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Connacht clubs enjoy a terrific weekend in All-Ireland League

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Corinthians Darin Claasen and Mickey Murphy lead this offensive against Malone's Mickey Murphy in Saturday's AIL tie at Cloonacauneen. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

AFTER a shaky start in round one, Connacht’s Ulster Bank League clubs hit top form at the weekend with all four sides securing wins in challenging fixtures. Corinthians and Buccaneers bounced back from opening day defeats with important home victories, while Galwegians continued their brilliant start as Sligo delivered a bonus point opening day victory for good measure.

The Division 1b table is looking good in particular for Galwegians who have started with two wins from two and secured a brace of bonus points in the process. Sunday’s 29-25 victoy in Shannon was far from comfortable but, once again, the sky blues back line showed speed and prowess to score four tries, that’s eight from the backline in two weeks.

The emergence of Matt Dever as a potent winger is a key storyline so far for the Crowley Park side. He scored again on Sunday and is a key example of one of a number of players to have come through the under 20 and junior set up in the club. Jerome Harrimate had two tries and his form is arguably even better than last season at this early stage.

At Corinthian Park on Saturday, the home side bounced back from a disappointing opening outing away to Ballymena with an impressive 29-25 home win over a highly rated Malone side. A return of five tries to two probably should have yielded more than a four point win and goal kicking remains an issue for the Galway club.

James Buckley marked his return from injury with two tries, back rowers James Connolly and Eoghan Masterson also touched down while replacement prop Jamie Dever added a score for the home side who led 19-14 at half time, but couldn’t put Malone out of sight.

The result of the weekend might have been at Dubarry Park where Buccaneers edged out a strong Garryowen side 25-22, holding firm after a strong second half fightback from the Limerick men. Buccaneers led 18-3 at half time. Conor Fitzgibbon and Gareth Halligan had tries while scrum half Mark Dolan got a third.

This weekend, Galwegians will defend top spot at home to a UL Bohemian side that are yet to hit top form. Corinthians face a difficult challenge away to Garryowen in Dooradoyle while Buccaneers are also in Limerick against a Shannon side still searching for a first win. In Division 2b, Sligo steamrolled a weak Ards 60-5 but will face a sterner challenge in Midleton this weekend.

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

CITY TRIBUNE

City sides will fancy chances of advancing as champions face Corofin

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Bearna's James Kennedy hits the deck in Ballinasloe on Tuesday as Annaghdown's Frankie Burke and Darragh Meehan try to chase down possession. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

The battle for this year’s county Senior Gaelic football club title looks to be wide open after the quarter-final draw was made this week following the delayed conclusion of the group stages on Tuesday night.

Salthill/Knocknacarra, who finished second in group 2, have been handed a last eight tie with a Tuam Stars side that finished third in group 1; while St Michael’s, who topped Group 3, will face an Annaghdown side that nabbed the final quarter-final spot in dramatic fashion on Tuesday night.

They went into their game with Bearna knowing they needed to win by a minimum of 12points to pip Milltown to the final qualifying spot as the second best of the teams that finished third in the group stages.

They looked to be coming up just short until they were awarded a late free, which goalkeeper James Healy converted, to snatch that remaining quarter-final slot on socring difference form Milltown.

The 2020 champions, Moycullen, will take on Claregalway in the last eight; while the pick of the ties is undoubtedly the clash of defending champions, Mountbellew/Moylough, with a Corofin side that was denied the five-in-a-row by Moycullen two years ago.

At the other end of the equation, St James’ are in a relegation battle, and face a clash with An Spidéal in the preliminary play-offs. A win will secure their senior status for another year, but a defeat will see them join Oughterard, An Cheathru Rua, and the losers of the other preliminary play-off between Caherlistrane and Monivea/Abbey in a round robin league, with the bottom two sides in those play-offs dropping to the intermediate ranks next year.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Play-offs dress rehearsal facing Utd against Treaty

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Former Galway United player Enda Curran celebrates his recent hat-trick for Treaty United in their FAI Cup quarter-final win over UCD. The in-form Mervue native will be facing the Tribesmen in a First Division clash on Friday.

GALWAY United head to Limerick this Friday evening for what is looking like a dress rehearsal for the end-of-season play-offs as they take on Treaty United in the Markets Field (7.45pm).

This is United’s game-in-hand over league leaders, Cork City, and a win will see them close the gap on the Leesiders to four points with three games remaining, and while a win would give the slightest of hopes of a late challenge for league honours, it is more likely to serve as a further boost to confidence ahead of the protracted play-off series that kicks-off at the end of next month.

United need to win their final four games to have any hope of snatching the title, and given the goal difference between the sides, they also need to hope that City don’t pick up more than four points from their last three games, if they are to finish top of the pile.

United’s last three games after this weekend are at home to Athlone, away to Wexford, and home to Longford Town; while City are home to Wexford, away to Athlone, and home to Bray, the easier of the two run-ins, so for United it is all about building momentum ahead of the play-offs.

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.

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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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CITY TRIBUNE

Late points from Burke and Wall grab draw for Corofin

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Tuam Stars' Paul Collins tries to halt Ronan Steede of Corofin in his tracks during Sunday's Senior Football Group 1 encounter at Tuam Stadium. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

Corofin 0-16

Tuam Stars 0-16

Eanna O’Reilly at Tuam Stadium

A late point from Corofin’s Ian Burke denied Tuam Stars a notable win over their close neighbours in an entertaining contest at Tuam Stadium on Sunday afternoon. In a closely fought contest, the Stars appeared to have done enough with two late points from Brian Mannion putting them ahead by 0-16 to 0-14 in the dying minutes of the second half.

In typically composed fashion however, Corofin refused to panic and used all of their experience to engineer two late scores, the first from Dylan Wall, before Burke held his nerve to convert a mark to give Corofin a share of the spoils.

The result means that both sides qualified for the quarter finals, after both finished the group stages with eight points. Corofin were drawn against defending champions Mountbellew/Moylough in a mouth-watering tie, while Tuam Stars will face Salthill/Knocknacara in another intriguing clash.

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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