Classifieds Advertise Archive Subscriptions Family Announcements Photos Digital Editions/Apps
Connect with us

Sports

Connacht Rugby face Bayonne

Published

on

An away trip to Basque Country this weekend is an unwelcome distraction for Connacht Rugby this weekend.

Connacht Rugby’s primary focus must be on winning at least one of the three inter-provincials in the Pro 12 league over Christmas and New Year, rather than this test, even if it is European competition.

The Connacht Rugby management and players obviously insist they travel to France with the intention of completing back-to-back victories over Bayonne – what professional outfit sets out to lose?

But the province’s main protagonists should be kept in reserve for the mouth-watering trip to Dublin, where the westerners face Leinster in the RDS next Friday, December 19.

Then it’s another away trip to Ulster (Dec 26), a place where Connacht Rugby hasn’t won in over 50 years; and home to Munster (Jan 1). An away win in Bayonne this Saturday will count for little if Connacht Rugby can’t avoid a whitewash against the other three Irish provinces, which would precipitate a slide down the league table. Time to get the priorities right.

Lock Mick Kearney suffered an ankle sprain early-on in Connacht’s five-try bonus win over Bayonne at the Sportsground at the weekend, and head coach Pat Lam will not want to risk any other front-line starters at Stade Jean Dauger this Saturday (kick-off, 8.45pm local time, 7.45pm in Ireland).

Despite indicating he would ring the changes for last Saturday, Lam fielded as strong a team as was available and got his just desserts: a seventh win on the trot at College Road this season, copper-fastening the Sportsground as a fortress.

It would be unconscionable not to rest front-liners this weekend, with just a six-day turnaround, as well as travel from France and to Dublin to take into account for the next two fixtures.

As well as Kearney, Andrew Browne (knee) and scrum-half Ian Porter (foot) are also sidelined, and Lam could be forced to dip into his reserves of Connacht Rugby Academy and Eagles players.

A much-changed starting 15 will be announced at noon today.

A win on the road will set-up a European Challenge Cup Pool Two decider with Exeter Chiefs in January at the Sportsground.

But it’s not the end of the world if they lose either as qualification would still be as possibility even if they come away with nothing.

The priority must be on the performance, and, even allowing for the margin of victory, 42-19, there is ample scope for improvement from last week for the Connacht players, who switched off too often against Bayonne.

Lam admitted there were “too many troughs” in Connacht’s performance and he called for his charges to be more clinical, against Bayonne who will be a different beast at home.

“We will have to be ruthless or teams like Bayonne are capable of punishing you,” he said.

“We are going there to win. We truly believe we have a game plan and a team who can go there and win this game. The key is making sure we do our preparation as a team and as individuals.

“We’ve also got to be careful and use our squad ahead of what is a crucial period of games. We have a squad of around 40 players, including some Academy guys, and they’ve all been training around our structures and systems week in week out since the preseason.

“So we trust our squad and will trust the team we pick to go out there and play as a team in the Connacht Rugby jersey. No doubt Bayonne will make changes too. We know it will be a different story over there.”

CITY TRIBUNE

Young Mystics cast their spell over Limerick visitors

Published

on

The NUIG Mystics squad that defeated Limerick Sport Husklies in the Women's Divison 1 last Saturday. Back row, from left: Kyle Walsh (assistant coach), Courtney Cecere, Laoise Walsh, Ava McCleane, Olivia Sasse, Sara Messler, Maggie Byrne, and Paul O'Brien (head coach). Front: Meadhbh O'Brien, Hazel Finn, Kara McCleane, Laura Lopez Morera, Caoimhe O'Sullivan, and Aoife Ryan. Missing from photo: Aine McDonagh.

NUIG Mystics made it two wins from two with a five-point win over Limerick Sport Huskies on Saturday in the Women’s Division 1, but there was disappointment for Galway’s other three sides.

Moycullen ran Tralee Warriors close on Sunday in the Men’s Super League but suffered another narrow defeat, having lost on the opening day to NUIG Maree. Maree’s hopes of making it back-to-back wins were ended with a poor fourth-quarter performance away to Neptune on Saturday, the Cork side running out convincing winners; while Titans also suffered a second defeat, going down at home to Dublin Lions.

