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Dunne to field strongest side for visit of non-league opponents in FAI Cup

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GALWAY United boss Tommy Dunne insists he will be fielding the strongest side possible when they face non-league opposition North End United in their first game in the FAI Cup at Eamonn Deacy Park this evening, Friday (7:45pm).

Hosting a non-league outfit, the temptation might be to rest a number of players ahead of their Premier League match against a high-flying Cork City next week but Dunne stresses United’s focus is wholly on this game.

“No, we would be looking to play the strongest team that is available to us on Friday,” the United manager told Tribune Sport earlier this week. “We will worry about Cork when Cork comes around the following week. There won’t be one eye on Cork or anything like that. It is solely on this game this week.”

This evening’s fixture is the 14th time United have been drawn against non-league opposition, with the cluyb winning 12 of their previous outings, drawing one – their tie against Fanad in the 1986/87 season went to a replay – and losing just once. That was against Cobh Ramblers, then a Munster League side back in the early 1980s.

For their part, North End United qualified for the FAI Cup through their progression in the FAI Junior Cup, where they were eventually beaten 2-1 by Liffey Wanderers in the semi-final last month.

However, it was enough to secure their place in this competition and in their first outing against UCC – the same side that had won the Collingwood Cup in Galway in February – they ran out comfortable 4-0 winners, with Paul Murphy (2), Jason Murphy and John Fenlon netting the North End goals.

Other than that though, Dunne knows very little about them. “I wouldn’t know a huge amount about them to be truthful. Just a couple of the players, like Gary Dempsey. Overall, I wouldn’t have a huge knowledge on them so we will just have to do our homework and get as much information as we can before Friday.

“Obviously, we are looking to progress as far as we can in the Cup. We look at it as an option of us picking up a trophy but, also, it is important that we try to get on good Cup runs for the club and the supporters.”

Certainly, you couldn’t argue with United’s Cup form this season, given they have already qualified for the semi-finals of the EA Sports Cup, for which the draw was made earlier this week. They pulled league leaders Dundalk – to be played at Eamonn Deacy Park on Monday, August 3.

“It is a tough semi-final draw against Dundalk but these are the games that the lads want to play in. Friday night is also a home draw but it is still a tough game. So, we have to make sure we are up and ready and motoring as best we can to try and get ourselves into the next round. That is really what we are looking to do.”

That said, hosting non-league opposition this evening, is there a danger of complacency? “No,” states Dunne. “To be honest with you, I never found it difficult when I was playing. The mindset is always the thought of getting into the next round. Good pros play the same against any team they play against. And that is what I am hoping from our group.”

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

CITY TRIBUNE

Devon trip-up in Athenry to lose ground in title race

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Knocknacarra's Davy Knight moves in to challenge Ricky Kent of Tuam Celtic at Cappagh Park, last weekend. Photos: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

Athenry 1

Salthill Devon 0

Soccer Wrap with Mike Rafferty

With a one round league there is not much room for error and in Moanbawn on Wednesday evening, Athenry played as if their lives depended on it as they saw off their fellow Premier Division title challengers in a bruising encounter.

A Cole Connolly goal on 18 minutes was all that separated the teams at the finish, but in fairness the home side offered the greater attacking threat on the night and should have won with something more to spare. For those who witnessed the occasion, it was compulsive viewing.

The commitment and passion brought to the game by both sides was honest as all the players offered everything for their sides cause. However, much as Salthill Devon tried, they were outmanoeuvred by a home side who always offered something extra.

For the duration, it was Athenry who threatened the most and carried the more threat in attack, but twice in the opening half it took two brilliant reflex saves by home custodian TJ Forde to keep them in the game.

A snap shot on six minutes by Gary Shanahan was tipped over at close range by the goalkeeper and he repeated the feat later when denying Jackson de Silva after the big Brazilian got his head to a Timmy Molloy corner. Those efforts aside Devon got very little breathing space from the home back four of Gary O’Connell, Dan Cunningham, Morgan Leggett and Declan Cullen.

