Hall Theatre Studio on Thursday next, February 27, as part of her first solo tour of Ireland.

Julie Really Love Me? explores her quest for validation, applying lessons gleamed from Oprah in the early 1990s to modern life, navigating being childless in the state of Gilead and guards. Lots and lots of guards.

An exciting new voices on the Irish comedy scene, her show is a mix of warmth and self-deprecation, with wry wit, neurotic ponderings and clever jokes.

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

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

Cooney eager for Galway to front up against Dublin foes

Stephen Glennon

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Galway defender Charlotte Cooney who is looking forward to renewing rivalry with All-Ireland champions Dublin at Parnell Park on Sunday.

GALWAY and All-Ireland champions Dublin clash in the LGFA National League at Parnell Park on Sunday (2pm) and, although this will be the first meeting of the sides since last September’s All-Ireland decider, vice-captain Charlotte Cooney believes this tie “is not going to be anything like the final”.

With both teams fielding very different teams so far in the league — due to the unavailability of key panellists — it means many of the marquee players who graced Croke Park last September will not be on view this Sunday.

These include Galway’s All-Star sisters Louise and Nicola Ward, both of whom are recovering from injuries at present, and Clonbur’s Mairead Seoighe, who is currently playing AFL in Australia, as are a number of Dublin’s players, most notably Sinead Goldrick and Niamh McEvoy.

That said, Dublin will still not be lacking quality, with the likes of goalkeeper Ciara Trant, defenders Niamh Collins and Martha Byrne, midfielder Lauren Magee and forwards Carla Rowe and Lynsey Davey featuring in the Dubs’ narrow loss to Cork in the last round.

“This is going to be a very difficult game; it is going to be our biggest contest this year so far,” says Cooney. “I think both teams will be trying a lot of players — it is not going to be anything like the All-Ireland final — but I am still looking forward to it, if only just to see where we are at. So, it is going to be a massive challenge for us.”

Already, Galway have been on a rollercoaster ride in the opening stages of the National League, conceding five goals against Waterford, and still only losing by a point; defeating Westmeath with a polished display; and accounting for Donegal last day out, despite conceding another four goals.

Over the last two weeks the set-up has been endeavouring to fix their defensive frailties and, in light of this, one wonders has the Dublin fixture come a game too soon? “We have been very inconsistent in front of the goals but if we were to compare ourselves to last year, our scoring rate has gone up. So, ultimately, it is trying to find the balance between your defence and attack.

“Our defence, though, is something we are going to have to prioritise the next day, keeping the goals out. We know from playing Dublin, if they turn you over, they will always punish you. And more often than not with goals. So, it is priority to focus on that. We have worked very hard on it in training and on video analysis. Hopefully, it will work out for us on Sunday.”

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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

Maree remain in contention after taking spoils in Cork

Keith Kelly

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Connor Curran put in a good shift for Moycullen against Tralee Warriors on Saturday.

GALWAY’S two women’s national league sides tasted victory at the weekend, with Maree claiming a 5-point win away to Fr Mathew’s of Cork in the Super League to keep them second in the table, and confirm their place in the post season play-offs; while NUIG Mystics ended a four-game losing run under when stunning Portlaoise Panthers on their home court in Division 1, although they then tasted defeat at home to Castleisland on Tuesday night.

It was not such a good weekend for Galway’s two national league men’s sides, however, with both Maree and Moycullen suffering heavy defeats to leave them at the wrong end of the table.

WOMEN’S SUPER LEAGUE

Fr Mathew’s 77

Maree 82

Maree’s co-captain, Carol McCarthy, nailed a clutch 3-pointer with less than two minutes left on the clock to wrestle back control of this tight game at the Fr Mathew’s Arena in Cork on Saturday evening.

Maree had led by nine points heading into the last quarter, but led by Irish international Grainne O’Dwyer, the home side ate into that lead to draw level with 1.50 left on the clock, and with Maree in foul trouble, the momentum appeared to be all with the home side.

Claire Rockall inbounded the ball to Dayna Finn deep in the Fr Mathew’s half of the court, and the Irish U-20 international drove towards the basket, sucking in the cover, before dishing the ball to McCarthy on the left, and she hit nothing but net to push Maree 3 ahead.

Finn was then sent to the free-throw line as the home side were forced to foul to win back possession, and she hit both to give Maree some breathing room and see them complete the double over the Cork side in the league.

Maree led 20-17 at the end of the first quarter, with McCarthy hitting seven of their points, including a ‘3’. She also opened the scoring for Maree in the second-quarter with another 3-pointer, and with Aine McDonagh also hitting two 3-pointers in the quarter, Maree had pushed out to a 48-39 lead at half-time.

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

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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