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Callanan’s heroics secures win for Galway

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Galway's Padraig Mannion looks to clear his lines under pressure from Kilkenny's Mark Kelly and Jonjo Farrell. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

Galway 0-20

Kilkenny 0-18

For the second year running, Kinvara goalkeeper Colm Callanan produced the heroics against Kilkenny in their National League group fixture – only, on this occasion, his efforts were duly rewarded as Galway picked up another vital home victory of their Spring campaign at Pearse Stadium on Sunday.

When the sides met in the corresponding fixture at Nowlan Park 12 months ago, Callanan’s agility and bravery denied Kilkenny duo Mark Kelly and Walter Walsh what looked like certain goals in the closing quarter to ensure Galway’s scoring difference, despite losing 2-16 to 1-16, remained virtually intact.

On Sunday, Callanan was called into action, producing a series of top drawer saves with two minutes remaining to deprive substitute Kevin Kelly, on the double, and Jonjo Farrell in a frenetic passage of play that, ultimately, decided the destination of the two league points on offer.

By this stage, Galway held a dangerous two-point advantage, 0-19 to 0-17, and when Kilkenny – who had hit the post with a John Power effort moments earlier – looked to do what they do best, it required a steadfastness in Galway’s play that in the past they have often lacked. Yet, not on this occasion.

Farrell did subsequently reduce the margin to a single point for the All-Ireland champions with time almost up but Callanan’s string of saves, along with a clinical free from substitute Joe Canning, ensured the Tribesmen held their nerve to claim the spoils.

What has been most pleasing about Galway’s endeavours so far in 2015 is that they are showing a level of consistency from game to game. Three solid displays in the National League – reaping two victories – in addition to the Walsh Cup win have been hugely positive.

It just remains to be seen if they can take their game to the next level when they get their championship underway this Summer. That, really, has been the crux of their problem in recent seasons – the failure to weave the positives of league showings into a garment fit for the championship catwalk. Too often, it has been a case of the Emperor’s new clothes.

Padraig Mannion, with another outstanding display, John Hanbury and Johnny Coen looked the part in the full-back unit while the half-back division, especially David Collins, dealt admirably with an opposing line that Galway have traditionally struggled with in the past decade or so against Kilkenny.

In this regard, Gort’s Greg Lally, who, never shirking a challenge, had to withdraw late through injury, can be happy with his first start in the jersey. He strengthens an area where incumbent Gearoid McInerney, Gort’s Aidan Harte and the club-tied Daithí Burke will also be vying for inclusion.

Up front, the return of Joe Canning – who came on at half-time after returning from a finger injury – was also pivotal in this win. He scored four points, the first coming at the end of a super move involving Lally and Andy Smith while his second was simply a sublime sideline cut.

That effort came at a vital time given Kilkenny were after reeling off three points through the lively Richie Hogan – two from play – to bring the Cats back within two as the game entered the final quarter. With Jason Flynn for some reason withdrawn at this stage, Galway needed another finisher in attack and Canning provided that, particularly with his two late frees. They were by no means easy.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

CITY TRIBUNE

Referee shortage sees local games called off

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The Salthill Devon side that beat Corrib Celtic 4-1 in Drom last Friday night. Back row from left: Jackson Da Silva, Andrew Connolly, Cillian Doyle, Shane O’Rourke, Calum Crowe, and Arek Mamala. Front: Matthew Barrett, Darren Darcy, Matthew Murray, Michael Gallagher and Vinny Faherty. Photos: Iain McDonald.

Soccer Wrap with Mike Rafferty

It is not often that Mervue United have to wait until the third series of games in the Premier Division to get their first win, but after earlier losses to Maree/Oranmore and Athenry they finally secured their first success on the all-weather at Fahy’s Field on Sunday morning.

A 2-1 win over St Bernard’s moved them off the foot of the table, but in a close contest it was an outcome that could have gone either way. Mayo native Eoin Prendergast took both his goals well, although they were of the simple variety as deliveries over the top exposed the visitors cover and the former Conn Rangers striker was left with simple tap-in’s as they led by two at the break.

In contrast the St Bernard’s reply was a cracking effort as Matty Finn crossed from the right and the inrushing Paddy Mullins headed powerfully past Rob Carr to pull one back.

The visitors had plenty of opportunities to get back on level terms, but it was an occasion when their finishing let them down. Twice Dillon Murphy threatened a breakthrough, but his opening effort few across the face of goal; before failing to connect with a Keith Forde delivery.

Brian Moran had an effort that was easily gathered by Rob Carr, before Matty Finn was well off target with a late chance. All the opportunities were not at the one end, as Mervue threatened when Robert Carroll headed over following a Eli Sheedy corner; while Prendergast missed a great chance to complete his hat-trick, but fired over from in front of goal after a neat knockdown by Stephen Larkin set him up.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Lyons’ spectacular bicycle kick carries day for United

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Mikie Rowe of Galway United and Cork City's Cian Coleman in a race for possession during Friday night's First Division tie at Eamonn Deacy Park.

Galway United  2

Cork City 1

By Mike Rafferty at Eamonn Deacy Park

THERE is no doubt that the Galway United players will have had more of a pep in their step at training this week as their come-from-behind victory over Cork City at Eamonn Deacy Park on Friday night finally ended their five match winless streak and. hopefully, in the process installed a bit of confidence in their own ability.

No doubt the fact that the visitors would have clinched the Airtricity First Division title if they were to win was a further incentive for the home side to raise their game to a level that had gone missing in recent outings.

However, United did fall behind for the fourth game in succession, before two goals in a three minute spell by Wilson Waweru and Charlie Lyons rescued the situation and moved them to within seven points of the league leaders. United do enjoy a game in hand and while they are free this weekend, their next outing away against Treaty United will bring them level on games played with Cork City.

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

Connacht thrashed by Ulster but internationals return for tough South African trip

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Connacht's Caolin Blade who scored their only try in Saturday's heavy URC defeat to Ulster at the Kingspan Stadium.

By JOHN FALLON

ANDY Friend says Connacht need to pick up the pieces quickly from an opening night hammering (36-10) to Ulster after going down by five tries to one in Belfast.

Ulster dominated the opening half and were good value for their 14-3 lead as Connacht had to defend for long periods of a half littered with mistakes by both sides.

Centres Luke Marshall and Stuart McCloskey were dominant and the two combined for the opening score after 27 minutes, before 21-year old hooker Tom Stewart crowned his first start by punishing poor defending when he looped around a lineout to score three minutes from the break.

Connacht finished the half with a boost when Conor Fitzgerald landed a penalty from 35 metres to cut the gap to 11 points but they fell apart after the restart, coughing up six penalties in ten minutes.

Scrum-half Nathan Doak extended the lead with a 45th minute penalty and then he touched down for a try six minutes later when Stewart was stopped just short.

Doak’s third conversion made it 24-3 as both sides emptied their benches and Ulster secured the bonus point when full-back Stewart Moore got over after Connacht No.8 Paul Boyle was binned for offiside.

Replacement scrum-half Caolin Blade got over for a consolation try ten minutes from time after former Leinster out-half David Hawkshaw also impressed after coming on, but other than the performance of another ex-Leinster player, flanker Josh Murphy, there were few other consolations as Ulster finished on a high with replacement prop Callum Reid getting the touchdown and Doak converting from the right.

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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