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Big Grade One win for Brennan but it’s not on Cue Card

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Galway jockey Paddy Brennan.

IF Paddy Brennan was told beforehand that he was about to ride a Grade One winner at Kempton’s flagship meeting last Monday, the Galway jockey would have assumed a second King George on Cue Card was in the bag.

Kempton was hosting three Grade Ones, but Brennan didn’t have a ride in the Christmas Hurdle, while his mount in the Kauto Star Novices Chase was the 33/1 outsider of the ten-runner field.

But the uncertainty of racing was underlined when Royal Vacation, taking advantage of runaway leader Might Bite’s spectacular if avoidable fall at the last, had luck on his side in giving Brennan an unexpected winner.

Given that Royal Vacation is in the same ownership as Cue Card and is also trained by Colin Tizzard, Brennan must have thought that it was a good omen for Cue Card’s chances in the featured King George.

Having won the Betfair Chase for a third time at Haydock in November, the popular ten-year-old was sent off at restrictive odds of 5/4, but still wasn’t favourite due to the burgeoning reputation of stablemate Thistlecrack.

Last season’s emphatic World Hurdle winner at the Cheltenham festival, Thistlecrack was sent off at odds of 11/10 in striving to become the first novice to ever land the highlight of the cross-channel Christmas racing programme.

With only three previous runs over fences, there was a strong school of thought that Thistlecrack’s inexperience would be laid bare in a race of the King George’s traditional competitiveness, but the doubters were wrong.

Instead, chasing’s newest star galloped and jumped his rivals into submission under Tom Scudamore. Thistlecrack was being heavily eased coming to the line as Cue Card just held on for second from twice-previous winner, Silviniaco Conti.

Brennan made no excuses for his horse’s demise afterwards. “Maybe, the ground was a little lively for Cue Card. You want to win, but some things are impossible and trying to beat that racehorse today was one of the most impossible things I’ve ever tried to do. Thistlecrack was simply awesome.”

Brennan, who took his seasonal haul to 65 when steering The Worlds End to victory in the opener at Chepstow on Tuesday, could now link up with Cue Card in the Ryanair Chase – a race the horse won three years ago – at Cheltenham next March instead of a repeat crack at the Gold Cup.

Cue Card and Brennan were tanking along in the 2016 edition when coming to grief at the third last, but with trainer Tizzard also saddling the progressive Native River to land the Welsh Grand National this week, the yard now looks set to rely on their younger chasing contingent in the upcoming Gold Cup.

 

CITY TRIBUNE

Table-toppers Galway United face Treaty side featuring eight former United players

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Wilson Waweru scores the opener for Galway United in the 2-1 win against Treaty United when the sides met in Eamonn Deacy Park back in March, despite the best efforts of his former United team-mate, Marc Ludden.

Galway United manager John Caulfield says there won’t be too much video analysis needed ahead of tonight’s visit of Treaty United to Eamonn Deacy Park (7.45pm), saying that this game will be a “cup final” for the visitors given the fact that so many of the players on the Limerick club’s books are formerly of this parish.

Six of the starting XI that started in Treaty’s 2-1 win at home to Athlone Town last weekend are former United players – Galway natives Marc Ludden and Conor Melody, along with Conor Winn, Joe Gorman, Jack Lynch, and Stephen Christopher – while Joe Collins and city native Joe Collins, who were on the bench last Friday, are also former United players.

Given the small nature of the league, a crossover of players is always to be expected, but eight players out of a match-day squad of 20 is some quotient, and Caulfield says he knows exactly what to expect form the visitors on Friday night.

“We don’t have to talk about Treaty as we know most of their team are [ex] Galway lads and it is their cup final; they have shown in the two games so far that have pushed us right to the end, the 2-1 win at home and the 3-2 win down there.

“We know they are really looking forward to the game and we know that if we are not on our game, they’ll claim the result, so we have worked hard this week on how we are going to play, how we are going to create chances,” he says.

While there away form has been close to unblemished – eight wins from nine games – United struggled somewhat to get the job done on their own patch, with their first four games seeing draws with Waterford and Wexford and single-goal wins over Treaty United (2-1) and Cobh Ramblers (1-0).

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

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CITY TRIBUNE

Gallant Galway minor hurlers just come up in All-Ireland semi-final thriller

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Galway wing forward Orin Burke coming under pressure from Tipperary’s Cathal English and Joe Egan during Sunday's All-Ireland Minor Hurling semi-final at the Gaelic Grounds. Photos: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

Tipperary 3-24

Galway 3-20

FOR the first time in six years Galway won’t have a minor hurling team in the All-Ireland final, but that is almost inconsequential in the context of what we saw in this epic semi-final at the Gaelic Grounds on Sunday.

In a contender for hurling match of the year, Galway went toe-to-toe with Tipperary in a compelling struggle for supremacy which saw two high-quality teams provide an exhibition of the sport’s finer arts.

In the end, the better balanced and physically stronger Munster champions just about got the job done in a thrilling climax as Tipperary snatched victory from the jaws of defeat by scoring a goal and two points in stoppage time.

But these young Galway players were carried out on their shield. Led by their twin assassins up front – the gifted Aaron Niland, who scored a staggering 2-11, and Rory Burke – the boys in maroon couldn’t have done much more. It was just that Tipperary possessed more game-breakers and a greater spread of scorers.

Only five Galway players featured on the scoreboard compared to 10 for Tipperary, including substitute Senan Butler, who finally sealed the deal for the blue and gold with a goal from point-blank range in the 64th minute after taking a pass from outstanding full-forward Tom Delaney.

In a semi-final in which the teams were level nine times, Galway can’t quibble too much with the outcome. They enjoyed a free count of 15 to 5 in their favour, while they were also rescued on several occasions by goalkeeper Donagh Fahy who made a series of great saves.

For more, read this week’s Galway CityTribune.

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 rower breaks world record twice on her way to landmark triumph in Poland

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Galway's Katie O'Brien displays her gold medal after smashing the world record in winning the single scull (PR2 1X) at the World Cup Regatta in Poznan, Poland over the weekend.

GALWAY has a new world champion after Katie O’Brien smashed her way into the record books at the Rowing World Cup held in Poznan in Poland last weekend.

The Clarinbridge woman set not one, but two world records at the championships on her way to capturing the single scull (PR2 1X) event, improving on the bronze medal she won in the same category at the 2019 World Championships in Linz in Austria.

Her semi-final performance last weekend saw her smash a world record that was set in 2018 when she came home in a time of 9mins 32.09 seconds, shaving more than 40 seconds off the previous time of 10mins 13.63 seconds.

That new record didn’t not last long, however, as O’Brien smashed it again in the final, coming home in a time of 9mins 14.65 seconds on her way to the gold medal and the world title.

She just missed out on a second medal at the championships when finishing fourth in the final of the PR2 Mix2X alongside crew partner Steven McGowan against a world-class field with crews from France, the Netherlands, and the bronze medalists from the 2016 Olympics, Poland.

There is no single sculls event for O’Brien to compete in at the Paralympics, so she recently joined forces with fellow Galway Rowing Club member, Steven McGowan, with a target of the 2024 Paris Olympics in mind, and they continue to build towards that dream after another impressive performance last weekend.

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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