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Claregalway ladies on brink of glory



Claregalway 5-13

Boherbue 0-12

The Claregalway ladies footballers registered an historic victory and are now just one step from All-Ireland glory following their ruthless demolition of Cork and Munster champions Boherbue in the Intermediate club semi-final played at Tuam Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

Boherbue had gone one step further than Claregalway in last year’s junior competition, losing out to Dublin’s Thomas Davis in the decider, but they were simply no match for a hungrier, fitter, more clinical Claregalway side who recovered from a shaky start to dominate the contest.

Ciara Newell and Charlotte Cooney were stars in their own right after firing in a brace of goals apiece, but it was Deirdre Brennan’s powerhouse display from full forward that sparked the Claregalway onslaught into life. Aside from adding 1-1 to her side’s impressive tally, she was at the heart of so many of her side’s attacks and ended the tie with six assists to her credit.

This victory, however, had its foundations in a well-drilled defence which gradually came to terms with the potent early threat of Boherbue’s Louise Dennehy and Shauna Kelly, and by the end were maintaining a clean sheet with the minimum of fuss. Captain Fabienne Cooney and her defensive colleagues deserve great credit for knuckling down to the task against a side with proven scoring potential.

On a horrible afternoon where incessant drizzle fell from early in the day, the standard in general was a credit to both side. The game almost began in disastrous fashion for Claregalway when Shauna Kelly bore down on goal in the first minute, but goalkeeper Hannah Coen did well to stand tall and crucially blocked the shot with her legs.

Claregalway were struggling to cope with Boherbue’s powerful runs from deep and by the eight minute mark they were 0-4 to 0-1 behind as Dennehy (two frees) and Kelly (two) had the Cork side in front. Michelle Dunleavy got Claregalway off the mark with a free, but the early signs were far from encouraging for the Connacht champions.

Gradually, though, they began to find their feet and once their inside forward line got on the ball and Claregalway began to pin Boherbue back in their own half, the tide quickly turned in their favour. Newell converted a free before setting up Brennan for her first score, and the trend continued as Dunleavy (a free) and Ciara Burke both pointed. 

Claregalway manufactured their first goal on 22 minutes when Brennan handpassed to the in-rushing Cooney and she blasted a shot high to the net for a tonic score. A flowing move three minutes later demonstrated Claregalway’s growing confidence as Burke popped over, before Boherbue finally responded through a Dennehy point.

Claregalway’s greater desire to win the hard ball was now evident, though, and good forward pressure led to Dunleavy adding another free before a long ball fell invitingly for Brennan and she goalled from close range to give Claregalway a healthy seven point half-time advantage after Dennehy sent over a late free for Boherbue.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune

