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Corofin can live with tag of final favourites

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Reigning All-Ireland senior club champions Corofin face the stiffest test of their credentials to date when they meet the last team to defeat them in championship football – Castlebar Mitchels of Mayo – in one of the most eagerly anticipated club games of the current campaign on Sunday (2pm).

The Old Lady of Galway football – Tuam Stadium – is sure to be rocking as the top teams from two counties who have been the greatest of rivals over the history of the Association will clash in the Connacht senior club championship final.

For Corofin, it is an opportunity to retain their crown – and, perhaps, gain a measure of revenge for their 2-8 to 1-10 provincial semi-final loss to the same opposition in 2013. That said, boss Stephen Rochford insists he will not be pushing any of these motivating factors as a core theme in his side’s preparations.

“Look, people might talk about revenge or getting one back but that isn’t necessarily how we are looking at it. We are looking at it as a game in its own right and if we are good enough on the day then we will win the game,” began Rochford.

“I suppose we played them in one game and they beat us, so there is a record in the history books about that. This, though, is the 2015 Connacht final and our team has moved on a lot since then (2013). We will have six or seven guys starting the next day who didn’t start against Castlebar three years ago.”

Heading into this one, Rochford has no fresh injury concerns after experienced defender Alan Burke recovered from a knock he picked up in their emphatic Connacht semi-final victory over St Mary’s of Sligo last day out.

“We should be okay. Alan Burke went off in the semi-final with a slight bang but he should be fine. He trained this week. Patrick Madden, Kevin Murphy and Aineis Lawless though are all out for this weekend. They were all out the last day as well,” outlined the Corofin manager.

As a Mayo native he is very familiar with the club scene in his own county . . . including what Castlebar Mitchels bring to the table. “I have seen a few [Mayo club games] but I have only seen Castlebar on one occasion. That was in their quarter-final against Aghamore (5-13 v 1-7) and they were hugely impressive that day.

“They put up a big tally and they have scored something in the region of 14 goals in their last four games. That is a huge part of any game and if you are scoring three or four goals towards the tail end of November you are going to be very difficult to beat.”

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune

Familiar foes are set for intriguing senior decider

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Kilkerrin-Clonberne’s Claire Dunleavey and Claregalway's Charlotte Cooney in action during the 2019 Galway senior ladies football final in Milltown. The clubs meet in the decider for the third consecutive year on Saturday.

By Ivan Smyth

IT will be a case of familiar foes meeting when Kilkerrin/Clonberne and Claregalway square off in the county final in Annaghdown on Saturday (4pm). Willie Ward’s all conquering Kilkerrin/Clonberne side will be aiming to win their ninth county title in a row, but they come up against a Claregalway outfit who drew with them in the group stages of this year’s championship.

The sides will meet in the county final for the third year running and the fifth time in seven years. Last year’s decider ended in a nine point win for Kilkerrin/Clonberne, although the victory margin slightly flattered the champions. Claregalway manager Eugene Kearney is aware of the difficult task his side faces when they come up against this all conquering Kilkerrin/Clonberne outfit.

“We are well used to the opposition and we are looking forward to taking them on. We have a huge task ahead of us. We are under no illusions to the size of the task we face. In terms of preparation, we have tried to improve ourselves in the year since. We are just focused on our own dressing room and our own players. We are trying to improve the mindset and show we can achieve with Kilkerrin/Clonberne have.”

Kearney’s charges will be monitoring the fitness of Ciara Burke who is suffering with a hamstring issue. His side have impressed in this year’s competition remaining unbeaten, while drawing with Saturday’s opponents in the group stage. They ruthlessly put Corofin to the sword in the last four, prevailing by 5-17 to 2-5.

“If you stand still you are going backwards so that’s why we aren’t going through the motions in any game. We’ve had a full squad since the Coen Cup finished up so we have been able to work together and improve game by game. We are under no illusions to the size of the task. I’m quietly confident in this squad’s ability, but it will all come down to who is better on the day.”

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Craughwell make short work of an outclassed Kilnadeema/Leitrim

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Kilnadeema/Leitrim's Adam Nolan launching an attack against Craughwell's Stephen Hynes during Sunday's senior hurling quarter-final at Duggan Park. Photo: Joe Keane.

Craughwell     0-27

Kilnadeema/Leitrim    0-9

Darren Kelly at Duggan Park

IT won’t have anything to do with the Galway hurling manager’s position, but Brian Hanley must have been one of the happiest hurling supremos around last weekend following this impressive statement from his Craughwell contingent on Sunday afternoon.

While Davy Fitzgerald and Henry Shefflin filled column inches about inter county roles, Hanley showcased his managerial worth with Craughwell’s return to senior hurling title contention, and still having areas that need to work on.

No doubt, the lack of goals might trouble the 2015 finalists and they were handed numerous chances. But it also must be stated that Kilnadeema/Leitrim’s energy was well down on their shock elimination of Turloughmore seven days earlier.

Craughwell returned to Senior A in 2020 before falling at the preliminary quarter-final hurdle. And despite not being fancied by some to emerge from a group containing Turloughmore and Castlegar this term, they advanced unbeaten without showing their full hand.

And they set the tone for this encounter just two minutes into proceedings. Thomas Monaghan opened the scoring before Adam Clarke added a second 60 seconds later.

Clarke’s reputation is rising rapidly in Craughwell and he was the star of the first half. He made it 0-3 to 0-0 on six minutes before Brian Molloy got Kilnadeema/Leitrim off the mark.

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

St Thomas’ in different class on difficult day for Kilconieron

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St Thomas' Conor Cooney securing possession against Niall Martin of Kilconieron during Sunday's senior hurling quarter-final at Duggan Park. Photos: Joe Keane.

St. Thomas’ 3-29

Kilconieron 1-9

Darren Kelly at Duggan Park

IT took the county champions time to get going, but St. Thomas’ stunning performance in ruthlessly dismissing the challenge of Kilconieron showed that they are still the team to beat in the senior hurling championship.

The four-in-a-row chasing title holders rifled in goals from Conor Cooney, Darragh Burke and Eanna Burke to give a master class, and highlight the difference between contesting Galway’s top tier prizes and picking up intermediate glory.

But before all that, we saw the unity in sport as a free flowing senior hurling championship quarter-final was halted in its tracks.  A nasty injury to Kilconieron corner back Martin Ryan raised alarm bells immediately – even St. Thomas’ players called for help as attention diverted from hurling.

For over 15 minutes, supporters waited for the ambulance to arrive and bring the defender for attention. His team mates gave him a guard of honour – a freak fall ending his afternoon and season. Everyone, including his opponents, clapped him off the field.

It’s hard to know how this contest would have developed if it hadn’t suddenly stopped. Kilconieron led 1-3 to 0-1 after four minutes with David Mangan getting their goal, but St. Thomas’ were already finding their rhythm and didn’t look back when play reconvened on 27 minutes.

Many pundits felt this was the most clear-cut of the weekend’s four quarter-final encounters to predict, but Kilconieron were determined to keep everyone guessing as they opened the scoring inside 40 seconds thanks to Conor Caulfield raiding down the right.

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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