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Corofin have the pace and teamwork to topple champions St. Vincent’s

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Corofin defender Kieran McGrath whose team face the ultimate test against reigning champions St. Vincent's in Saturday's All-Ireland Club football semii-final in Tullamore.

THERE’S a longing out Corofin way and it’s one that hasn’t gone away for the past 17 years. Football blood is pumped straight from the heart in places like Cummer, Ballinderry and Belclare and they all badly want to add another club title to their sole success of 1998.

That victory in the ’98 final against Dublin side Erin’s Isle is, rather surprisingly, Corofin’s only appearance in a club decider – their problem game in the series over recent years has been in the All-Ireland semi-final.

Four times over the past 23 years, Corofin have lost out at the penultimate stage of the competition: to Dr. Crokes in 1992; Laune Rangers in 1996, Kilmacud Crokes in 2009 and St. Gall’s in 2010.

That’s a trend that Corofin will want to put a stop to on Saturday in Tullamore’s O’Connor Park (2.0) but they do face one huge task in attempting to dethrone reigning All-Ireland champions, St. Vincent’s of Dublin, a team that last year blew the final challenge of Castlebar Mitchels out of the water on a 4-12 to 2-11 scoreline.

With Corofin having stormed through Galway and Connacht in 2014, and with St. Vincent’s doing likewise in Leinster, then it surely is the case of the unstoppable force versus the immovable object – it really is difficult to figure out, who or what, will give way first.

Corofin will be hoping that they have added a level of maturity and calmness to their game after being desperately disappointed to lose out to Castlebar Mitchels in last season’s Connacht club championship. Since then though, they seem to be a far leaner and meaner footballing machine.

There are many students of the game who believe that both St. Vincent’s and Corofin could hack it with most inter-county teams across the country, such is the depth of talent coming through from their under-age ranks – for the Galway and Connacht champions, getting the balance right in the starting fifteen could be a key issue.

Corofin manager, Stephen Rochford, reports a clean bill of health for Saturday’s tie and admits that some tough calls will have to be made when he sits down with his selectors to pick the team.

“We have an extended panel of 38 players in training and the effort from everyone has been absolutely fantastic. Team selection will not be an easy task with everyone available but I suppose that’s a good problem to have.

“Training has gone very well for us since we took a short break around the Christmas. The lads have trained well, we’ve played a couple of challenges, but I’m sure that the same message is coming out of Vincent’s. It really is down to who delivers on the day,” said Rochford.

So, what’s the plan for St. Vincent’s and for containing one Diarmuid Connolly, who ran riot in last year’s final against Castlebar, ending up with a 2-5 tally as well as being involved in many other scores.

“I suppose that Diarmuid Connolly is arguably the best footballer in the country at present but if we decide to concentrate too much on one player, then Vincent’s have the variety of options in attack to make you pay.

“It will be very much a man-to-man operation in terms of marking players on Saturday, and while of course we have taken a good look at Vincent’s, we really do want to concentrate on our own game and our own strengths,” insisted Rochford.

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

CITY TRIBUNE

Young Mystics cast their spell over Limerick visitors

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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.

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CITY TRIBUNE

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

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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.

 

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CITY TRIBUNE

Connacht need the win for two very different reasons

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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.

 

 

 

 

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