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Doyle’s double secures first Irish U-15 FAI Soccer title for Salerno girls

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Doyle’s double secures first Irish title for Salerno girls

Timing is everything and Sadhbh Doyle obviously has the art perfected as her match-winner a minute from time gave Salerno Secondary School the U-15 FAI Schools’ Girls All-Ireland title in Athlone on Thursday afternoon.

It was a first-ever national crown for the Salthill school and coming from behind at the break, they provided the perfected second half response, with a pair of stunning Doyle goals.

The Barna native has been blazing a trail up the road to Drom from a very young age, and like many of her colleagues plays with Salthill Devon. It was the third game in succession in which the striker got a crucial goal, as she notched an additional time winner as Salerno defeated Sacred Heart from Westport 2-1 in the Connacht Final.

They also left it late in the recent All-Ireland semi-final as they came from behind to record a 3-2 victory over Abbey Community School, Waterford. After Alison Blaney got their opener, two goals in the closing eight minutes by Doyle and Ciara Wall rescued what seemed a lost cause.

In this contest, matters looked ominous for them as they played second fiddle to the Portlaoise side for long spells, who took a deserved lead into the break courtesy of a goal from Emma Lawlor.

The pattern was similar on the resumption, as the Leinster side continued to look the more threatening outfit, but were struggling to get any latitude from an outstanding Salerno defence. Behind them goalkeeper Maria Burke was inspired, as her handling and shot stopping was of the highest order.

While Salerno were backboned by players from Salthill Devon, more than half the Portlaoise side play their club fare with the very successful Emo Celtic. As well as providing the majority of the side, many were part of the School’s First Year’s team that won the All Ireland the previous week with a 7-2 success over Roscommon.

Star of that side was Lawlor, who notched five in the decider and from the off she posed a huge threat and it took two very smart Burke saves to deny her in the early minutes.

However, she opened the Portlaoise account with a terrific goal on 12 minutes. Cutting in from the left flank, she saw off two challengers, before making it 1-0 with a smart low finish beyond Burke.

For the duration the game, both sides had their moments as the game ebbed and flowed. After Portlaoise’s impressive start, it was then the turn of Salerno to take over as Meadhbh Corcoran and Catherine Timon got them moving in midfield.

A weakly-hit Doyle shot was comfortably gathered by Aimee Keane, before Ciara Wall struck the side netting after the ball broke to her in the box. Just before the break, a smart move down the left involving Megan Mulleady and Corcoran released Doyle, but her delivery across the face of goal, just got the better of the inrushing Wall.

The Salerno defence excelled in the opening half, and they surpassed it on the resumption as right full Dearbhail Comerford completely blocked out the threat of Lawlor, while wide on the left nothing got past Rebecca Downes, as she won every ball down her side.

At the heart of the defence, captain Rachel Hohan and Sarah Dunleavy were magnificent as they kept a rampant Laois side at bay. Wide players Ciara Wall and Megan Mulleady dropped deep to offer support when the occasion arose, while at the same time got forward to support Blaney and Doyle who were working overtime as they lived on scraps at the other end.

As the defence and Burke kept Salerno in the contest, they got their reward when the game took a sudden turn on 47 minutes, as Doyle gained possession just outside the box and after bursting through a number of players she made it 1-1 with a low shot just inside the far post.

Scoil Chriost Ri responded and a cracking shot by Gillian Keenan came crashing back off the crossbar. It was a backs-to-the-wall situation for Salerno and just when it looked like extra time was beckoning, they struck for a dramatic winner on 59 minutes.

Again Doyle was the instigator and finisher as she played a smashing 1-2 with Wall on the edge of the box and in a replica of her earlier goal, she made it 2-1 with another confident finish.

The day was won –coach Gerry Heaney was drowned by players and students and after all had settled down, Honan made it up the steps of Lissywollen Stadium to collect the Cup from FAI Schools official Alex Harkin.

CITY TRIBUNE

Sporting stars and coaches offer ideas on how to make it

Stephen Glennon

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Carnmore's Paul Kilgannon who interviewed successful coaches and sports stars for his latest book: Be The Best You Can Be In Sport: A Book for Irish Youth.

WITH contributions from 50 sports stars and coaches, Paul Kilgannon’s second book, ‘Be The Best You Can Be In Sport: A Book for Irish Youth’ offers a succinct blueprint for any youth looking to excel in their chosen sport – and, indeed, for those coaching aspiring athletes.

