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Boost for Connacht as key players sign new contracts

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A great week for Connacht, following their smash and grab dramatic European Champions Cup win over Wasps, has just got better with a plethora of influential players re-signing for the province in the past few days.

These include forwards Tom McCartney, Denis Buckley and Quinn Roux, along with out-half Jack Carty. With a host of others such as Bundee Aki and Ultan Dillane having already pledged their futures to Connacht, the latest announcement is a major boost to the squad as they travel to take on Irish rivals Ulster in Friday’s Pro12 tie at Kingspan Stadium (7:35pm).

Buckley, Carty and Roux have all signed two-year contract extensions while New Zealand hooker McCartney, who can also play at loose-head prop, has agreed a deal to keep him at the Sportsground for the next three seasons.

Indeed, McCartney, whose form in the green of Connacht would not have been lost on clubs in both the Northern and Southern hemispheres, said, when all the pros and cons were weighed up, it was an easy decision to commit his future to the West of Ireland outfit.

“It (time so far in Connacht) has lived up to all my expectations from when I first signed. It has been a great journey. It has been really special being involved. I am enjoying it; my family is enjoying it; and I am enjoying the rugby,” he said.

“Now, I have an opportunity to carry it on. We have a core group here of a very good, young team. Aside from myself and John Muldoon, everyone here is really young and we have some really awesome players. So, we have a good squad to build on. It is just exciting to be sure of your future for the next three years and hopefully we can get some more success.”

With their Champions Cup destiny still in their own hands after what was arguably one of the most exceptional sporting moments ever at the Sportsground, Connacht can now turn their focus on chasing down a top six finish, or better, in the Pro12 to secure Champions Cup rugby next season.

This Friday, Connacht face Ulster, who will be smarting from their 38-19 defeat to Clermont Auvergne last Sunday, and the contrast in fortunes between the teams in the last week could not be different. Connacht will enter this game high on confidence after their late 20-18 ambush of Wasps. Ulster’s perspective will be different. McCartney agreed.

“We have talked about that upstairs just there. For us, it is great to get the win against Wasps but it is done now and it is not going to help us win next weekend,” acknowledged the 31-year-old.

Full coverage in this week’s Connacht Tribune

CITY TRIBUNE

Annaghdown pull it off in a gripping finale to group tie

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Bearna's Cathal Folan tries to shake off the attentions of Annaghdown's Conor Moloney during Tuesday's Senior Football Group 2 tie at Duggan Park. Photos: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

Annaghdown 1-17

Bearna 0-8

Ivan Smyth at Duggan Park

Well, that was dramatic. Annaghdown squeezed through to the quarter finals of the seniotrchampionship in the most nailbiting 12 point win one will witness at Duggan Park on Tuesday night.

Annaghdown entered this game needing to win by 12 points or more if they were to reach the quarter finals at the expense of Milltown. With Annaghdown leading by 11 points and the clock ticking into the second and final minute of injury time, the winners engineered a free which goalkeeper James Healy fired over from 50m out to break Milltown hearts.

The men in maroon and white can now look forward to a quarter final with St. Michael’s, one which both sides will feel is winnable. Realistically their fate shouldn’t have been decided with the final kick of the game. Annaghdown led by the required margin at half time, 1-12 to 0-3, as a hammering appeared much more of a realistic option than a tense finale. However, Bearna certainly played the role of spoilers to a tee in the final half as they retained possession far better than in the opening half.

Annaghdown’s level also dropped but despite Frankie Burke seeing a penalty saved by James Keane, Galway’s sub goalkeeper in this year’s championship, they had managed to move 14 points in front after 55 minutes. Bearna’s resistance appeared to have broken but in a campaign which has seen them take successive heavy defeats, the city side hit back with points from Donal and Ryan Folan.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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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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Connacht Tribune

Stalemate as Sarsfields and Turlough serve up final epic

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Leon Connaire of Sarsfields secures possession against Turloughmore's Matthew Tarpey during the County U20 A Hurling Final at Duggan Park last Wednesday. Photos: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

Sarsfields 0-23

Turloughmore 2-17

Eanna O’Reilly at Duggan Park

THE Under 20 hurlers of Sarsfields and Turloughmore couldn’t be separated in Ballinasloe last Wednesday evening after a titanic contest saw the sides finish level. Those in attendance certainly got their money’s worth from this final, as a high scoring thriller played out between two outstanding teams.

With 40 minutes played, Sarsfields were certainly the team in the driving seat as they held a six point lead after largely dominating the game. During the next five minutes however, Turlough hit 1-3 to come roaring back into the contest. The final quarter played out as a cliff hanger, with both sides edging ahead at different stages.

When Cillian Whelan sent over an injury time point for Turlough, it looked as though they had snatched the victory. However, there was one more twist in the story, with Sarsfields sub Jordan McMahon popping up to take a point at the death to force the final to a replay.

Any neutrals in the crowd at Duggan Park would hardly be objecting to another 60 minutes of fare between these teams, such was the quality on display. That replay is down for decision on Wednesday, October 5 (Duggan Park, 7:30pm) and will be eagerly anticipated.

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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Connacht Tribune

Monivea-Abbey in trouble after latest narrow defeat

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St Michael's Gavin Summerville breaking away from Philip Muldowney of Monivea-Abbey during Saturday's Senior Football Group 3 contest at Tuam Stadium. Photos: David Cunniffe.

St. Michael’s 0-11

Monivea/Abbey 0-9

Ivan Smyth at Tuam Stadium

ST. Michael’s outscored Monivea/Abbey seven points to two in the second half at Tuam Stadium on Saturday as they secured top spot n Group 3.

This defeat ensures Monivea/ Abbey finished bottom as they now face a battle to avoid relegation. The second half summed up Monivea/Abbey’s championship campaign to date with no shortage of battling spirit or physicality, but they struggled to engineer chances as St. Michael’s were able to play on the counter attack once they took the lead in the third quarter.

This defeat meant Monivea/Abbey lost their fourth game of the championship, with each of those defeats coming by a single score. After a first half in which Monivea/Abbey appeared to rattle Colm Tummon’s side with their front-foot pressure, Garvan McDaid’s charges kicked just two second half points, both from frees.

With Cillian McDaid looking sharp in the opening half, the GAA/GPA All Star nominee was starved of possession in the final period. His marker Shane Connaughton was the game’s outstanding player as the centre back enjoyed an absorbing duel with McDaid while he was central to much of St. Michael’s’ positive attacking play.

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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