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Connacht should have enough to topple much-changed Treviso

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Connacht's Niyi Adeolokun and Kieran Marmion and Gavin Evans of Cardiff Blues only have eyes for the ball in last Friday's game in the Sportsground.

As the dust continues to settle from last weekend’s home draw with Cardiff, the focus within the Connacht camp is now very much on this Friday’s trip to eastern Italy for a clash with Benetton Treviso at the Strada Di Nascimben (7pm Irish time).

The Pro12 season is a long slog from September to May and the hunt for a top six spot and European qualification has a lot of twists and turns ahead, but three points slipped away at the weekend as the westerners went from searching for a bonus point fourth try to letting a 14 point lead slip in 12 minutes against the wily visitors from the Welsh capital.

A great antidote for healing such wounds is another game within a week, as the team will have had little time to dwell on the missed opportunities. Pat Lam’s side will be targeting another four points this weekend against a Treviso side that are a pale shadow of the team which won 10 games two seasons ago and seemed on the cusp of a real breakthrough.

The turnover of players in the Treviso camp has been remarkable during the off-season. No less than 19 players left with 21 players coming in as the club came to terms with a different financial climate and a mass reduction in their budgets.

Key men have left such as Robert Barbieri (Leicester), Matthew Berquist (Hawkes Bay) Tobias Botes (Southern Kings), Lorenzo Cittadini (Wasps), Albert D Marchi (Sale) Leonardo Ghiraldini (Leicester), Luke McClearn (Sale) and Manoa Vosawai (Cardiff).

It is hard to fathom how they can recover from such an exodus of key frontline talent and the start to the season has reflected as much as they’ve lost all five games by an average margin of 25 points per game, scoring six tries and conceding a jaw-dropping 24.

The population of Treviso is roughly similar to Galway and minority sports are prominent with basketball also hugely popular. It is very much a rugby stronghold in Italy and unlike Parma where Zebre (the country’s other professional franchise) are based, the people of the region have embraced professional rugby from day one.

However, right now crowds are low as this hastily-assembled and very much depleted squad attempts to find some sort of level footing to kick start what should be a difficult rebuilding phase. They have fallen well behind Zebre in the pecking order which leaves them a long way further adrift of the main pack.

The problem for Connacht is that this is round six and the signs of improvement are now emanating from home team. The league leaders Glasgow discovered this last weekend leading only 19-16 at the break before eventually pulling clear after half time for a 41-23 win. Outside centre Michael Campagnaro, who has nine caps for Italy, scored two tries, Australian full back Jayden Hayward was accurate with the boot.

The other strengths for Treviso hail in the pack where 20-cap Italian David Giazzon will be strong at hooker; lock Antonio Pavanello will disrupt the Connacht lineout; and 26 year old Italian international flanker Simon Favaro will be a key man in the back row. Scrum half Edoardo Gori has 34 caps for Italy and marshals the troops well.

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

Connacht Tribune

Utd finish in a blaze of glory to take badly needed win

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Galway United’s Killian Brouder gets to the ball ahead of Athlone Town's Shane Barnes during Friday's First Division clash at Eamonn Deacy Park. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

Galway United 2

Athlone Town 1

Mike Rafferty at Eamonn Decay Park

GALWAY United have gone behind in seven of their 11 League of Ireland games so far this season, but at Eamonn Deacy Park on Friday night, they came from behind to win for the first time and as ever they left it late.

Trailing to a Shane Barnes goal from the 24th minute, United levelled matters courtesy of a Ruairi Keating penalty, before the Mayo native came to the rescue again with an additional time winner as the home side got exactly what they deserved.

As has become a feature of Galway United games this season, they were an enigma in the opening half before producing probably their best half of football on the resumption. In the first 45 minutes, there was neither shape nor style to their game as they ballooned long balls and hoped striker Wilson Waweru could work miracles.

