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Craughwell hang on as city rivals count cost of late miss

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Craughwell's Jamie Ryan is chased by Liam Mellows John Kenny during Saturday's senior hurling quarter-final at Kenny Park. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

Craughwell 0-21

Liam Mellows 2-14

WATCHING Jack Hastings and Enda Fallon trying to console him after the final whistle, it was hard not to feel sympathy for Tadhg Haran.

He’d scored 0-11 for Liam Mellows, and the last minute free he was presented with would have seen him finish level for the day with the 0-12 that Niall Healy shot for Craughwell. Slightly to the right of the posts at the scoreboard end of Kenny Park, just outside the ’21, Haran would normally put such a free over 99 times out of a 100. But on Saturday, he missed the chance to draw the quarter-final for Mellows.

Haran is a fine hurler, and you’d hope he comes back better for the experience. But that’s pressure, and that’s how cruel sport can be at times. He got all seven of Mellows’ second half points to go with two early goals from Stephen Barrett, and an excellent point he’d scored from play drew the teams level 0-19 to 2-13 in the 58th minute.

That was the seventh time the teams were locked on the scoreboard in the half. Craughwell had been 2-17 to 2-10 winners when the clubs met in Group A of the Senior Championship on May 10, but it is never easy to beat a team twice in the same year.

Mellows put seven goals past Carnmore two weekends previous, and after coming out for the second period 0-10 to 0-7 in arrears, it was clear that they’d need to rattle the net a couple of times to make a county semi-final at their opponent’s expense. Craughwell had bossed the first half, but were rocked in the first five minutes upon the resumption by Barrett’s goals.

Barrett scythed his way through the Craughwell cover for the first, batting the sliotar under the legs of the advancing Aidan Ryan. For the second three minutes later in the 34th minute, Aonghus Callanan, Cathal Reilly and Adrian Morrissey were all involved in the move which ended with Barrett rounding Ryan and scoring. It put Mellows in front for the first time in the match, 2-7 to 0-12.

Aidan Ryan was booked for a slap of the hurl on Barrett for that goal, but 10 minutes later he redeemed himself. Callanan, quiet all game up to then, found himself bearing down on the Craughwell goal, but Ryan brilliantly dived to his left to keep out the effort from the Mellows captain. Incidentally, Haran was completely free on his own at the edge of the square to Callanan’s left.

Those are the small margins that sporting contests are often decided on though. After Haran had drawn the sides level for the final occasion, Niall Callanan and Jamie Ryan put Craughwell two ahead, and Ryan’s point was to be the clincher. The Craughwell wing-forward shot three overall, and it was Craughwell’s greater scoring spread in the forwards that was a deciding factor in the result.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

CITY TRIBUNE

Connacht swing into action against Cardiff in expanded league structure

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Injured scrum half Caolin Blade who will miss Connacht's opening game in the new United Rugby Championship away to Cardiff on Friday night.

By Rob Murphy

RUGBY is back this weekend as Connacht make their debut in a brand new expanded competition. The United Rugby Championship has replaced the old PRO14 with the top four South African sides joining the teams from Ireland Scotland, Wales and Italy in a  new look 16 team tournament.

Over the next seven months, Andy Friend’s men will play 18 games as they look to secure one of the eight play off places up for grabs.

On Friday Connacht will begin their campaign in Wales where they’ll take on Cardiff at the Arms Park (7:35) for an important opening day fixture. With a number of difficult inter-provincials tussles on the horizon, a good start is badly needed.

On Wednesday, Connacht Rugby announced that they were moving their October 23 fixture with Ulster to the Aviva Stadium to mark the lifting of restrictions throughout the country for crowds at live events. The stand alone fixture will be a huge opportunity for the organisation to showcase the provincial team to a wide audience and they are hoping that Connacht fans will travel east in big numbers to watch their side play in the national stadium.

