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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.

CITY TRIBUNE

Murtagh and Keogh edge closer to fulfilling their Olympic dreams

John McIntyre

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The Irish women's four of Emily Hegarty, Fiona Murtagh, Eimear Lambe and Aifric Keogh winning their heat at the European Rowing Championships in Italy last Friday.

AS the crow flies, Fiona Murtagh and Aifric Keogh were reared on the west wing of Galway city about six miles from each other.

Due to a three-year gap in their ages, their club and university rowing careers didn’t overlap, but now the Galway pair are an integral part of an Irish Women’s Four which is on the brink of qualification for this year’s Tokyo Olympics.

Murtagh from Moycullen and Keogh from Na Forbacha, together with Eimear Lambe and Emily Hegarty, have next month’s Olympic qualifying regatta in Lucerne in their sights after the crew’s spectacular effort in the European Championships over the weekend.

The Irish four came within half a second of claiming gold at the expense of reigning champions, the Netherlands, with a powerful late surge that saw them overhaul Great Britain for silver medal glory.

You’d imagine that now being the second highest rated in Europe would automatically qualify the Irish crew for Tokyo, but that’s not how rowing works and all hinges on the outcome in Lucerne in May.

The six A finalists from the World Championships in 2019 automatically won their passage to the Olympic Games, with Ireland and China also expected to get through when they lined up for the B final held in Linz, Austria.

Ireland and China were in the favoured middle lanes based on times posted already in the championships, but a strong crosswind had a disproportionate impact on their performance, allowing the more sheltered boats of Great Britain and Canada to clinch the two remaining Olympic qualifying places.

Keogh was on that Irish crew, with fellow Galwegian Murtagh stepping up to international level in the interim. Though both were delighted and proud of their silver medal winning performance on Sunday, they are already focused on next month’s date with destiny.

The Irish women will remain in Italy to continue their preparations for Lucerne and when speaking to the Connacht Tribune on Monday, Aifric and Fiona wanted to articulate their appreciation for all the messages of congratulations they have received since winning European silver.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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CITY TRIBUNE

United are ‘bulling to go’ after additional week off

Keith Kelly

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The CEO of the Bons Secours Hospital, Gerry Burke (centre) pictured with United manager, John Caulfield; and Galway United commercial manager, Francis Kelly, as he announced an extension of the partnership deal which sees the Bons continue to be the club’s official healthcare partner for the 2021 season. The partnership will continue to provide Galway United FC with access to the state-of-the-art facilities and resources at the hospital.

The frustration felt by the Galway United squad at making what turned out to be an unnecessary trip to Dublin for last Friday’s league game with Cabinteely pales in comparison to the frustration felt by the players at not getting the chance to get the previous weekend’s game against Athlone Town out of their system.

United were beyond bad in that game in the Midlands, and were lucky to only be on the receiving end of a 3-1 defeat. John Caulfield described the first-half performance in particular as the worst of his reign, and vowed there would not be a repeat.

The United manager says his players had worked hard in training and were “bulling to get going” last Friday, but he says that sense of urgency will simply transfer to his side for this evening’s visit of the league’s newest side, Treaty United, to Eamonn Deacy Park (7.45pm).

“I suppose it was good to get another week under our belts, especially for the lads who had been struggling with knocks, but to be honest with you, the lads were bulling to get going last weekend to get that Athlone performance out of their system.

“We spoke honestly in the week after that game and we were ready to get that performance out of our system. We had trained well, so the lads were disappointed not to have a game last weekend, but it gives other fellas an extra week,” Caulfield told City Sport this week.

That weekend off has given the likes of Killian Brouder, Padraic Cunningham, Conor O’Keeffe and Caoilfhionn O’Dea additional time to recover from knocks, though Caulfield says the latter two in particular are a doubt for tonight.

It has also given Ronan Manning an extra week of recovery from an injury that has seen him yet to make an appearance for United in either preseason or the league since his return to the club from Athlone Town in December, though Caulfield says the playmaker is not far from a return.

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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CITY TRIBUNE

Utd hope to sign off a strange week by toppling Treaty men

Keith Kelly

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Galway United’s Stephen Walsh who will be hoping the Tribesmen make home advantage pay against Treaty United at Eamonn Deacy Park on Friday night.

GALWAY United will go looking for their first win of the season on the pitch this Friday when they welcome the league’s newest club, Treaty United, to Eamonn Deacy Park (7.45pm), having apparently opened their account in the ‘W’ column last Friday against the league’s second newest club without kicking a ball either in anger or pleasure.

United are expected to be awarded the three points for last Friday’s scheduled game against Cabinteely in Dublin, a tie which was called off by the the home side just over two hours before kick-off due to a case of Covid-19 in their camp.

The travelling United party had already made its way to Dublin – in two buses in order to comply with social distancing – and had just finished their prematch meal and were about to depart their stop-off point, a hotel in Leopardstown, when word came through that the game was off.

It subsequently emerged that there were rumours flying around Dublin all week that the game was likely to be called off as, it was claimed, a number of players at Cabinteely were deemed close contacts of a confirmed Covid-19 case at the club.

Some of those rumours had travelled down the M6 to reach Galway, but United prepared as normal for the game, and were understandably hugely frustrated at having gone to the expense and effort to travel to Dublin in two separate groups, only to have a game that was apparently under threat for much of the week called off at such a late stage

“Following discussions with the HSE around a positive Covid-19 case at the club, Cabinteely FC have informed the League of Ireland that they are unable to field a team for the scheduled SSE Airtricity First Division fixture against Galway United,” read a statement issued by the FAI at 5.41pm last Friday.

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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