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Donnellan delivers in terrific win for battling Pearses

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Padraig Pearses Cyril Donnellan who was a big influence in their relegation final victory over Kinvara at Kenny Park last Saturday.

Padraig Pearses 0-14

Kinvara 1-9

A display full of determination and passion helped a jubilant Padraig Pearses to maintain their senior hurling status by edging out a Kinvara side that also battled to the end in a hard fought, do-or-die relegation encounter at Kenny Park last Saturday.

While the winners and their supporters were, understandably, celebrating at the finish the result sends the border club down to the intermediate grade for 2015 and is a huge blow to Kinvara, although they have many fine players who will fight tooth and nail next year when they try to regain their place in the upper tier.

It was a sad end to the campaign for Kinvara who didn’t enjoy much good luck in the current championship, but they can have few complaints about this result even though they never threw in the towel. They launched a series of late attacks in a bid to save the day, but they found a resolute Ballymacward-Gurteen combination in no mood to surrender.

Pearses, who looked faster and fitter, made some unforced errors from time to time but made up for them with hard running and tigerish tackling that often ended in Kinvara losing possession. John Raftery had his men really fired up for this crucial clash and they never wavered in their efforts to consolidate their place in the premier grade.

Some of the losing side in contrast showed a poor first touch, shot too many wides and made several mistakes, including clearances going straight to opposing players. A lucky goal at the three-quarter stage when they were hanging on gamely gave them a real lifeline as it brought them level at a stroke, but they were unable to build on it and only scored once after that.

Pearses promptly replied with a point and later added two more. The groundwork for this win was laid in the first half when the winners had a strong wind behind them as they built a 0-10 to 0-4 lead. The six-point advantage was badly needed as Kinvara came out for the second half in determined fashion and they shot three points in as many minutes to reduce the deficit to a goal and it was very much game on at that stage. Pearses, however, weathered the storm despite only scoring a solitary point in the third quarter.

A confident start had seen Pearses grab five of the first half dozen scores with Jimmy Gelston and Tomás Flannery in accurate form before young Conor Whelan, who again emphasised his great potential, got one at the other end. Kinvara were creating chances but they were unable to break down a strong Padraig Pearses rearguard where Anthony and Tomás Kenny and Padraic Raftery were in inspired form. In front of them their half-backs Richie Lally, Damien Wynne and Kerril Hardiman were also standing firm when danger threatened.

When Adrian Bellew and Cyril Donnellan, with a delightful point from out on the wing, widened the gap it was again Conor Whelan who replied for the lads in purple and gold after collecting a Shane Kavanagh free and he then converted a 65 to make it 0-5 to 0-3 midway through the first period. At that juncture it was looking good for Ollie Bergin’s charges, given the weather conditions, but they had a disappointing second quarter.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

CITY TRIBUNE

Connacht swing into action against Cardiff in expanded league structure

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Injured scrum half Caolin Blade who will miss Connacht's opening game in the new United Rugby Championship away to Cardiff on Friday night.

By Rob Murphy

RUGBY is back this weekend as Connacht make their debut in a brand new expanded competition. The United Rugby Championship has replaced the old PRO14 with the top four South African sides joining the teams from Ireland Scotland, Wales and Italy in a  new look 16 team tournament.

Over the next seven months, Andy Friend’s men will play 18 games as they look to secure one of the eight play off places up for grabs.

On Friday Connacht will begin their campaign in Wales where they’ll take on Cardiff at the Arms Park (7:35) for an important opening day fixture. With a number of difficult inter-provincials tussles on the horizon, a good start is badly needed.

On Wednesday, Connacht Rugby announced that they were moving their October 23 fixture with Ulster to the Aviva Stadium to mark the lifting of restrictions throughout the country for crowds at live events. The stand alone fixture will be a huge opportunity for the organisation to showcase the provincial team to a wide audience and they are hoping that Connacht fans will travel east in big numbers to watch their side play in the national stadium.

