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Boyles triumph again in Galway Summer Rally

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DEFENDING Dunlop National Rally champions Declan Boyle/Brian Boyle (Subaru WRC) took a start to finish victory in the Ballinasloe based Carlton Shearwater Hotel Galway Summer Rally, round six of the Dunlop series to maintain their back to back title aspirations at the weekend.

At the end of the nine stage event they were 57.6 seconds in front of the Subaru WRC of Welsh ace Hugh Hunter and his co-driver Andy Marchbank. Clonmel’s Roy White (MG ZR) and his Cork co-driver James O’Brien were third followed by Welsh driver Steve Wood (Subaru WRC) and his Limerick co-driver Keith Moriarty.

All four drivers along with Tyrone’s Paddy McVeigh (Subaru WRC), who failed to finish in Ballinasloe, remain in the title hunt for the Vard Memorial Trophy, the two remaining rounds are the Clare Rally and the Donegal Harvest Rally.

The Group N category was won by Monaghan’s Josh Moffett/John Rowan, while Kerry’s PJ O’Dowd/John Young (Talbot Sunbeam) took the laurels in the Historic section.

Meanwhile, Neil Pierce and co-driver Enda O’Leary (Honda Civic) won the Ger Conway Trophy for the highest placed Galway crew, they finished 13th overall and first in Class 11F.  “Everything went according to plan. I have been a long time waiting to win this award, this is what I wanted,” commented Neil at the finish.

On the opening stage near Aughrim, Boyle set the pace and led Hunter by 4.8 seconds with Roy White (MG ZR) best of the rest in third – 10.2 seconds further behind.  Derek McGarrity retired his Mini WRC due to oil pump failure less than half way through the stage.

Completing the three stage loop with a string of fastest times, Boyle arrived at the Ballinasloe service park with a lead of 28.3 seconds over Hunter, who lost time at the start of S.S. 2 when he had problems with the launch control.  Indeed, the episode seemed to fluster the Welshman and he admitted he took time to regain his composure.

Even though he was stymied by a loss of power that was related to a turbo issue, Wood slotted into third some 24 seconds further behind but just a fraction of a second ahead of the MG ZR of Roy White, who was untroubled.

Josh Moffett in fifth held control of the Group N category – he was some 45 seconds in front of Stephen McCann with Shane Maguire 12 seconds further behind.

Extended report in this week’s Connacht Tribune

CITY TRIBUNE

Saltonstall joins an elite club in tight finish to Galway Mile

John McIntyre

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Galway jockey Leigh Roche drives out Walking On Glass, green colours, to win the Latin Quarter Handicap at Ballybrit on Tuesday.

THE value of course and distance form at Ballybrit was again underlined on Tuesday evening when Saltonstall joined an exclusive club in landing the Colm Quinn BMW Mile for the second year running.

But connections of the Ado McGuinness trained six-year-old had to endure an agonising wait before being declared the winner after a desperate photo finish with another 11/1 chance, Njord, at a near-deserted Galway.

In replicating the achievement of both Pinch Hitter and Riven Light in the past, it took an inspired ride from apprentice Gavin Ryan to nail the unlucky runner-up which looked to have the €75,000 feature sewn up entering the final furlong.

Seven lbs higher than when triumphant 12 months ago, Saltonstall flew up the hill and flashed past the post with the Jessica Harrington trained Njord, provoking a lengthy photo finish.

The smart money was on a dead heat, but Saltonstall eventually got the verdict – a frustrating outcome for Harrington, who also saddled the third and fourth, Only Human, and the 9/2 market leader, Tauran Shaman, respectively.

There was success for local jockey Leigh Roche in the concluding Latin Quarter Handicap when Walking on Glass (28/1) bounced back to form. Always travelling sweetly, the five-year-old made smooth progress in the dip and gradually reeled in Conron on the climb to the post

Portumna owner Tony Deegan saw his colours carried to victory as 100/30 favourite Out On Friday finally broke its maiden status in the Caulfield Industrial Handicap (Div.1) under Colin Keane. The winner is trained near Birr by Philip Byrne.

For more, read this week’s Galway City 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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West take their chances to advance to the last eight

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West United's Nathan Ward comes under pressure from Mikey Verdego, Conor Devlin, Aidan Coyle (left) and Colm Kelly (6) of Galway Hibs.

West United 2

 Hibernians 0

Two second-half headers sealed a home win for West United at South Park on Sunday as they saw off a Hibernians side who were much improved on early season form and indeed were probably the better side in this Connacht Junior Cup last sixteen contest.

It was the visitors who had wind advantage in the opening half, but while they enjoyed plenty of possession, they rarely threatened Aaron Connolly’s goal and such was the strength of the elements, one felt an advantage was going to be required at the break.

Rather surprisingly, the second-half fell into a pattern not expected, as the visitors continued to play the better football and do most of the attacking, but they generally floundered when facing the West central defensive duo of Oisin Connolly and Denis Lydon. The pair were outstanding for the home side and, in reality, were overworked, as Hibernians tried to rescue something from the game.

For the home side, their only first-half opportunity came on 44 minutes when a cracking left-footed effort by Nathan Ward came back off a post. Otherwise, play was mostly concentrated on the Town goal, but set-pieces provided the only outlet for the visitors to get off the mark.

Indeed, even getting past the defensive unit was a difficulty as Aidan Coyle and Stephen Walsh struck numerous free-kicks into the wall. In open play, efforts off target by Shane Hulgraine and Lee Keogh were the closest Martin Devlin’s charges went to a scoring reward.

The resumption saw the hosts take a quick advantage of the elements when, 52 minutes in, Nathan Ward took advantage of a Gary Matthews cross that was originally cleared up in the air and with a backwards header, his effort looped beyond PJ Ward to make it 1-0.

The probing of Niall Rooney, Colin Kelly and Shane Hulgraine kept West on their toes at the back, but apart from a few goalmouth scrambles and set-piece deliveries, they never clearly got a sight of Connolly’s goal.

For more, read this week’s Galway City 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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Big blow for Galway trainer as Presenting Percy is moved from Kelly’s stable

John McIntyre

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Two-time Cheltenham festival winner Presenting Percy with Pat Kelly at his stables in Craughwell. The popular nine-year-old has been moved to Gordon Elliott's yard this week.

THE horse box driver rumbled through the parish of Craughwell on Monday morning certain of his destination, but unsure how to get there.

In an era where bad news travels fast, within hours the horse racing fraternity knew that Pat Kelly’s stable had been stripped of its star.

Two-time Cheltenham festival winner and one of the most popular horses in training, Presenting Percy, has headed to new pastures – Gordon Elliott’s yard in Longwood, Co Meath.

It’s a devastating blow for the small-time Kelly stable which has successfully mixed it with the sport’s big operations at different stages over the past three decades.

And not alone has Presenting Percy departed the West, but seven other horses carrying Philip Reynolds’ colours in the Kelly stable are also being dispersed to new handlers.

The decision was a tough one for Reynolds, who has enjoyed spectacular success at the Cheltenham festival through the exploits of Presenting Percy and the ill-fated Mall Dini, also trained by Kelly.

These triumphs for the low-key, media shy Galway handler fascinated the racing public and when Presenting Percy lined up for his first crack at the Cheltenham Gold Cup in 2019 – the blue riband of chasing – he was sent off the market leader. Punters love an underdog story and Kelly fitted the bill perfectly.

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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