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Craughwell slight favourites for intriguing hurling showdown against Sarsfields

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Sarsfields Alan Ward (left) and Craughwell centre back Adrian Cullinane who will be key players for their respective clubs in Sunday's county final at Kenny Park.

IF someone had predicted last April that Sarsfields and Craughwell would be contesting this year’s county senior hurling final, they’d have been laughed out of town, but now in the fading light of November the curious unpredictability of sport has brought about this unexpected conclusion to the championship.

Two country teams teeming with skilled stickmen should make for a gripping encounter at Kenny Park, Athenry on Sunday (2.30) – confidence won’t be lacking in either camp after big scalps were claimed in the semi-final battles.

Craughwell’s 1-20 to 0-22 victory over St. Thomas’ on the last Sunday of October set the scene for a day of shocks in Athenry, with Sarsfields overcoming a nervy start to ward off the challenge of holders and favourites Gort by 0-21 to 0-17.

There was though nothing fluky about either success and although placed balls made up large chunks of both scorelines, the forward panache of Craughwell and Sarsfields was one of the abiding memories from the semi-final double bill.

The hunger barometers in either camp could not be reading any higher. Craughwell have to go back to the start of The Economic War in 1932 for their last county final appearance, while it’s now 17 years since Sarsfields last Galway success in 1997 when they beat Clarinbridge.

Sarsfields were the dream club team of the 1990s, being the first Galway club to win back-to-back All-Ireland titles in ’93 and ’94, but as current selector Francis Madden puts it: “This team want to leave their own mark.”

“The ‘90s was a wonderful era for Sarsfields but we have a team now that want to make their own bit of history. We haven’t made the knock-out stages of the championship since 2005 so I suppose, a bit like Craughwell, this is a big opportunity for us,” said Francis Madden.

Injury though has dealt a cruel blow to Sarsfields with the loss of influential midfielder Thomas Spellman with a cruciate injury that he suffered in the second half of their semi-final victory against Gort.

“The loss of Thomas is a big blow to the team but also to himself personally. The injury was only confirmed with the scan on the Friday after the match and it was awful news for him but now we just have to get on with it.

“All year we’ve had a lot of injury problems – we’ve used 24 players so far in the championship – and we have a lot of players pushing to get into the starting fifteen,” said Madden.

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

CITY TRIBUNE

United boss Caulfield not happy with recent decisions going against his team

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Galway United manager John Caulfield: seeking a fairer deal from officials.

JOHN Caulfield has called for better officiating in games as the title race enters its final run-in, saying his side has been the victim of some marginal decisions in games against the top sides this season.

Speaking ahead of the visit of Bray Wanderers to Eamonn Deacy Park this Friday (7.45pm), the United manager said the big decisions in games against the other sides in the top three – Cork City and Waterford – have gone against United this season, and he says the repercussions of those ‘bad’ decisions are only felt by the managers and players.

“It is disappointing, there have been a number of decision in big games that have gone against us, I suppose you could call them controversial, tight decisions,” he said in the aftermath of last Friday’s 2-1 defeat away to Waterford FC, in which Conor McCormack was sent off, and Waterford were awarded two penalties, the second of which they converted nine minutes from time for a 2-1 win.

“You need strong decisions being made and we had two big decisions, major decisions, go against us. Unfortunately, it is the manager that take the hits rather than action being taken in the proper channels and that is disappointing,” he said.

He has a point to a degree: Wilson Waweru was sent off in United’s first game of the season when picking up two yellow cards in the 1-0 win away to Cork City, with the second booking in particular looking unfair on the United man.

Another trip to Turners Cross in July saw another red card, with Ed McCarthy getting his marching orders in the 16th minute for a trip on Cian Bargary, who was breaking on a counter-attack. Despite the foul taking place inside the City half, and both Conor O’Keeffe and Conor McCormack covering inside, Wexford referee Sean Grant decided on a red card.

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

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CITY TRIBUNE

Moycullen lift the tempo on resumption in forging clear

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Moycullen's Owen Gallagher comes under pressure from Eric Lee of Oughterard during Sunday's Senior Football Championship clash at Pearse Stadium. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

Moycullen 1-17

Oughterard 0-14

Eanna O’Reilly at Pearse Stadium

MOYCULLEN recorded their second win of the senior championship on Sunday against local rivals Oughterard at Pearse Stadium, with a powerful spell after half time seeing them pull away decisively.

After a competitive first half finished with the sides tied at 0-7 apiece, few would have expected such a clear margin between them at the conclusion. However, the 2020 champions simply blitzed their opponents after the interval, scoring an unanswered 1-6 to take control of the contest.

Oughterard were much improved from their opening round defeat to Corofin, matching Moycullen throughout the first half and playing a much more positive brand of football. Once their opponents went into top gear after half time however, Alan Murphy’s side were thoroughly outclassed.

Oughterard had a goal chance inside the opening minute, when Enda Tierney was put through, only to blast narrowly over the bar. Moycullen responded with three consecutive points, coming from Conor Bohan, Owen Gallagher, and Dessie Conneely, all of which were high quality scores.

The contest soon swung in the opposite direction, with Oughterard dominating the next ten minutes. Ryan Monaghan got their second point, when he made a strong run from the left wing and hand-passed over. Cian Monaghan and Niall Lee added points in a two minute spell, to put Oughterard back in front by the 16th minute.

For more, read this week’s Galway City 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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CITY TRIBUNE

United contribute to their own downfall against Waterford

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Galway United’s Conor McCormack whose second half dismissal contributed to their First Division defeat against Waterford FC in the RSC on Friday night.

Waterford FC 2

Galway United 1

IT was a calamitous night for Galway United in the RSC on Friday, with John Caulfield’s side slipping to a deserved defeat on a night two key players – Conor McCormack and Stephen Walsh – both picked up suspensions.

Crucially, however, while they were fully punished in terms of the game, their title challenge is still very much alive after league leaders Cork City fell to a shock defeat at home to Treaty United on Friday, and followed it up with a scoreless draw at home to Waterford in a refixed game on Monday night.

That leaves the Leesiders four points ahead of United – and seven clear of a Waterford side that might just have snuck back into the title race – with seven games remaining, so while there is huge frustration at both United’s display on Friday, and the failure to capitalise on the slip-up by City, the title race is still very much alive.

It was all so different in the 12th minute of Friday’s game when, just as word had filtered through that Treaty United had taken a shock lead against Cork City, United hit the front with yet another goal from Stephen Walsh.

Walsh – who many forget started life at United as a striker way back in 2010 – got on the end of a Rob Manley flick from an Ed McCarthy cross to fire home his 16th goal of the season from close range, and at that stage, all seemed right with the world.

It had been coming, as United had their hosts pinned inside their own half for those opening 12 minutes of play, but the tone of the night soon changed.

The goal proved too much for some in the away section of the ground: one United fan ran onto the running track surrounding the pitch in an attempt to join Walsh in on the goal celebrations, and was promptly ejected from the ground.

For more, read this week’s Galway City 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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