In recent years, Kilgannon’s reputation has grown, particularly since he released his first book, ‘The CARVER Framework’, which focused on the development of the child and young player through a coaching model which the Carnmore native formulated.

While that book was a great success, his latest offering, released just before the Christmas, looks set to surpass it given the amounts of plaudits it has received locally and nationally, with the likes of The Irish Examiner and The Irish Times referencing it among their sports books of 2020.

Then again, one only has to look at those who contributed to the book to see why. They include Henry Shefflin and Eamonn O’Shea (hurling), Kieran Donaghy and Johnny Cooper (Gaelic football), Stuart Lancaster and Andy Friend (rugby) and Mick McCarthy and Kevin Doyle (soccer).

There are also contributions from a number of Galway coaches and sports stars, among them Corofin footballers Gary Sice and Liam Silke, sports psychologist Tony Óg Regan, physio David Hanly and expert game analyst Dave Morris.

One area Kilgannon was also conscious to promote was young females in sport and some of the role models who lent their experience are ladies footballers Rena Buckley and Valerie Mulcahy (Cork) and Sinead Aherne (Dublin), former Republic of Ireland international Claire Scanlan, Ireland rugby player Lindsay Peat and athletics star Nadia Power.

“That (having the female perspective) was something that was really important,” says Kilgannon. “I tied in early with the 20×20 group and they got me a few (interviewees). I struggled with female coaches, though. I didn’t get one or two of them over the line, and there is not a huge body of them there or, at least, that I’m aware of.”

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

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Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Daithí Burke who is likely to be Galway’s only All Star between hurling and football in 2020.

John McIntyre

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Daithí Burke who is likely to be Galway's only All Star between hurling and football in 2020.

NINE Galway players between hurling and football are in line for All-Stars awards in 2020, but the county may have to settle for just one honour.
Aidan Harte, Daithí Burke and Padraic Mannion are all nominated in defence for the hurling team, with Joe Canning, Conor Whelan, Brian Concannon and Cathal Mannion shortlisted for recognition up front.
Galway’s two nominations for the football team – which is set to be dominated by six-in-a-row champions Dublin – are team captain Shane Walsh and the long-serving Paul Conroy.
The anticipation is that only Daithí Burke will make the final cut – a scenario which would see the Turloughmore man win a fifth All-Star award, emulating the feat of Galway greats Joe Cooney, Pete Finnerty and Joe Canning.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Connacht aiming to close the deal this time in refixed clash

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Connacht’s Alex Wootton breaking the tackle of Munster’s Chris Farrell at the Sportsground in their previous outing. The Westerners host the Ospreys in a re-arranged PRO14 tie on Sunday.

RUGBY returns to the Sportsground on Sunday as Connacht take on the Ospreys in a re-arranged PRO14 clash that will kick off at 3pm. Two rounds of European action have been postponed, the Six Nations is on the horizon and players are just keen to be playing rugby, so rarely has a simple league clash against a Welsh region brought so much enthusiasm within the competing squads.

Connacht will be looking to maintain their position among the top three in their conference over the next couple of months. A place in the March 27 final seems beyond them after the narrow defeat to Munster last time out, but securing their place in the Champions Cup for a third successive season would be a major achievement. Head coach Andy Friend underlined the mood in the camp this week.

“We were disappointed to see the European games postponed but I’m pleased we have a fixture to slot in here. This is good for us. It was also good to have one week away from the Sportsground. There’s always a lot going on but just not to have to come in to the office for a few days was good for everyone. People bounced back in this morning and there’s a spring in their step.”

This tie fell by the wayside in November and once the European competitions were postponed two weeks ago, both parties jumped at the chance of bringing the fixture forward to keep momentum going with the Ospreys having won five of their last six games in all competitions and Connacht coming off some high octane if ultimately disappointing run of results during the same period – the one exception being the famous win in the RDS against Leinster.

The main feature in Connacht’s defeats has been indecision and critical errors in the closing minutes of games. Against Racing 92, Bristol, Ulster and Munster, Connacht had late chances to either win games or at least secure some much needed bonus points and on each occasion, the westerners failed to keep their composure and execute. Friend spoke about the impact of those mistakes this week.

For more, read this week’s Galway City 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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