It is difficult to know if it was the introduction of three fresh faces at the break that rejuvenated the home side on the resumption or the tactical changes from manager John Caulfield, but it became a half they dominated and the only agony for the hundred or so supporters was wondering could the home side could strike for a winner.

No doub, the fans offered support and the place erupted when Keating got on the end of a McCormack corner and the ball somehow made it over the line despite the efforts of Micheal Schlingerman and a covering defender for a dramatic late winner.

Caulfield had some harsh words to say after a heavy defeat against Shelbourne in their last game and obviously not helped by suspension (Stephen Walsh) and injury (Carlton Ubaezuonu), it gave an opportunity for 16-year-old Alex Murphy to play his first game for Galway United.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Galway and Mannion play catch up to reel in Rebels

John McIntyre

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Galway's Cathal Mannion who was a big influence in their National Hurling League victory over Cork at Pairc Ui Chaoimh on Sunday.

Galway 3-25

Cork 2-23

John McIntyre at Pairc Uí Chaoimh

WE’VE known for the past few years that this group of Galway hurlers are as talented a team as there is around, but one All-Ireland and one National League title sells their overall quality short in terms of silverware.

Sure, in the often heartbreaking history of Galway hurling, the county’s current generation of elite players have achieved what only four Tribesmen teams have done in the past, but the nagging feeling is that they should be winning more.

Perhaps, that balance sheet is about to take a turn for the better on the basis of Galway’s last two performances in the league. In both those contests against strong opposition, they were in trouble after falling well behind. Their opponents were dictating the terms of engagement and looking in control.

Yet, by the finish of those matches against Waterford and Cork respectively, Galway had not alone found ways to retrieve the situation, but were also utterly dominant and have now set up a likely league final with Kilkenny as the counties’ paths are virtually certain to cross in the upcoming Leinster championship.

Though their comeback win over Waterford at Pearse Stadium the previous weekend was laudable, they had less time to reel in the Rebels at Pairc Uí Chaoimh last Sunday. In the space of 30 minutes, however, they managed to turn the game completely on its head in outscoring Cork by 3-13 to 0-10.

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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Connacht Tribune

Donohue the driving force as Galway survive epic contest

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Galway's Aoife Donohue comes under pressure from Cork's Ellen Murphy during Sunday's National Camogie League semi-final at Nowlan Park. Photos: INPHO/Bryan Keane.

Galway 1-19

Kilkenny 1-17

(AET)

Eanna O’Reilly at Nowlan Park

THE Galway senior camogie team came through an epic extra-time battle with Cork to book their place in the National League final  after outlasting the Rebels at Nowlan Park on Sunday. On a scorching hot day in Kilkenny, Cathal Murray’s side showed tremendous resolve to edge out a battling Cork team, who matched the Tribeswomen score for score for most of the 83-minute contest.

A victory of this nature will surely stand to Murray’s charges in the long term, with Galway’s hunger, athleticism and fitness all thoroughly tested on Sunday evening. The character of the Galway players also shone through, particularly in the second period of extra-time, when they closed out the game while down to 14 players.

The amount of energy expended in Nowlan Park may not have been ideal with Sunday’s league final in mind, but in terms of squad morale and confidence, this victory was invaluable.

The exchanges were intense from the throw in. Cork’s Katrina Mackey opened the scoring inside the 20 seconds, before Carrie Dolan equalised with her first pointed free. The Clarinbridge forward was very sharp and landed a fine point two minutes later, after a good pass from Siobhán McGrath. Dolan soon put Galway 0-3 to 0-1 ahead, after pointing a free which she drew herself.

Cork replied with a point from Linda Collins before Galway were dealt an early injury blow. Orlaith McGrath was forced off with a dislocated shoulder and replaced by Catherine Finnerty. The Mountbellew forward soon got involved in the action, intercepting a loose ball in the Cork defence, before passing inside to Siobhán McGrath, who finished to the net. Cork replied with Orla Cronin pointing her first free of the afternoon.

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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