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Derby win sees Sky Blues remaining in pole position

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Galwegians Aidan Moynihan on the break against Buccaneers in last Friday's Division 1b encounter at Crowley Park. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

THE Galwegians march continues after their vitally important victory over Connacht rivals Buccaneers under lights at Crowley Park on Friday night. The top four in Division 1b of the Ulster Bank League all won last weekend making for a real log jam at the top of the table.

For the Sky Blues, the improvement in recent weeks has been a huge boost, Friday’s 12-6 win over Buccaneers was their second on the bounce and while it was far from an error free top notch display, in tough conditions, they dominated possession and territory and showed good patience after going 50 minutes without a score. The two tries then came quickly and they saw it out comfortably.

Matt Brown’s side are top of the pile on 47 points leading by one point from Garryowen with Ballymena and Dublin University occupying third on 44 points. There are five rounds remaining and they have two games at the end of Feburary starting on the 20th away to Ballymena and then at home to Corinthians in the Galway derby on the following Friday.

The challenge for Corinthians is simply survival at this stage and a losing bonus point in a loss away to Shannon at the weekend at least helped them get off the bottom of the table. They face two Connacht derbies at the end of this month, starting at home to Buccaneers and then away to Galwegians. Their season might well be defined by the result in those two games.

Junior Cup

On a day of tension, gripping rugby and upsets, the reigning champions Galwegians were knocked out while the students of NUIG caused a major upset in the last 16 round of the Heineken Connacht Junior Cup.

Momentum paid off for both NUIG and Ballinrobe on Sunday. Each won their preliminary round games seven days previously and they each took that good away form into Sunday.

In Loughrea, NUIG pulled off a shock result in ousting the 2011 finalists with a superb second half display where they broke the deadlock with two converted tries in a 14-0 win that puts them into the last eight.

Meanwhile in Creggs, the home side’s brilliant run of form came to an end as Ballinrobe followed on from their superb win over Tuam last week with another battling display on their travels to win 14-9. Peter Cosgrove’s first half try proved the difference in a captivating cup tie.

For Galwegians, the momentum of last year was gone on Sunday and they fell to strong second half performance from home side Ballina who won 27-10, scoring three tries without reply during an impressive second half.

A little further south but in the same county, rivals Castlebar and Ballyhaunis played out a hard hitting encounter where the home side defended superbly in a 15-3 win.

The clash of contenders Buccaneers and Monivea was postponed due to a frozen pitch in Athlone while Connemara underlined their title credentials with a big second half display in Ballinasloe, winning 18-7 having trailed at half time. Peter O’Toole and Jack Vaughan got the tries.

Last year’s beaten finalists Westport are also through to the quarter finals after a scrappy away victory at OLBC, while Corinthians are safely into the last eight thanks to a big win in Headford against Corrib.

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

CITY TRIBUNE

City sides will fancy chances of advancing as champions face Corofin

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Bearna's James Kennedy hits the deck in Ballinasloe on Tuesday as Annaghdown's Frankie Burke and Darragh Meehan try to chase down possession. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

The battle for this year’s county Senior Gaelic football club title looks to be wide open after the quarter-final draw was made this week following the delayed conclusion of the group stages on Tuesday night.

Salthill/Knocknacarra, who finished second in group 2, have been handed a last eight tie with a Tuam Stars side that finished third in group 1; while St Michael’s, who topped Group 3, will face an Annaghdown side that nabbed the final quarter-final spot in dramatic fashion on Tuesday night.

They went into their game with Bearna knowing they needed to win by a minimum of 12points to pip Milltown to the final qualifying spot as the second best of the teams that finished third in the group stages.

They looked to be coming up just short until they were awarded a late free, which goalkeeper James Healy converted, to snatch that remaining quarter-final slot on socring difference form Milltown.

The 2020 champions, Moycullen, will take on Claregalway in the last eight; while the pick of the ties is undoubtedly the clash of defending champions, Mountbellew/Moylough, with a Corofin side that was denied the five-in-a-row by Moycullen two years ago.

At the other end of the equation, St James’ are in a relegation battle, and face a clash with An Spidéal in the preliminary play-offs. A win will secure their senior status for another year, but a defeat will see them join Oughterard, An Cheathru Rua, and the losers of the other preliminary play-off between Caherlistrane and Monivea/Abbey in a round robin league, with the bottom two sides in those play-offs dropping to the intermediate ranks next year.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Play-offs dress rehearsal facing Utd against Treaty

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Former Galway United player Enda Curran celebrates his recent hat-trick for Treaty United in their FAI Cup quarter-final win over UCD. The in-form Mervue native will be facing the Tribesmen in a First Division clash on Friday.

GALWAY United head to Limerick this Friday evening for what is looking like a dress rehearsal for the end-of-season play-offs as they take on Treaty United in the Markets Field (7.45pm).

This is United’s game-in-hand over league leaders, Cork City, and a win will see them close the gap on the Leesiders to four points with three games remaining, and while a win would give the slightest of hopes of a late challenge for league honours, it is more likely to serve as a further boost to confidence ahead of the protracted play-off series that kicks-off at the end of next month.

United need to win their final four games to have any hope of snatching the title, and given the goal difference between the sides, they also need to hope that City don’t pick up more than four points from their last three games, if they are to finish top of the pile.

United’s last three games after this weekend are at home to Athlone, away to Wexford, and home to Longford Town; while City are home to Wexford, away to Athlone, and home to Bray, the easier of the two run-ins, so for United it is all about building momentum ahead of the play-offs.

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

Late points from Burke and Wall grab draw for Corofin

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Tuam Stars' Paul Collins tries to halt Ronan Steede of Corofin in his tracks during Sunday's Senior Football Group 1 encounter at Tuam Stadium. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

Corofin 0-16

Tuam Stars 0-16

Eanna O’Reilly at Tuam Stadium

A late point from Corofin’s Ian Burke denied Tuam Stars a notable win over their close neighbours in an entertaining contest at Tuam Stadium on Sunday afternoon. In a closely fought contest, the Stars appeared to have done enough with two late points from Brian Mannion putting them ahead by 0-16 to 0-14 in the dying minutes of the second half.

In typically composed fashion however, Corofin refused to panic and used all of their experience to engineer two late scores, the first from Dylan Wall, before Burke held his nerve to convert a mark to give Corofin a share of the spoils.

The result means that both sides qualified for the quarter finals, after both finished the group stages with eight points. Corofin were drawn against defending champions Mountbellew/Moylough in a mouth-watering tie, while Tuam Stars will face Salthill/Knocknacara in another intriguing clash.

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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