Corofin hit the goal trail again in crushing Monivea/Abbey




WHILE it goes without saying that everyone is hugely thankful that sporting action has resumed and we still appear on course to complete a season, it is such a pity for the time being that only a handful of supporters are allowed the privilege to watch a team of Corofin’s class in full flight as they look destined to create history on their march to an eighth senior title in a row.
On a glorious day for football last Sunday, Corofin dismantled Monivea/Abbey in emphatic fashion, playing an electric brand of football that repeatedly cut holes in their opponent’s defensive alignment. Seven goals last time out against Oughterard, there could have been more again in Tuam Stadium but for some uncharacteristically sloppy finishing to rapier-like first half moves that left Brian Mulry’s side exposed.
It didn’t help that Cillian McDaid, Monivea/Abbey’s star turn, was an absentee, or that St. Bernard’s Connacht Junior Cup quarter final was scheduled for the same time, but Monivea/Abbey should still take a small shred of comfort from the fact that they competed well at times, created 19 scoring chances, and never dropped their heads despite the lost cause.
With no Connacht or All-Ireland club championship to have to try and peak for later in the year, Corofin look poised to lay down a serious marker on how far ahead of the pack they really are. New faces like Matthew Cooley and replacement Colin Kelly, who confidently netted two second-half goals on his debut, are being given their chance, while Ronan Steede, Martin Farragher, Bernard Power, and Daithí Burke were not required on this occasion.
Throw in the fact that Kevin O’Brien chose to keep Kieran Molloy and Gary Sice in reserve until deep into the second half and you start to seriously question whether any side in the county will be able to lay a glove on them this term. Ian Burke is motoring along nicely, Micheál Lundy appears revived back in a more attacking role, while veterans like Ciarán McGrath are haring around the pitch as if they have a point to prove.
Monivea/Abbey were lively all over the pitch early on and actually created one more scoring opportunity in the opening twelve minutes (5-4) but were unfortunately wasteful when it mattered and somehow found themselves trailing by 1-2 to 0-1.
Corofin’s movement and accuracy were already sublime, with Lundy, Burke, and Cooley lining up in an I formation down the middle of the attack and Darragh Silke offering himself as a highly effective link man in transition. Jason Leonard and Dylan Canney provided width when needed while the defensive Dylan’s, Wall and McHugh, tore forward when the chances arose.
Ian Burke’s sharp turn on eight minutes left Caelom Mulry in his wake, but when a goal looked likely Burke drove just over the bar. Three minutes later the dam broke when Lundy curled a pass into Cooley in space, and he picked out McHugh on the burst who slotted to the net at his ease.
A Brian Moran free registered Monivea/Abbey’s first score shortly after, but the die had already been cast. Jason Leonard drove over a ’45 after Burke had been denied by some last gasp defending before Canney clipped over a classy score where Lundy and Burke were involved again.

Extended report will appear in this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Galway minor footballers stun Kerry in brilliant win



NOT many minor teams would have coped with the adversity and setbacks which stalked Galway’s championship summer, or much less end up looking forward to an All-Ireland final appearance in over a fortnight’s time.

Donal Ó Fatharta’s latest batch of minor footballers have had their mettle well and truly tested over the past couple of months, notably when falling twice in the provincial title race and also having to overcome a numerical disadvantage in a key match against a quality Sligo outfit.

The fact that Galway came through all those difficulties to contest last Sunday’s absorbing All-Ireland semi-final was a tribute to the squad’s character and resolve. Quite simply, this is a group of players wearing maroon jerseys who don’t know when to give up.

Having comfortably dispensed with Leinster champions Kildare in the All-Ireland quarter-final – Galway teams at all levels seem to have the Indian sign over the Lilywhites – they had clearly parked a heartbreaking extra-time loss to Mayo in the Connacht decider. It meant they headed to GAA headquarters in good fettle and no doubts about their bottle.

In the opposition corner, however, was a Kerry team trying to maintain the county’s push for an unprecedented sixth consecutive All-Ireland minor title. The Kingdom were also unbeaten in 34 matches at this level and were strong favourites to carry the day.

But the Galway players were both undaunted and ready for the challenge. They rose to the occasion in magnificent style and, pretty soon, it was evident that this was going to be no walk in the park for the highly-rated Kerry boys.

Galway thrived in the open spaces of Croke Park in producing their most accomplished display of the campaign.

Read full match coverage in Tribune Sport.

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Connacht Tribune

Corofin resume quest for seven-in-a-row



DUBLIN’S footballers may be going for the five-in-a-row, but Jim Gavin’s all-conquering charges would struggle to hold a candle to the team which continues to dominate Galway club football.

Corofin have had the odd close shave – notably last year’s drawn county final against Mountbellew/Moylough – but their shadow continues to tower over the Galway championship.

Kevin O’Brien’s troops are on the trail of a seventh county title on the trot in 2019 – a feat which would equal the achievements of St Grellan’s, Ballinasloe (1913 to ‘19) and Tuam Stars (1954 to ’60).

Corofin will also be aiming to stay on track for a record-breaking third consecutive All-Ireland title when resuming their championship campaign with a clash against Annaghdown at Tuam Stadium on Friday evening (7.30pm).

There are nine senior group ties down for this decision this weekend – two go ahead on Friday evening, with the rest taking place on Saturday, scheduling influenced by the Galway minors’ All-Ireland semi-final against Kerry at Croke Park on Sunday.

See full match previews in this week’s Connacht Tribune Sport.

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