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Connacht Rugby stun Leinster in Guinness PRO12

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Whenever the complete history of Connacht Rugby is written, the 10-9 victory over Leinster on Friday night will rate highly in its annals.

Yes, Connacht have had wins over the reigning Pro12 holders in the past – and have enjoyed many wonderful occasions in both the Heineken and Amlin Challenge Cups over the years – but this was different because this was not simply a ‘one-off’. For 24 hours at least, Connacht were table toppers.

What was this? It was consistency at its best. Three wins on the trot, this latest 10-9 victory, compliments of a superb Kieran Marmion try, over a strong Leinster Rugby outfit was a statement of intent from a Connacht outfit that has refused to bend the knee in recent outings.

Speaking to the media afterwards, man of the match Marmion said wins like those, generally, was a question of belief.

“Yeah, we generally believe that if we can go out there and perform, we can win. We have done it before against Leinster and we certainly believed before the game we could win.

“It was great to get another win. To back up what we did the last two weeks was huge. It was just a great effort from the lads. We probably let ourselves down with the discipline early on but we never gave up and we showed our character throughout the game, especially towards the end.”

Having trailed 9-3 at the interval – Jack Carty responding to three Ian Madigan penalties – Marmion produced a moment of magic when slipping the Leinster cover to race over the whitewash for a 55th minute try.

“I don’t remember too much about it but it was great to get over the line. It was a complete team effort,” continued the scrum-half.

“Obviously, the conditions played into their hands in the first half but it was great defence from us just before half-time to keep them out and that really gave us a boost going into the second half. So, we just wanted to kick on from there.”

For Head Coach Pat Lam, he thought Connacht’s victory was representative of the culture and the character within his squad. “That is three weeks in a row where we really have had to dig deep and work hard,” he said afterwards.

“A lot of things didn’t quite go our way – we have talked about it; it wasn’t quite perfect – but at the end of the day if your culture is good and you are led by a lot of the senior players, everyone will fight for each other.

“As it happens, that is three weeks in a row we have had to dig deep. When you see that sort of emotion from the fans, all they want to see is the boys fighting. I am very proud of them,” beamed the New Zealander.

Connacht will look for their second Pro12 victory on the road in Scotland – and, more importantly, to maintain their unbeaten run – when they face Glasgow Warriors this Friday (7.35pm), who are currently lying second in the league table having also won their opening three games.

Connacht Tribune

Cappataggle pull off mighty win despite early loss of Mannion

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Cappataggle's Paul Claffey tussling for possession with Stephen Barrett of Liam Mellows during Sunday's Senior A championship encounter at Kenny Park. Photos: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

Cappataggle 0-19

Liam Mellows 0-17

CAPPATAGGLE may have watching out for magpies or stocking up on rabbit’s feet all summer in advance of the 2021 Galway senior hurling championship, but when it came down to the big moments in this absorbing SHC first-round fixture, it was their character rather than any lucky charm that got them through it.

Reduced to 14 men following the dismissal of Jarlath Mannion after just two minutes, Cappataggle spent most of their time thereafter chasing a result. However, despite their numerical disadvantage, Tony Nevin’s men never gave up, even if at times, they clung to Liam Mellows like a tired boxer out on their feet.

Four times they came from behind in the second half to tie up the game, the last of which was injury-time when the outstanding Liam Collins belied his young years to show composure to fire over a free to level up the contest at 0-17 apiece.

Collins was again central to the action less than a minute later when he brilliantly snapped a Paul Claffey delivery under pressure and set up substitute James Egan for the lead score three minutes into time added on. It was only Cappy’s second time to lead in the contest, having nudged ahead by a point in the frantic opening minutes of this fixture.

Collins wasn’t finished yet, either. Deep into injury-time, Liam Mellows’ Adrian Morrissey was pulled for over-carrying and the teenager rattled over the free to add the full-stop to what was a remarkable feat by his side.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Athenry let winning hand slip as Reilly goal saves Pearses

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Former Galway minor Dean Reilly who scored a late equalising goal against Athenry in the Senior B hurling championship clash at Duggan Park on Saturday.

Athenry 1-16

Pádraig Pearses 1-16

Ivan Smyth at Duggan Park

A goal in the third minute of injury time from Dean Reilly salvaged Pádraig Pearses a draw in a game that Athenry should have killed off before the corner forward’s late heroics.

When Conor Burke struck an inspirational score in the 58th minute, Kieran Coffey’s side led by six points and seemed destined to pick up a valuable two points to take them to the summit of Group One.

Up until this point Pádraig Pearses were reliant on Emmet Ward frees as the sharpshooter converted 11 placed balls throughout the course of this game. Aside from the first 10 minutes of the second half, the Ballymacward side were hanging on and trying to keep tabs on a youthful Athenry outfit.

Pádraig Pearses showed admirable determination in the closing stages, however, as a well worked Tomas Flannery score and two Ward frees slashed Athenry’s lead to three points in injury time. Athenry saw two efforts drift wide of the posts during this period and they were punished to the extreme.

In the 63rd minute, a precise Fergal Flannery puckout found Jimmy Gelston in space on the Athenry 45 metre line. The substitute cut inside and drew the last defender before handpassing to Dean Reilly who coolly finished to the bottom corner of the net.

To concede a goal in injury time and squander a winning position will no doubt frustrate Athenry, but Coffey and his management team will ponder how Gelston was able to cut inside the defence and offload possession without meeting a forceful challenge. To further rub salt in the Athenry wounds, talented forward Cian Burke limped off before half time with his fitness now a concern ahead of their final two group games.

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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Connacht Tribune

Ballinderreen blast out of the traps in first round win

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Ballinderreen's Hugh Moylan puts in a strong challenge on Portumna's Owen Treacy during Sunday's Senior B championship clash at Kenny Park. Photos: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

Ballinderreen 4-15

Portumna 1-19

A savvy first half performance, in which Ballinderreen blitzed Portumna for four goals, laid the foundation for Ray Hayes’ charges to secure a merited opening round victory in Group 3 of the county senior ‘B’ hurling championship at Kenny Park, Athenry on Sunday.

To the fore was Niall Coen, who tallied a hat-trick against their shell-shocked opponents, while Roy Lane also proved a handful in the inside line, netting Ballinderreen’s fourth and finishing with a personal tally of 1-6.

In many respects, Ballinderreen did to Portumna in that opening period what the former All-Ireland senior club champions did to many a team in their best years. And they looked good doing it.

After just two minutes, Coen had the ball in the Portumna net, having seized on a delivery from Kieran Ryan. Ballinderreen hit their second just before the water break when a long ball in from Evan Morgan found Lane and he rifled his effort beyond Ivan Canning from an acute angle to give his side a 2-3 to 0-4 lead.

In this time, Portumna sought to gain a measure of momentum with points from Ronan O’Meara, Joe Canning, who sadly was forced off injured early in the second period, and Neil Connelly (2). However, each time Ballinderreen responded – Luke Prendergast striking over two points and Lane adding a free.

Quite simply, Ballinderreen were buzzing and upon the resumption of play Coen seized on another long delivery – this time from Padraig Lafferty – and hit Portumna for the third goal to make it 3-3 to 0-4.

Over the ensuing 10 minutes, both sides traded points. O’Meara (2), Jack Canning and Joe Canning (free) were on target for Jimmy Heverin’s outfit while Kevin Lane, Roy Lane and Morgan pointed for Ballinderreen.

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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