After Colm O’Donovan could not connect with a diving header following a Ryan Shaughnessy cross, the home side took the lead shortly afterwards, when visiting custodian Arek Mamala had a clearance half-blocked by Connolly and the rebound fell kindly for the Craughwell native as he executed the perfect lob over the stricken goalkeeper and into the net for a 1-0 advantage.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Lions debut for Aki

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Bundee Aki and Robbie Henshaw will renew their centre partnership tomorrow when the Lions take on Japan. Photo: INPHO/James Crombie.

Bundee Aki will become the fourth Connacht player to pull on a Lions jersey after he was named in the starting XV that will take on Japan tomorrow in Edinburgh in a challenge game ahead of the summer’s trip to South Africa.

Aki will renew his Connacht and Ireland centre partnership at Murrayfield with Robbie Henshaw in a side featuring six Irish players, with a seventh on the bench.

“That combination obviously goes back to the Connacht days,” Lions head coach, and former Connacht and Ireland head coach, Warren Gatland explained. “It’s the two Connacht lads coming together and I think they are obviously great mates as well, so that kind of helps.”

Aki follows in the footsteps of Ray McLoughlin, John O’Driscoll, and Ciaran Fitzgerald in becoming a Lion while still playing for Connacht, and Gatland says he expects the Connacht man to surprise a few people with the various facets to his game.

Henshaw had moved on to Leinster by the time he was picked for the 2017 tour to New Zealand, but having played against club sides Chiefs, Highlanders and Blues, he had to withdraw from before playing in a test match after picking up an injury against the Hurricanes, but Gatland is expecting great things from their partnership.

“A lot of people sort of see Bundee as someone . . . and we know he is capable of getting the ball across the gain line, but he has got a lot more than just that to offer.

“He has got some real rugby skill, some great footwork, and a passing and offloading game. So, we are expecting some real quality rugby out of both of those two men,” Gatland said.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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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.

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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 left with lessons to learn after league final loss

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Galway defender Siobhan Gardiner is about to challenge Kilkenny’s Miriam Walsh duruing the National Camogie League final at Croke Park on Sunday Photo: INPHO/Ryan Byrne.

By Eanna O’Reilly

WHEN Galway look back on Sunday’s league final defeat to Kilkenny, they will undoubtedly focus on the third quarter of the game as the period when things went badly wrong. After dominating the opening half, with a three-point lead at the interval, Galway appeared to be in a strong position. By the 39th minute, however, the Tribeswomen found themselves five points behind after an extraordinary turnaround from Brian Dowling’s Kilkenny side.

During that period, the Cats scored 1-5 without reply (all from play) to put themselves firmly in the driving seat. This eight-point turnaround forced Cathal Murray’s side to chase the game for the remainder, which they did admirably, drawing level by the 60th minute. However, the surrender of a strong half time position was something they will be very disappointed with.

Galway began brightly, with some excellent attacking play early in the game. Catherine Finnerty showed her running threat in the opening half, drawing three fouls from the Kilkenny backs. Carrie Dolan had a tremendous first half, taking two good points from play along with five pointed frees. Dolan hit two from the sideline on the Cusack Stand side, from very difficult angles, which were superb.

Sarah Spellman worked hard in the half forward line and had some effective moments, while the inside trio looked dangerous. Ailish O’Reilly, Siobhán McGrath and Aoife Donohue carried a major threat when supplied with possession. McGrath almost put Finnerty through on goal and O’Reilly linked up well with Dolan for two points, while she was fouled for another pointed free.

Donohue drew two fouls, which were pointed, while she also scored herself after a great move involving Niamh Kilkenny and Finnerty. Galway created a major goal chance when Spellman’s attempted shot broke to Dolan, but her effort was saved by Aoife Norris. Unfortunately for the Galway free taker, she missed her easiest placed ball of the day just before half-time.

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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