It will be the second time in a little over a year that Connacht have played at the venue having faced the same opponents there last August at a time when crowds weren’t permitted, You have to go back to 1986 for the previous appearance at the Dublin 4 venue. Forgoing home advantage for a league fixture looks like a risk worth taking as the novel event should generate a lot of interest among rugby fans who have waited over 18 months to watch their side play live.

While there is scope for a full house in Wales this Friday, Connacht’s opening home fixture against the Bulls the following Friday and their clash with the Dragons in Galway and Munster in Limerick later in the month will all fall under the current fifty percent capacity restrictions in the Republic of Ireland, so this is why that the Ulster fixture in Dublin will be a watershed moment for the campaign.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Moran’s late fortuitous goal leaves Salthill men stunned

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Monivea-Abbey's Caelom Mulry gets to the ball ahead of Tom Considine of Salthill/Knocknacarra during Saturday's senior football championship tie at Kenny Park. Photos: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

Monivea-Abbey 1-10

Salthill-Knocknacarra 0-10

Gerard Mulreaney at Kenny Park

THEY say that fortune favours the brave, and that was certainly evident at a very wet Kenny Park, Athenry on Saturday afternoon

A brave performance from Monivea-Abbey, full of heart, grit and determination, saw them produce the shock of the weekend when they upset Salthill-Knocknacarra in a dramatic ending to this senior championship game.

Three points down at the second water break, Monivea-Abbey came storming back in the last quarter, scoring a goal and two points without reply to take the victory and give themselves an outside chance of reaching the quarter finals.

Both sides came into this must-win encounter on the back of opening round defeats, Monivea-Abbey losing to Oughterard while Salthill-Knocknacarra surprisingly came unstuck in their opener to Caherlistrane.

Salthill-Knocknacarra were first off the mark in the second minute when Robert Finnerty found Tomo Culhane who popped his effort over the bar.

Culhane then missed a golden opportunity to score the opening goal just a minute later. He was played in by the industrious John Maher, but the teeneger ended up rushing his shot, and the ball went agonisingly wide.

Monivea-Abbey, who were missing both Cillian McDaid and Cathal Cooley due to injury, hit back when Lee Kenny was fouled by William Finnerty and Brian Moran scored the resulting free kick.

Another goal chance went abegging for Salthill/Knocknacarra on nine minutes when centre-forward Evan Murphy ran in unopposed along the end line, but his shot was straight at Denis Farragher in the Monivea-Abbey goal.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

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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

Butler hopes fans will back move to switch home game

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Jarrad Butler looks on as Caolin Blade looks to break through the Ulster ranks in the PRO14 meeting between the sides in the Sportsground back in December. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

By JOHN FALLON

Connacht skipper Jarrad Butler said the players are looking forward to taking on Ulster at the Aviva Stadium next month when they hope to attract the biggest crowd to attend a rugby match in Ireland in over a year and a half.

With crowd restrictions due to be lifted by the Government just prior to the derby clash against Ulster on Saturday, 23 October, Connacht hope that a crowd of around 30,000 can be achieved for the fixture in the United Rugby Championship.

At present Connacht are restricted to crowds of around 3,000 at the Sportsground and even if all restrictions are lifted, the capacity of the stadium on College Road is limited to just over 8,000.

Coach Andy Friend and club captain Butler have given the decision their full backing, with Connacht consulting with their supporters’ club before deciding to switch the match to Dublin.

Connacht beat Ulster 26-20 behind closed doors there in August last year when competitive rugby restarted in the pandemic, and Butler said players were excited about going back there.

“It is different. We had success at the Aviva against Ulster last year and that was without fans. I think there is an excitement to go back there and, hopefully, be able to play there in front of a lot more Connacht fans than would probably be at the Sportsground.

“The Aviva is one of the best in the country and I think everyone is excited to get the opportunity to play there. The positives definitely outweigh the negatives playing there.

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.

 

Continue Reading

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