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Cunningham wants players to bottle the hurt

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Galway manager Anthony Cunningham who expects his team to 'fight like lions' against Tipperary in Saturday's All-Ireland hurling qualifier in Thurles.

GALWAY boss Anthony Cunningham wants his players to bottle the hurt from their Leinster SHC semi-final replay loss to Kilkenny and unleash it on Tipperary when they face the Premier County in the All-Ireland senior hurling qualifiers at Semple Stadium, Thurles on Saturday (7pm).

Following their 3-19 to 1-17 defeat to Brian Cody’s Cats, it is back to the drawing board for Cunningham and his selectors, Eugene Cloonan and Damien Curley,and the St. Thomas’ native doesn’t rule out changes to the starting fifteen for this weekend’s encounter.

“When you are playing week after week, that is why you carry a panel. That is why you play loads of players during the league. There are loads of guys who are fit to be playing and to come into the team. So, we would be happy with that definitely. We have given huge experience to a lot of players.”

At any rate, a ‘do or die’ clash against Tipperary in the wake of the Kilkenny defeat is a daunting task for the Westerners and this is not lost on Cunningham. “Tipperary could have been playing in a Munster final bar a couple of minutes against Limerick. They were very, very close and they are a top-class team.

“So, it is going to be some battle there [in Thurles] on Saturday evening. We have huge respect for Tipperary but we also have huge confidence in our own ability. I think we showed a lot of snippets there of very good hurling during that match [against Kilkenny],” insisted the Galway manager.

Indeed, Cunningham believes the best way to purge last weekend’s defeat is to return to championship action as soon as possible and not be left to ponder on it for two or three weeks. “We are sharp now and you can’t beat sharpness and pace really and the competitive nature of matches.

“We have two great battles under our belt with Kilkenny. It is a huge challenge [to face Tipperary in Semple Stadium] but we are going to be well up for it and we are going to be there fighting like lions the next day.”

“Look it, any time you are still in the championship, it is brilliant. We are going to regroup during the week and get back to Thurles on Saturday evening. We are fighting [to stay in the championship], the same as Tipperary, so it is going to be a brilliant match. No doubt about that.”

That said, Galway will need to improve and, in the case of their offensive lines, quite dramatically. With a scoring return from their three championship games against Laois and Kilkenny (draw and replay) of just 60% – in contrast to a return of 72% over the last two games for Kilkenny – Galway have work to do.

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

Connacht Tribune

Strong third quarter proves the key to Galway’s victory

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Galway’s Niamh Hanniffy on the ball against Clare’s Sinead Conlon during Saturday's All-Ireland senior camogie championship group tie at Kenny Park. Photos: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

Galway 2-12

Clare 2-6

Eanna O’Reilly at Kenny Park

THE Galway senior camogie team made it two wins from two in their championship campaign, overcoming a hard-working Clare side on a hot afternoon in Kenny Park last Saturday.

A strong third quarter performance from Cathal Murray’s side, during which they outscored their opponents by 2-3 to 0-1, saw Galway take control of the contest. Although they conceded two late goals to the visitors, the Tribeswomen finished strongly with the last three points of the game to record a comfortable win.

Clare brought impressive physicality and work rate in the first half, and it was clear that the home side weren’t going to have it all their own way. The visitors tackled hard and closed down space for the Tribeswomen, particularly in the opening half, forcing Galway to roll up their sleeves and dig in. Aoife Donohue opened the scoring in the fourth minute, after a good attacking move involving the McGrath sisters.

The next ten minutes were quite scrappy, with both sides trying to take a foothold in a congested middle third. Chloe Morey pointed two frees for the Banner to put them ahead in the 13th minute, but Galway replied immediately at the other end. Some good work from Siobhán McGrath saw her win possession under pressure and play a pass to Catherine Finnerty, who pointed impressively.