It will be the second time in a little over a year that Connacht have played at the venue having faced the same opponents there last August at a time when crowds weren’t permitted, You have to go back to 1986 for the previous appearance at the Dublin 4 venue. Forgoing home advantage for a league fixture looks like a risk worth taking as the novel event should generate a lot of interest among rugby fans who have waited over 18 months to watch their side play live.

While there is scope for a full house in Wales this Friday, Connacht’s opening home fixture against the Bulls the following Friday and their clash with the Dragons in Galway and Munster in Limerick later in the month will all fall under the current fifty percent capacity restrictions in the Republic of Ireland, so this is why that the Ulster fixture in Dublin will be a watershed moment for the campaign.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Moran’s late fortuitous goal leaves Salthill men stunned

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Monivea-Abbey's Caelom Mulry gets to the ball ahead of Tom Considine of Salthill/Knocknacarra during Saturday's senior football championship tie at Kenny Park. Photos: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

Monivea-Abbey 1-10

Salthill-Knocknacarra 0-10

Gerard Mulreaney at Kenny Park

THEY say that fortune favours the brave, and that was certainly evident at a very wet Kenny Park, Athenry on Saturday afternoon

A brave performance from Monivea-Abbey, full of heart, grit and determination, saw them produce the shock of the weekend when they upset Salthill-Knocknacarra in a dramatic ending to this senior championship game.

Three points down at the second water break, Monivea-Abbey came storming back in the last quarter, scoring a goal and two points without reply to take the victory and give themselves an outside chance of reaching the quarter finals.

Both sides came into this must-win encounter on the back of opening round defeats, Monivea-Abbey losing to Oughterard while Salthill-Knocknacarra surprisingly came unstuck in their opener to Caherlistrane.

Salthill-Knocknacarra were first off the mark in the second minute when Robert Finnerty found Tomo Culhane who popped his effort over the bar.

Culhane then missed a golden opportunity to score the opening goal just a minute later. He was played in by the industrious John Maher, but the teeneger ended up rushing his shot, and the ball went agonisingly wide.

Monivea-Abbey, who were missing both Cillian McDaid and Cathal Cooley due to injury, hit back when Lee Kenny was fouled by William Finnerty and Brian Moran scored the resulting free kick.

Another goal chance went abegging for Salthill/Knocknacarra on nine minutes when centre-forward Evan Murphy ran in unopposed along the end line, but his shot was straight at Denis Farragher in the Monivea-Abbey goal.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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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

Butler hopes fans will back move to switch home game

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Jarrad Butler looks on as Caolin Blade looks to break through the Ulster ranks in the PRO14 meeting between the sides in the Sportsground back in December. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

By JOHN FALLON

Connacht skipper Jarrad Butler said the players are looking forward to taking on Ulster at the Aviva Stadium next month when they hope to attract the biggest crowd to attend a rugby match in Ireland in over a year and a half.

With crowd restrictions due to be lifted by the Government just prior to the derby clash against Ulster on Saturday, 23 October, Connacht hope that a crowd of around 30,000 can be achieved for the fixture in the United Rugby Championship.

At present Connacht are restricted to crowds of around 3,000 at the Sportsground and even if all restrictions are lifted, the capacity of the stadium on College Road is limited to just over 8,000.

Coach Andy Friend and club captain Butler have given the decision their full backing, with Connacht consulting with their supporters’ club before deciding to switch the match to Dublin.

Connacht beat Ulster 26-20 behind closed doors there in August last year when competitive rugby restarted in the pandemic, and Butler said players were excited about going back there.

“It is different. We had success at the Aviva against Ulster last year and that was without fans. I think there is an excitement to go back there and, hopefully, be able to play there in front of a lot more Connacht fans than would probably be at the Sportsground.

“The Aviva is one of the best in the country and I think everyone is excited to get the opportunity to play there. The positives definitely outweigh the negatives playing there.

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.

 

Continue Reading

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