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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.

CITY TRIBUNE

O’Keeffe says season’s goal of winning promotion remains very much in United’s sights

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Conor O’Keeffe in action against Cobh Ramblers FC earlier this season. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

Galway United full-back Conor O’Keeffe insists there is no talk in the camp about the upcoming promotion play-offs, with all the focus each week being on the next game up for the side rather than the battle to join champions-elect Shelbourne in the top-flight next season.

A scoreless draw at home to Treaty United last weekend, coupled with a 2-0 win for Shelbourne away to Cork City, means the Dublin side has moved 10 points ahead of United at the top of the table with five games remaining.

Having lost just once all season – a defeat which was inflicted by United – the Tolka Park side are unlikely to let that 10-point lead slip, meaning that United’s hopes of promotion will rest with the play-offs.

O’Keeffe, who turns 28 on Sunday, says that promotion remains the goal of the squad, and that is the focus, not on the route that will be needed to secure that.

“We are taking things one game at a time, if you look beyond that, you forget to do that’s in front of you, so we are not even looking at the playoffs, you have to show up for each game.

“You have to take it just game by game, if you look farther ahead, you get a little carried away and you lose focus, and you just have to keep going.

“We just need to finish as high up the table as we can, anything can happen, it is a funny game at times, football, we have just got to believe – if you don’t believe there is no point, our goal is to get promoted and we still believe we can do that,” O’Keeffe says.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Favourites all advance with ease in the FAI Junior Cup

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Athenry's Seán O'Callaghan heads in his side's second goal despite the best efforts of Paddy Gannon and Shane Trill. Photo: Kennedy-Beirne/Eirefoto.

Soccer Wrap with Mike Rafferty

It might only have been the preliminary round of the FAI Junior Cup, but for certain teams with ambitions, it was hopefully the start of a long trail towards ultimate success, and the four fancied sides all advanced from their games with various degrees of comfort last weekend.

In the only all Premier Division clash, James Ryan secured the match winner as West United saw off St Bernard’s 1-0 in South Park. It was Ryan again who went closest to a second, but his effort on this occasion was thwarted by the woodwork. The victory sets them up for a First Round contest against Tuam Celtic on the last weekend of the month.

Hibernians were 3-2 winners over Dynamo Blues in Bohermore as Shane Hulgraine, Nathan Ward (striker) and an own goal were enough to see off the Tuam side for whom Alex Schmitt scored twice.

Scoreless at the break, Colga did all the damage against Bohemians on the resumption as they ran out 4-0 winners with Neil Greaney (3) and Colm McDonagh sharing the goals – Colga and Hibernians meet in the next round.

As to be expected Athenry were the most comfortable winners of the day as they defeated Renmore 6-0 with three goals coming in each-half. New central defender, Sean O’Callaghan, scored his first goals for the club as he notched a brace, while Adam Duffy, Declan Cullen, Colm O’Donovan and Garvan Broughall were also all on the mark as they set up a neighbourly contest with Corofin United.

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.

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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

Galway United nearly there but scope for improvement

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Galway United's Joe Gorman on the ball against Kieran Hanlon of Treaty United FC during Friday night's First Division tie at Eamonn Deacy Park. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

Galway United 0

Treaty United 0

A contest between two evenly-matched teams finished in stalemate on Friday night, nudging both sides closer to the play-offs, but leaving neither in doubt that major improvement is needed if they are to escape the doldrums of the First Division.

United shaded things in the first-half, with the visitors being the marginally better side for much of the second until they were reduced to 10 men with the dismissal of former United man, Marc Ludden.

Already providing a stubborn and frustrating resistance to their hosts, Treaty dug in even further following that 73rd minute red card, and with United struggling to find their mojo of late, the game petered out into that predictable scoreless draw.

The league takes another break this weekend with the quarter-finals of the FAI Cup taking centre stage, giving the United camp some additional time to find that spark that has been missing for the past three games following that stirring 3-1 win over Shelbourne in mid-August.

With free-scoring UCD up next for United, that additional time needs to be well spent for, while United are almost assured of the play-offs, they have serious work to do to if they are to take confidence and momentum into those play-offs, and the visit of the Students to the Dyke Road on Friday week will really test the home side.

John Caulfield made two changes to the team which beat Cabinteely the previous week, with Luke Dennison coming in for the suspended Conor Kearns in goals, while Stephen Walsh replaced Alex Murphy at left-back.

The game was preceded by a thunderous minute’s applause from both home and away fans for the late Sam Oji, a man who graced the jersey of both Galway United and of Treaty United’s predecessor, Limerick FC, who died suddenly last month from cancer at the age of just 35.

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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