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Connacht going for broke in crucial away clash against struggling Treviso

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Connacht's Tiernan O'Halloran who has recovered from injury and is available to face Treviso in Friday's Guinness Pro12 tie.

CONNACHT took a few days’ off following their history-making win over Munster a fortnight ago. They deserved the break, having achieved their goal of a top-six finish with two rounds of the Pro 12 league still to play.

For the first-time ever, the province qualified for Champions Cup rugby off their own steam, something they have been striving to achieve for over a decade.

But that feat is now parked: when players returned to training at the tail end of last week, they recalibrated the season’s objective.

At the first group meeting, Head Coach Pat Lam asked each member of the squad and management to write down their new target.

The response was unanimous. “Everyone’s big goal now is to win the Pro 12,” the boss said.

That he said this and nobody laughed, just shows how far Connacht have come. From mediocre mid-tablers to title contenders within a few years.

“To be able to re-set with two games to go, is great,” said Lam. “I don’t like setting unrealistic goals and I don’t like setting the goal for the team. I think it has to be a collective. And the one thing that was pretty unanimous right across the group is there was a lot of belief, based on what we’ve done so far, that it is realistic to say we can try and win the Pro 12. As long as it’s based on stepping it up another level.”

That last part is key. Connacht have been great this season but in order to achieve their new target, they must win at least three of the next four games (including semi-final and final). And to do that they have to ratchet performance levels up.

Lam described the next five weeks as a ‘mini-season’, in which his charges must strive for even greater heights.“We’ve got to take everything up to another level. The way we prepare, the way we train,” he said.

Reaching a semi-final is almost attained already but in order to give themselves the best opportunity to make a final, history indicates Connacht needs to secure a home semi-final. And for that to happen, they require at least one win from their remaining two matches away to Treviso and home to Glasgow.

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

CITY TRIBUNE

United make short work of Wexford FC in mis-match

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Galway United’s top scorer Stephen Walsh who twice hit the target in Friday's First Division win over Wexford FC.

Wexford FC 0

Galway United 4

WE’RE not yet at the half-way point in the season, but Galway United are playing like a side that will lift the First Division title come October. John Caulfield’s team made it six wins on the spin in Ferrycarrig Park last Friday.

Such was United’s dominance from the first whistle, the only thing Wexford were in with a shout of winning was the half-time raffle, and even then, the winner had Galway loyalties with the prize being won by the grandmother of Wexford native but United midfielder, Mikie Rowe.

United made one change to the side which trounced Cobh Ramblers the previous week, Gary Boylan coming in to start in a new formation which saw him play in the hole just between frontman, Stephen Walsh, and the attacking midfield trio of Wilson Waweru, Dave Hurley, and Ed McCarthy.

It was United’s second successive away game, and just like that trip to Cobh, this game was as good as over by half-time with the Tribesmen once again taking a 3-0 lead into the dressing room.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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CITY TRIBUNE

O’Brien and McGowan make para-rowing history

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Steven McGowan and Katie O'Brien pictured in Italy with club coaches, Mike Gaffney and Conor Moloney.

Two members of Galway Rowing Club made history last weekend when they formed Ireland’s first competitive para-rowing crew as they attended a training camp in Italy, before competing in a para-rowing regatta.

Katie O’Brien from Clarinbridge was joined by clubmate, Roscommon native Steven McGowan, as they took what they hope is another step towards qualifying for the 2024 Paralympics in Paris.

The pair competed in the PR2 (back and arms) category in their first international para-rowing regatta in Gavirate in northern Italy, which was made possible by Galway Rowing Club’s move to actively support Rowing Ireland’s Paralympic rowing programme for the 2024 Paris Olympics.

O’Brien is a renowned oarswoman, and has competed on her own in the 1X in para-rowing, but there are no single seat boats in the Paralympics, so she and McGowan have joined forces in a new partnership.

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.

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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

United seeking seventh win on the trot in home tie with Athlone Town

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Galway United’s Conor McCormack in action against Kurtis Byrne of Athlone Town last season. The teams clash in the First Division at Eamonn Deacy Park on Friday evening.

JOHN Caulfield is preaching a message of patience ahead of his side’s home game with Athlone Town on Friday (7.45pm), a game which could see his side match the club record of seven consecutive wins.

That run was set in 2006, when United finished third in the First Division under Tony Cousins, and this Friday they ‘only’ need to beat the division’s basement side, and a side without a win this season, to match that run of a magnificent seven wins.

It is that kind of talk, however, that Caulfield is keen to stamp out, pointing out that, under new interim manager Dermot Lennon, the Midlands side have improved in recent weeks, and have only been beaten by a single goal in their last three games.

Longford Town edged the Midlands El Classico last weekend by the odd goal in three; Cork City won on a matching 2-1 score in the previous week, their winner coming with the last kick of the game; while Waterford scraped to a 1-0 win at home to De Town the week before that again.

“We have to show patience, we have to be strong from the start and impose our game, but we have to be patient,” the United manager told Tribune Sport this week.

“We need to keep our composure, keep to our game plan, keep our patience, and I would say that to the crowd as well, they need to be patient as Athlone will come and sit in and look to hit us on the counter-attack, and it will be up to us to break them down,” he said.

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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