WOMEN’S DIVISION 1

 NUIG Mystics 65

 Limerick Sport

 Huskies 60

A strong final quarter which saw Irish underage international Hazel Finn rattle in nine points helped Mystics make it two wins from two against a visiting side that was overly reliant on Yuleska Ramirez Tejeda.

The US import returned a stunning 31-point haul for her side, to add to the 27 points she hit on the opening weekend’s 79-76 win over Portlaoise Panthers, but a better spread of a scoring threat for Mystics saw Paul O’Brien’s claim what was at time a scrappy win.

It is a very young Mystics squad this year – there were three 18-year-olds in their starting five on Saturday – but they are mature as players, none more so than Kara McCleane, who finished the game with 23 points.

She drained a three in the first quarter to help Mystics take a 16-11 lead, with McCleane hitting 10 of those points, but the visitors rallied in the second quarter, with Ramirez Tejeda (8) and Taylor Herd (6) helping them draw level at 29-apiece at the break.

Maggie Byrne began to dominate under the defensive boards for Mystics, and when she threw in a big 3-pointer, which was soon followed by one from Finn, Mystics moved into a 41-31 lead early in the third quarter, with the visitors’ first points of the quarter coming just before four of the 120 minutes had elapsed.

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.

 

 

Continue Reading

CITY TRIBUNE

Shefflin named as surprise new Galway senior hurling manager for first intercounty role

Published

on

Henry Shefflin

Galway GAA are pinning their hopes on one of the greatest hurlers of all time proving that he’s fairly handy at management as well after unveiling Henry Shefflin as the new Galway senior hurling manager.

The shock appointment of Shefflin (42) was confirmed on Wednesday night, catching many people on the hop, including our sister paper, the Connacht Tribune, as it had been widely expected that Davy Fitzgerald was getting the job.

“Galway GAA is delighted to announce Henry Shefflin as the new Galway senior hurling manager,” read a statement posted on the Galway GAA website on Wednesday night.

“Henry’s achievements as a player are unrivalled. As a manager he has guided Ballyhale Shamrocks to All Ireland Club titles in 2019 and 2020. Henry will be joined by fellow Kilkenny man Richie O’Neill as a coach and his management team will be finalised in the coming weeks,” the statement read.

The appointment ends a seven-week period of speculation as to who would replace Limerick native Shane O’Neill who held the position for two years, before announcing at the start of September that he would not be seeking a third year in charge.

He had led Galway to the All-Ireland semi-final in 2020, only to lose to Limerick; before a nightmare 2021 in which Galway failed to win a game in the championship, losing lost to Dublin in the Leinster semi-final, and Waterford in the All-Ireland qualifiers.

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.

 

Continue Reading

CITY TRIBUNE

Connacht need the win for two very different reasons

Published

on

Abraham Papali’i will be hoping to start against Ulster this Saturday, having come off the bench in last weekend's defeat to Munster. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

By JOHN FALLON

The switch of Connacht’s game against Ulster from the Sportsground to Aviva Stadium was, from the outset, met with not insignificant negativity by some fans and the business community, and with the anticipated attendance expected to be in the region of a disappointing 8,000 or so, some must be wondering if was worth moving the fixture at all.

Two things can alter that. There could still be a decent run on tickets which would make the venture financially worthwhile; and the other is a Connacht victory. A Connacht loss and the forfeiture of home advantage will come into the equation.

It could, equally, be argued that no matter where this game is a played, form so far in the URC suggests an Ulster victory. They are the only side with maximum points, four straight bonus point wins, and Connacht go into it with just one win in four.

Connacht coach Andy Friend says the players and management are not under any extra pressure to win Saturday’s clash.

“No, I don’t think so. I think we’ve got a lot of Connacht supporters who are going to be there. Family and friends are going to be there, so there’s always pressure to try and impress in front of them and to make sure you’re playing the best brand of rugby.

“But I don’t think moving the game to the Aviva has added pressure to us. Certainly, I don’t feel that, and I don’t think any of the players feel that.”

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.

 

 

 

 

Continue Reading

Local Ads

Local Ads

Advertisement
Advertisement

Facebook

Advertisement

Trending