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Canning bails Portumna out of trouble

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Portumna 1-19

Killimordaly 2-14

TITLE favourites Portumna took control of Group C with this two-point victory over a plucky Killimordaly at Ballinasloe on Saturday evening.

Unbeaten now in their first two games, Portumna were pushed all the way by a defiant Killimordaly, who probably deserved more. A draw possibly would have been a fair result, and would have better reflected the balance of play. But stalemate would have been cruel on Joe Canning, who was outstanding.

It’s almost getting boring now, writing about another ‘Joe Show’, but that’s what we were treated to at Duggan Park as Canning scored 15 points, including six from play, as well as a few assists, and he dragged Portumna over the line.

Whereas Killimordaly had gutsy displays all over the field, Portumna relied too heavily on Canning, particularly in the second-half, when the pressure was on.

Make no mistake – the border men would not have won it without him. Canning’s massive haul of scores is obvious but remember in the second half, too, as Portumna clung to a one-point lead heading into injury time he was required to defend.

Killimordaly’s Keith Kennedy from way back in his own half launched a huge effort into the danger area and it was Joe Canning who plucked it from the sky, cleared it right down the other end of the field to Damien Hayes, who was fouled for a free that Canning converted. It was classic Canning.

Killimordaly complained of Canning’s ‘theatrics’ early-on but in fairness on the two occasions he was down injured it was because he had suffered two late chop-downs on his knuckles after clearing the ball, firstly from defender Declan Connolly, who had an excellent game, and then from Iomar Creaven. There was no simulation – and they were without a doubt frees.

Conceding cheap frees certainly was an issue for Killimordaly and on a couple of occasions ‘back-chat’ meant that the free was brought in further to a more scoreable position.

Killimordaly had a better spread of scorers and they’d a more balanced look about them. Perhaps if they had more belief in the beginning and had they made better use of possession, including converting some of their nine wides – one or two were just unforgiveable – then we’d be talking about the upset of the year.

Full match report in this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune

Familiar foes are set for intriguing senior decider

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Kilkerrin-Clonberne’s Claire Dunleavey and Claregalway's Charlotte Cooney in action during the 2019 Galway senior ladies football final in Milltown. The clubs meet in the decider for the third consecutive year on Saturday.

By Ivan Smyth

IT will be a case of familiar foes meeting when Kilkerrin/Clonberne and Claregalway square off in the county final in Annaghdown on Saturday (4pm). Willie Ward’s all conquering Kilkerrin/Clonberne side will be aiming to win their ninth county title in a row, but they come up against a Claregalway outfit who drew with them in the group stages of this year’s championship.

The sides will meet in the county final for the third year running and the fifth time in seven years. Last year’s decider ended in a nine point win for Kilkerrin/Clonberne, although the victory margin slightly flattered the champions. Claregalway manager Eugene Kearney is aware of the difficult task his side faces when they come up against this all conquering Kilkerrin/Clonberne outfit.

“We are well used to the opposition and we are looking forward to taking them on. We have a huge task ahead of us. We are under no illusions to the size of the task we face. In terms of preparation, we have tried to improve ourselves in the year since. We are just focused on our own dressing room and our own players. We are trying to improve the mindset and show we can achieve with Kilkerrin/Clonberne have.”

Kearney’s charges will be monitoring the fitness of Ciara Burke who is suffering with a hamstring issue. His side have impressed in this year’s competition remaining unbeaten, while drawing with Saturday’s opponents in the group stage. They ruthlessly put Corofin to the sword in the last four, prevailing by 5-17 to 2-5.

“If you stand still you are going backwards so that’s why we aren’t going through the motions in any game. We’ve had a full squad since the Coen Cup finished up so we have been able to work together and improve game by game. We are under no illusions to the size of the task. I’m quietly confident in this squad’s ability, but it will all come down to who is better on the day.”

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Craughwell make short work of an outclassed Kilnadeema/Leitrim

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Kilnadeema/Leitrim's Adam Nolan launching an attack against Craughwell's Stephen Hynes during Sunday's senior hurling quarter-final at Duggan Park. Photo: Joe Keane.

Craughwell     0-27

Kilnadeema/Leitrim    0-9

Darren Kelly at Duggan Park

IT won’t have anything to do with the Galway hurling manager’s position, but Brian Hanley must have been one of the happiest hurling supremos around last weekend following this impressive statement from his Craughwell contingent on Sunday afternoon.

While Davy Fitzgerald and Henry Shefflin filled column inches about inter county roles, Hanley showcased his managerial worth with Craughwell’s return to senior hurling title contention, and still having areas that need to work on.

No doubt, the lack of goals might trouble the 2015 finalists and they were handed numerous chances. But it also must be stated that Kilnadeema/Leitrim’s energy was well down on their shock elimination of Turloughmore seven days earlier.

Craughwell returned to Senior A in 2020 before falling at the preliminary quarter-final hurdle. And despite not being fancied by some to emerge from a group containing Turloughmore and Castlegar this term, they advanced unbeaten without showing their full hand.

And they set the tone for this encounter just two minutes into proceedings. Thomas Monaghan opened the scoring before Adam Clarke added a second 60 seconds later.

Clarke’s reputation is rising rapidly in Craughwell and he was the star of the first half. He made it 0-3 to 0-0 on six minutes before Brian Molloy got Kilnadeema/Leitrim off the mark.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

St Thomas’ in different class on difficult day for Kilconieron

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St Thomas' Conor Cooney securing possession against Niall Martin of Kilconieron during Sunday's senior hurling quarter-final at Duggan Park. Photos: Joe Keane.

St. Thomas’ 3-29

Kilconieron 1-9

Darren Kelly at Duggan Park

IT took the county champions time to get going, but St. Thomas’ stunning performance in ruthlessly dismissing the challenge of Kilconieron showed that they are still the team to beat in the senior hurling championship.

The four-in-a-row chasing title holders rifled in goals from Conor Cooney, Darragh Burke and Eanna Burke to give a master class, and highlight the difference between contesting Galway’s top tier prizes and picking up intermediate glory.

But before all that, we saw the unity in sport as a free flowing senior hurling championship quarter-final was halted in its tracks.  A nasty injury to Kilconieron corner back Martin Ryan raised alarm bells immediately – even St. Thomas’ players called for help as attention diverted from hurling.

For over 15 minutes, supporters waited for the ambulance to arrive and bring the defender for attention. His team mates gave him a guard of honour – a freak fall ending his afternoon and season. Everyone, including his opponents, clapped him off the field.

It’s hard to know how this contest would have developed if it hadn’t suddenly stopped. Kilconieron led 1-3 to 0-1 after four minutes with David Mangan getting their goal, but St. Thomas’ were already finding their rhythm and didn’t look back when play reconvened on 27 minutes.

Many pundits felt this was the most clear-cut of the weekend’s four quarter-final encounters to predict, but Kilconieron were determined to keep everyone guessing as they opened the scoring inside 40 seconds thanks to Conor Caulfield raiding down the right.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

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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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