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Champions Corofin and former kingpins Salthill set for first round clash

Stephen Glennon

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Corofin's Mike Farragher and Salthill Knocknacarra's Sean Gavin in action during the 2013 Galway football final. The clubs have been drawn to meet each other in the first round of this year's championship.

GALWAY GAA certainly won’t need any promotional gimmick when it comes to marketing the 2015 county senior football championship after the two local super-powers – champions Corofin and Salthill / Knocknacarra – were pitted against one another in the first round.

No doubt, the draws for the Galway senior and intermediate football championships, which were broadcast live on RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta on Monday evening, have certainly thrown up some fascinating pairings, none less than the meeting of Corofin and Salthill/Knocknacarra.

Although the sides did not clash in last year’s championship, they did spar in the 2013 county decider, with Corofin underlining their status as Galway’s most successful team of the last two decades with a resounding 2-13 to 0-7 victory.

What was disappointing from the city side’s perspective was that they were reigning county champions at the time – having accounted for Tuam Stars in the 2012 final – yet they never got to grips with the power and pace of their opponents.

That said, Corofin have been the form team since getting back on the glory trail in 1991. Up to this point, they had just three titles to their name. As of today, they have 16, with only Salthill/Knocknacarra and a now declining Killererin posing any real threat to their dominance in recent years.

At any rate, the clash of Galway’s two big guns will whet the local appetite, particularly if Corofin enter that first round fixture as newly crowned All-Ireland club champions. Should they do so, they would be meeting the last Galway team to have lifted the Andy Merrigan Cup, which was, of course, Salthill/Knocknacarra in the Spring of 2006.

The draw also threw up some other interesting pairings. Last year’s beaten finalists St. Michael’s will begin their campaign with a tricky championship opener against Cortoon Shamrocks while 2010 county champions Killererin, having escaped relegation by the skin of their teeth, will face Leitir Mór.

Two other sides with title ambitions, Mountbellew/Moylough and St. James’, will be another tie to watch while a fixture that is sure to tingle the senses will be the all-Connemara clash between Micheal Breathnach and An Cheathrú Rua.

Another of the Connemara representatives, Carna Caiseal face Annaghdown, a side with some potential, while 2014 intermediate champions Killanin will travel in from the West to take on last year’s county semi-finalists Barna in the first round.

The remaining SFC ties see Tuam Stars facing Kilconly; Caltra taking on Kilkerrin-Clonberne; and Caherlistrane meeting Milltown, a team, one suspects, will be anxious to make a winning start to their championship after getting wiped out by Corofin in the semi-finals last year.

In the intermediate championship, the stand-out first round fixture is the derby between last year’s beaten finalists Moycullen and Oughterard. Having conceded ground to neighbours Killanin in the 2014 decider, Moycullen will not want to bend the knee to another of their local rivals.

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

CITY TRIBUNE

Big boost for Connacht as dozen make Irish squads

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Former Galway minor hurler Shane Jennings who is one of six Connacht players named on the Irish U20 rugby squad for the upcoming Six Nations.

By Rob Murphy

THERE was some off season good news for Connacht this week with confirmation of 12 players from the Sportsground having made it into international squads at senior and U-20 level.

Six Connacht players were called into Andy Farrell’s 37-man senior international squad for next month’s two tests against Japan and USA. Three of those are looking to make their international debut in Tom Daly, Paul Boyle and Caolin Blade; while three more are looking to continue their progress with the Irish squad in Dave Heffernan (5 caps), Ultan Dillane (18 caps) and Finlay Bealham (14 caps).

For Daly, the progress from fringe starter to captaining Connacht has been a rapid one. The 27-years-old inside centre from Carlow is now a key part of Andy Friend’s plans having led the way in starts this season and his consistent form has clearly caught the eye of Farrell too, with the recent stand-out effort in the win over Munster at Thomond Park no doubt a key factor.

At 24, Boyle has already amassed 57 appearances in the green of Connacht having made his debut in 2017. He also has captained Connacht on multiple occasions and while he missed some of the end of season Rainbow Cup games, the Gorey native was a consistent almost ever present part of the back row during the PRO14 campaign.

Monivea man Blade is back in Ireland camp for the second season in a row and will hope to get his first cap this time around. The 27-years-old is being rewarded for another excellent season in the nine shirt for Connacht where he led the team in starts at scrum half and scored five tries in 20 appearances.

Ireland will play two games in the Aviva Stadium next month starting with a clash against Japan on July 3 before they host USA on July 10.

The Irish U-20s will be involved in Six Nations action, starting tomorrow against Scotland with the month-long tournament taking place entirely in Cardiff to help guarantee a safe environment for players.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Galway surrender top flight status after Clones collapse

Stephen Glennon

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Galway’s Robert Finnerty who scored 1-3 in their costly National League relegation play-off defeat to Monaghan in Clones on Sunday.

Monaghan 1-21

Galway 2-17

(After Extra-Time)

NO thermometer was required to take the temperature of those hundred or so die-hard Galway supporters who travelled to Clones last Sunday. With their side five points to the good and time almost up, they watched on in horror as a winning lead was blown.

The result: Galway beaten. The result: Galway are no longer a Division 1 county. The result: Galway now have just won one game in their last seven competitive outings. The result: Galway have gone from a side on the brink of something in spring of 2020 to an outfit that has regressed and have now been cast back to the land of mediocrity.

That Galway boss Padraic Joyce didn’t make himself available to the media afterwards to put some positive spin on the performance only compounded the result. By not offering some take, he left a dangerous void in which disgruntled supporters have begun to weave their own narrative about where Joyce’s Galway are at.

Ironically, with time almost up in Clones, it appeared the Tribesmen had turned the corner after a poor run of form. First half goals from Paul Kelly and Rob Finnerty saw Galway lead this thrilling relegation game by five points going down the home stretch, but in the five minutes plus of normal time injury-time, they came undone.

In hindsight, hauling off Galway’s two best forwards – Robert Finnerty and Shane Walsh (although he was nowhere near his best) – was a mistake as it not only blunted the point of attack but deprived it of the guile and experience that they needed to see this game out.

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

Galway U20s set to make up for lost time in delayed final

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Conor Walsh who is a key member of the Galway U20 hurling team seeking Leinster final glory when they take on Dublin next Wednesday.

GALWAY’S U20 hurlers have a number of injury concerns ahead of their long overdue 2020 Leinster final clash against Dublin at O’Connor Park, Tullamore, next Wednesday evening, June 23. Throw-in 7:30pm.

Among them are Sarsfields midfielder Alex Connaire and Craughwell wing-forward Adrian Prendergast, both of whom scored in the Tribesmen’s victories over Laois and Kilkenny last December, but they now look set to miss the provincial decider with groin and pelvis injuries respectively.

“This game is just too early for them, it has just come too quick,” says Galway manager Jeffrey Lynskey, who says Connaire and Prendergast join an injury list that also includes long-term victims Mark Gill of Castlegar (metatarsal) and Conor Hynes of Liam Mellows (shoulder).

“We are lucky enough though that we have depth in the squad and can pull on lads who are performing and doing well (in training). They have trained well, in fairness to them, over the last five weeks.”

Indeed, Lynskey says the form is good in the camp, outlining the focus has been getting the players back up to speed with in-house and challenges games against the Galway development panel.

“In all the in-house and challenge games, they have performed really well. They are all looking forward to getting back. They have trained hard, really, over the last five weeks and they put a serious bloc of work in during the third lockdown. Gym-wise, they all came back in fantastic shape.

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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