WHEN it comes to county finals, emotions will always run high. However, for Salthill/Knocknacarra midfielder John Boylan, they may just reach new heights when he pulls on the club jersey, possibly for the last time, and takes to the field against Corofin at Tuam Stadium this Sunday.
In all likelihood, barring the county final going to a replay, this will be 30-year-old Boylan’s last competitive outing for the defending county champions as he is due to fly out to begin a new life in Australia later this month.
It has been a big decision for him, to not only leave his family and friends, but to cut his ties with a club he holds dear. A club he has given blood, sweat and tears to and, quite often, in that order. And willingly so.
“Yeah, I am actually retiring in a few weeks – at the end of the month – and moving to Australia,” says the imposing midfielder who is an army officer based in Dublin. “So this could be my last game for Salthill. I am moving over there indefinitely; I could be back in a few years, but I don’t know.”
It’s unimaginable the transition that is about to take place in Boylan’s life but one thing he most likely will not miss are those long trips up and down from Dublin. “There has been a bit of travelling involved, up and down from Dublin alright,” he said.
“It has been a huge commitment, but football is like a drug. You want to stop doing it but find that you can’t. I suppose, now, I am heading to Australia in search of a new way of life. I have 12 years done in the army and I had a choice to stay or go. So, I chose to leave, to retire, and I am looking forward to it. I can’t wait.”
As one of the longest serving members of the squad, Boylan has enjoyed both the highs and lows. No doubt, the year surrounding their county final win in 2005 – only the City club’s second ever senior title – and their subsequent Connacht and All-Ireland club successes hold fond memories for him. As does last year’s county final victory.
However, he also bemoans Salthill/Knocknacarra’s lack of consistency in the years between their last two county title wins, 2005 and 2012, in which time Sunday’s opponents Corofin have won the Frank Fox Cup on four occasions to bring their count on the roll of honour to 14 – just one title behind third placed Dunmore MacHales.
“In terms of consistency, we have not done it at senior level. We won the county title in ‘05 and we didn’t win it again for another seven years. Obviously, making back-to-back finals, we are progressing,” said Boylan.
However, in equal measure, he also recognised the pedigree of Corofin. “You talk about Corofin being one of the aristocrats and as much as it pains me to say it, they are. They are consistent. This year just highlights it. When they lost the semi-final last year, people were talking about them coming back and, before a ball was thrown in, winning it this year. That says a lot about them.
For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.
Lomboto’s late strike earns United share of the spoils
Galway United 2
Athlone Town 2
GALWAY United had to twice come from behind against basement side Athlone Town on Monday night to snatch a draw that was, on balance, probably a little harsh on the visiting side.
Completely outplayed in the opening 45 minutes, United had an absolute howler from visiting goalkeeper, Aaron Myles, to thank for going into the break on level terms; and then needed an equaliser five minutes from time to claim a draw against a side that came into the game having lost all four games they had played this season.
Alan Murphy’s side already find themselves nine points behind the league leaders just four games into the season, and a major improvement is needed if they are to finish in the top half of the table and inside the play-off spots.
Their central midfield was way off the mark on Monday night – both Maurice Nugent and Sam Warde were hauled ashore before the final whistle – and having abandoned the 4-4-2 formation which delivered some decent results near the end of last season, they are struggling to get quality ball into the opposition box.
With Shane Duggan expected to return to central midfield after suspension for this Saturday’s trip to Cobh Ramblers, it might be time to go with some out-and-out wingers and get some cohesion in the side.
The first couple of half chances on Monday fell to the home side, but Mikey Place didn’t get any power behind his second minute effort; while Marc Ludden was well off target subsequently.
The visitors, who had the opening half’s best player in their ranks in the guise of Galway native, Ronan Manning, went close a couple of times themselves in the ninth minute, United surviving thanks to Cian Murphy getting a block on Adam Lennon’s shot; while Kevin Horgan pulled off a ‘worldie’ to deny Joel Coustrain from the subsequent corner.
By that stage, the visitors were starting to get on top, and they took a deserved lead in the 22nd minute when Manning’s corner from the left was met by Taner Dogan at the back post to head home as the United marking was, not for the first time this season, shambolic at a set-piece.
Tempers were starting to fray a little, with both sides having two players finding their way into the notebook of Dublin referee, Oliver Moran, before United were gifted an equaliser in the 41st minute.
Full report in this week’s Connacht Tribune
Doyle bags hat-trick in Galway WFC romp
GALWAY WFC notched a second win in a row in the Women’s National League when they defeated Limerick 6-1 at the Markets Field on Sunday afternoon.
A McKenna Doyle hat trick and goals from Sadbh Doyle, Chloe Singleton and Aoife Thompson helped the Galway women to a resounding win. Five of the six goals for Galway were assisted by Lynsey McKey during what was a stellar performance by the experienced midfielder.
Galway WFC are back in action at Eamonn Deacy Park tomorrow (Saturday, kick off 3pm) when they welcome league leaders Peamount United.
See full match report in City Tribune Sport.
Cup offers United chance to boost morale
HAVING insisted all year that Galway United’s First Division campaign has been about developing their young talents, manager Alan Murphy has admitted this Sunday’s first round FAI Cup tie against Leinster Senior League side, Collinstown at Whitehall Stadium (2pm) is about winning.
United have not recorded a competitive victory since mid-May, when they came from behind to see off Longford Town 2-1 in a First Division fixture at Eamonn Deacy Park. That win came courtesy of two Vinny Faherty goals.
Since then, they have lost eight of their twelve outings, with their four draws coming against Cabinteely, Bray Wanderers, Athlone Town, and the First Division’s bottom team, Wexford Youths, who have won just two First Division fixtures this season.
However, this weekend’s Cup game against a non-League of Ireland outfit could provide a much-needed morale boosting victory for his charges.
“It would,” acknowledged Murphy. “Even to be in the next round of the FAI Cup would be huge; it would be huge for this group of inexperienced players that I have really. I mean, every game is a brilliant chance for these guys to get another little bit of experience, and to experience a different challenge, and this weekend will provide exactly that.
“I have said, week in, week out, this is a development year and these players need experience but this weekend is probably a little bit more about winning than it has been all season because of the fact you will be out of the competition if you don’t win,” he said.
Se full preview in City Tribune Sport.