Siobhán McGrath edged Galway ahead with a pointed free, before Morey equalised with her third to leave the sides at 0-3 apiece at the water break. Clare were competing very well but spurned some good point scoring opportunities in the first quarter. They went ahead however, with a good point from Morey, before Niamh McGrath pointed a free from the right wing to equalise. Niamh Kilkenny then got a terrific score, after making a great block on Clare’s Róisín McMahon, to put the home side in front by the minimum at half time.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Tribesmen only come to life when game done and dusted

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Galway's Jason Flynn shoots to the net for his first goal in the closing stages of Saturday's All-Ireland hurling qualifier in Thurles. Photo: Harry Murphy/Sportsfile.

Waterford 1-30

Galway 3-20

IN a way, it might have been better if Galway hadn’t tantalisingly teased us about how things could have worked out so differently during their unexpected final quarter resurgence in this spell-binding All-Ireland hurling qualifier at Semple Stadium, Thurles on Sunday.

Nobody wants to see their team beaten out the gate, but if that had been the Tribesmen’s fate – and for three quarters of the game it looked the only outcome – the result would have been more palatable to digest on the basis that the men in maroon just ran into a vastly superior force on the day.

Instead, Galway belatedly showed what they had in their locker in astonishingly reducing a yawning 16-point deficit to just three points by the 70th minute. They had all the momentum as 14-man Waterford were clinging on for dear life.

Nearly seven minutes of injury-time remained on the clock and the 4,400 sundrenched attendance stood on the brink of witnessing the greatest comeback in the history of inter-county hurling.

But typical of the inconsistency which continues to scourge Galway at the top level, their grandstand finish stalled and, significantly, Waterford somehow found the necessary reserves of stamina and character to land four of the last five scores.

On the balance of play, any outcome other than a Waterford victory would have been a travesty. They hurled Galway off the park for 55 minutes with their searing pace and support lines of running leaving their opponents chasing shadows.

A measure of Waterford’s dominance in the opening half, for instance, was that their half-back line of Calum Lyons, Shane Bennett and Kieran Bennett scored more from play than the entire Galway forward sector.

All over the field, Waterford’s hard running saw them carve open their opponents at will. Galway had no answers and not even their most die-hard supporter could argue against the merits of the Deise’s interval lead of a dozen points, 1-18 to 0-9.

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.

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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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Connacht Tribune

Galway a beaten docket long before the end at Croke Park

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Galway's Johnny Heaney comes under pressure from Oisín Mullen of Mayo during Sunday's Connacht Football Final at Croke Park. Photo: Harry Murphy/Sportsfile.

By Pádraic Ó Ciardha

THERE are games where the margin on the scoreboard doesn’t reflect the true gap between the sides and last Sunday’s Connacht Football Final certainly felt like one of them. With 66 minutes on the clock, Galway trailed Mayo by just two points, a kick of the ball between them, but in reality, the Tribesmen looked a beaten docket long before then. On the scale of six point defeats, this one was a whopper.

In last year’s Connacht Final in Pearse Stadium, Galway recovered from a poor first half display to come within a point of Mayo. This year, Pádraic Joyce’s side threw away a strong position at half-time, five points to the good, with a capitulation as bad as any seen from the county in recent or not so recent memory. The post-mortem will be a long and difficult one for both players and management as they must wait until next spring for the chance to put things right.

In truth, that five point cushion at half-time papered over a lot of cracks in Galway’s first half performance. By their own manager’s account, Galway only reached 30 or 40 per cent of their potential in that first period. The problem was that those levels plummeted in the second half.

For their part, James Horan said after the game that there was no panic in the Mayo dressing room at half-time and, on reflection, their contentment was justified. Mayo had the majority of possession during the first half and were it not for some awful shooting, could have been much closer, or even level, at half-time.

Even Galway’s goals came thanks to, in large parts, Mayo switching off, although Shane Walsh still deserves huge credit for his role in both. For Walsh’s goal in the 19th minute, Lee Keegan literally stood still as the Galway captain blazed past him to pick up the rebound from Paul Conroy’s shot before blasting past Rob Hennelly in goal.

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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