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It’s do or die for Galway hurlers facing Tipperary

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Galway's top player Conor Cooney leaves Kilkenny's JJ Delaney trailing in his wake during last Saturday evening's Leinster hurling semi-final in Tullamore. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

GALWAY supporters will be hoping that there will be a kick in the county’s hurlers when they face Tipperary in the All-Ireland qualifiers in the Premier County’s own back yard of Semple Stadium, Thurles on Saturday (7pm).

In the wake of the Leinster SHC semi-final replay defeat to Kilkenny last weekend, the Galway set-up – and in particular, captain Joe Canning – has come for heavy criticism in some quarters and, consequently, you would expect the Tribesmen to mount a defence of some sorts.

To be fair to Canning, who didn’t the influence on the replay as he had on the drawn game, it beggars belief that a player of amateur status should be singled out and come in for the same volume of criticism that a highly paid Premiership player in England would.

In that respect, a headline in a national newspaper this week suggesting the talented Portumna sharpshooter was only capable of the “odd circus trick” was an insult to the player and, no doubt, hurtful to his family, to his club and to Galway hurling.

That Canning should be targeted in such a fashion and that the column was the work of former Galway manager Ger Loughnane simply rubs salt into the wounds. It warrants a response from the player himself, his Galway team-mates and, indeed, the county’s supporters.

Consequently, Saturday’s clash is not only about championship survival but it is also a test of the Galway squad’s unity – of their values and principles – and if ever there was a time to circle the wagons, then this is certainly it.

With no injuries to report, Cunningham says, despite Saturday’s defeat, the players are “raring to go” and he stresses there is still a great deal of positivity among the set-up. “It’s about hurling at that same level as we have done the last two days and giving that same level of performance,” he says.

“There was very little in it [against Kilkenny] in the two games – there was just a puck of the ball in it at one stage of the second half – and people have to know that.

“So, there is still huge positivity in the squad and we have played very good hurling both days. Of course, though, we are still looking for an improvement every day we go out,” adds the Galway manager.

That said, it remains to be seen what direction Cunningham and selectors Eugene Cloonan and Damien Curley will take the team when they announce the starting fifteen on Saturday. Overall, the defensive unit hurled quite well against the Cats given the quality of ball supplied to the Kilkenny forwards.

In that respect, there may be some surgery to the midfield and offensive lines, especially given only two forwards – Conor Cooney and Jason Flynn – found the target from play against Kilkenny.

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

Connacht Tribune

Loughrea are still on track for a fast return to top flight

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The Loughrea FC squad which defeated Mervue United B in the Championship at Fahy's Field on Sunday. Back row, left to right: Keith Bane, Manager, Kieran Bane, Alan McGrath, Thomas Hoban, Christian Dunham, Stephen McCormack, Michael Lynch, Aaron Crowe, Caimin Keena, David Kelly and Alfie Davies. Front row: Bruno Henrique, Marcus Vasconcelos, Jamie Daniels, Jefferson Querioz, Daire Crowe and Michael Hosty, Kitman.

By Mike Rafferty                      

RELEGATED from the top flight at the end of last season, Loughrea are making a serious effort to go straight back up and they maintained their advantage at the top of the Championship with a hard earned 2-0 away win over Mervue United B in Fahy’s Field on Sunday.

Though the City side might be stuck in the relegation zone with just one win, they certainly made this contest competitive and it was only after a scoreless opening half that Loughrea struck twice to win. 17-year-old Daire Crowe, along with his twin brother Aaron, who plays at left full, is one of the next generation youngsters making an impression with the side and it was striker Daire who opened their account with a fine finish.

A Mikie Lynch assist help set up the second for Thomas Hoban. Striker Bruno Henriques is into double figures in the scoring stakes for the season and Marcus Vasconcelos, who was denied by a post in the opening half, were a constant threat. Substitutes Alfie Davies and Kieran Bane made a big contribution on their introduction, while Christian Dunham was another of the younger brigade who played a significant part in this success. This Saturday, Loughrea host neighbours Craughwell United as they look to maintain their top spot in the table.

University of Galway maintained their second position following a 3-1 win over Colemanstown United in Dangan. Stephen Gilmore struck a hat trick for the students, while Jason Finn got the visitors’ lone reply. They now lie two points behind Loughrea, but enjoy a game in hand.

After slipping up against Loughrea the previous week, third placed Dynamo Blues got back to winning ways with a comfortable 3-1 home victory over Knocknacarra. Pete Finnerty struck for a hat trick for the Tuam side, while Eamonn O’Donnell got the lone reply for the City outfit.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Galway make statement by putting Dublin to the sword

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Galway’s Kate Geraghty is challenged by Dublin’s Caoimhe O’Connor during Sunday's Ladies Football National League tie at Tuam Stadium. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

Galway 1-13

Dublin 0-7

Ivan Smyth at Tuam Stadium

STATEMENT made! Galway flexed their muscles as they produced a terrific second half display to move top of the Ladies Football National League Division One table. After the game, the Galway camp stuck to the script in repeatedly emphasising that this was only the second game of the year, but it cannot be denied that the reigning Connacht champions are moving along nicely.

Galway led by two points at half time after an entertaining opening 30 minutes before they simply blew Dublin away with a ferocious second half display. With Louise Ward and Olivia Divilly sprung from the bench at half time, their impact was immediately apparent. Throw in Tracey Leonard’s introduction after 50 minutes and it becomes much easier to comprehend Galway’s rampant second half.

Leonard kicked two classy points, one off either foot, while Divilly was given the licence to roam around Tuam Stadium. Divilly slotted two frees as herself and the rest of the Kilkerrin/Clonberne contingent ensured Galway played at a much higher tempo. Dublin simply had no answer to the relentless pressure they faced in and out of possession.

With Nicola Ward and Megan Glynn both late call ups to the Galway starting 15, the winners were able to give more minutes to key personnel. Despite the pair’s first starts of the year, Galway looked set for a battle to the finish to maintain their winning start to the season.

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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Connacht Tribune

Galway set to mix it up for league clash with Wexford

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Galway’s Adrian Tuohey in action against Wexford’s Rory O’Connor during last year's National League encounter at Pearse Stadium. The teams renew rivalry in Wexford Park on Saturday evening.

THERE’S a local perception that Galway hurlers should nearly always be beating Wexford, but statistics – at least, in terms of championship clashes – beg to differ.

Prior to the Leinster final of 2017 which Galway won comfortably on a 0-29 to 1-17 scoreline, the Tribesmen had only recorded a solitary victory over Wexford in the counties’ previous eight summer tussles, with anothern one of those games ending in a draw.

There have been four championship battles between the counties since, with Galway coming out on top in both 2018 (1-23 to 0-17) and 2020 (1-27 to 0-17), but there was a costly draw at Pearse Stadium (0-16 to 0-16) in 2019; while last year’s round-robin tie also ended in stalemate (1-19 to 1-19) at Wexford Park. It leaves Galway’s overall championship record against Wexford as won four, lost six and drawn three.

None of this will carry much relevance ahead of the counties’ National League opening round clash in Wexford Park on Saturday (5pm) – a match which also doubles-up as the Walsh Cup final – but it does show that regardless of their contrasting reputations, Galway can rarely afford to take victory over Wexford for granted.

Much focus will centre on the personnel Henry Shefflin and his mentors send into battle for their first meaningful test of 2023 – a fixture which is reportedly set to attract a crowd of around 14,000, such is the lure of the new floodlights at Wexford Park.

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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