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Finnerty’s minors prove different class to Moycullen in divisional decider

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The Salthill/Knocknacarra minor football team which captured the West Board A title at Pearse Stadium on Saturday. Back row, left to right: Niall McTiernan, John Joe Burke, Ronan Murphy, Evan Murphy, Euan Heapes, John Maher, Davey Knight, Eoin MacFadden, David Patten, Paul Butler, James Hill, Sean Casserley, Eamon Conroy, Shane Kelly, Ronan Halloran, Oislin O'Connor, Anthony Finnerty (manager). Front row: Callum Heapes, Tom Morris, Niall King, Darragh Ward, Morgan Hanley, Eamon Kelly, Eoghan Deeley, Marcus MacDonnachadha, Fiachra O Griofa, Joe Tinney, Kevin Cahalan, Adam Fitzgerald, William Finnerty, Robert Finnerty, Ryan Hunt.

Salthill-Knocknacarra 5-17

Moycullen 1-5

MUCH expectation is attached to this group of Salthill-Knocknacarra footballers who cruised to an emphatic West Board Minor A success at Pearse Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

It proved to be a demoralising hour for Moycullen, who were blitzed by a particularly promising Salthill-Knocknacarra outfit. The only significant issue for Salthill-Knocknacarra is the fact that they must now tussle with a quality Mountbellew-Moylough side in the county decider having annihilated every team they’ve faced out west.

The match with Mountbellew-Moylough features a string of interesting subplots as Salthill-Knocknacarra senior boss Val Daly is also in charge of the North Board side. Daly has vast knowledge and faith in Salthill-Knocknacarra’s youngsters as four sampled senior championship action under his direction this summer.

Salthill-Knocknacarra’s minors are managed by Anthony Finnerty, who has put in serious work at underage level with the City club in the underage grades during the past decade. Titles are beginning to be accumulated, but the upcoming encounter with Mountbellew-Mountbellew will offer a greater insight into how good Salthill-Knocknacarra really are.

Dominant throughout the pitch, Salthill-Knocknacarra controlled the first half departing at the break armed with a deserved 1-9 to 0-4 advantage. It was a clinical and classy forward display from Salthill who scored ten of their dozen opening period attempts.

That high strike rate ensured Moycullen were being put under severe pressure to stay competitive in a contest that was dictated by Paul Butler’s energy. Repeatedly creating opportunities ,Butler’s willingness to work meant that a lively Salthill-Knocknacarra attack were being fed plenty of quality possession.

Not even the early departure of influential midfielder John Maher could disturb Salthill-Knocknacarra, who quickly seized the initiative. Even though Moycullen dropped men deep, their defence was still stretched initially as they fouled Salthill-Knocknacarra on three occasions in the scoring zone inside five minutes.

Those frees were expertly drilled over by Robert Finnerty and Evan Murphy (2) as Salthill-Knocknacarra’s intent was briskly signalled. There was a brief interuption when Sean Kelly, eager to involve himself, clipped a fine Moycullen point, but Salthill-Knocknacarra replied.

Five more points from Salthill-Knocknacarra gave them a commanding 0-8 to 0-1 lead by the 21st minute. In that brilliant burst, evidence of their swift movement and quick hands was available as Moycullen struggled.

Ronan Halloran and Shane Casserly landed points before a delightful 13th minute exchange culminated with a fisted Marcus MacDonnacha score. That was a demonstration of Salthill-Knocknacarra’s considerable prowess, but Moycullen improved slightly as the interval approached.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Curran’s early strike enough to see Galway United home

Keith Kelly

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Galway United's Enda Curran shows his delight after scoring the only goal of Friday night's First Division tie against Wexford at Eamonn Deacy Park. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

Galway United 1

Wexford 0

Keith Kelly at Eamonn Deacy Park

YOU can be a good manager, and you can be a lucky manager – on the evidence of his first batch of league games in charge of Galway United, John Caulfield appears to be both, with further evidence coming in last Friday night’s grinding win over Wexford.

When Enda Curran headed United into a 10th minute lead, it looked for all intents and purposes that the home side were set for a stroll in the park against a side that was there for the taking. Instead, the men in white – they were forced to change from their traditional maroon by match referee, Robert Dowling, because he was worried United’s maroon and Wexford’s pink would be a colour clash – huffed and puffed to the three points.

That’s not to say it wasn’t a deserved victory – United were the better side on the night by some distance, but you got the feeling that a better side than Wexford would have punished them for failing to kill-off the game.

Still, you can only beat what’s put in front of you, so there is no point in the ‘ifs and buts’ of what a better side would have done, for on Friday night, the better side did what was needed – they scored more, and conceded less, than their opponents and claimed the three points.

“The first 20-25 minutes we were really good, our passing was excellent, we go the early goal and I felt Wexford were really on the rack. We needed to get the second goal, and had a few opportunities, but didn’t take them and Wexford gained confidence form that.

“We didn’t play as well in the second-half, and while they didn’t really create any chances, they did look dangerous on the break. There were positives, we got the three points and it was our second clean sheet, we just had to dig deep and we did.

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

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CITY TRIBUNE

Five-star Hibs on the rise as new faces make impression

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Jonathan Hannifin (left) scored Mervue United's second goal in their 5-1 win over Corrib Rangers.

Local Soccer Wrap with Mike Rafferty

Last season it took Hibernians five games before they picked up their first point of the campaign in the Western Hygiene Supplies Premier Division with a 1-1 draw with Athenry.

As we are all aware the season ended prematurely due to Covid-19 and maybe it did the city side a favour as they struggled in the bottom two of the table. Alongside them in the basement were Maree/Oranmore and indeed both of them can be grateful for the early conclusion of the season.

Maree/Oranmore traditionally make a good start to the campaign and maybe struggle a bit thereafter, but this season, matters look somewhat different as they lost by 5-1 to Hibernians when the sides met at the weekend on the new all-weather 4g pitch in Maree.

Boosted by a number of new signings such as Nathan Ward (defender) and his cousin Nathan Ward (striker); the return from injury of Caimin Rooney; and the ‘homecoming’ of former Galway United defender Stephen Walsh, who arrived midway through last season; added with the likes of long-serving Shane Hulgraine, who is a regular contributor in the finishing stakes, and it is clear that matters might have improved for Martin Devlin’s side.

In an interesting family grouping, eight of the 11 players who started for Hibernians on Saturday are related. Three Rooney brothers – Caimin, Niall and Liam were joined by two Walshs – Stephen and Shane – while the two Nathan Wards and goalkeeper PJ Ward are also all related.

Matters do not look to be running as smoothly for new Maree/Oranmore manager, Brendan O’Connor, and if Saturday’s result is anything to go by, his young side could be in for a difficult campaign.

It took Hibs just three minutes to make the initial breakthrough when former West United striker Nathan Ward fired home the opener and from there on, they were generally in command.

Shane Hulgraine (two), Niall Rooney and Shane Walsh all went on to add further goals, while it was a Dean Cullinane own goal just before the break that gave the home side their only reward.

The victory gives Hibernians four points from their opening two games and is a big step up from where they were last season. However, they will have to up their game even more this Sunday (11am) when they travel to Drom to take on a Salthill Devon side who must be licking their wounds after going down to an opening round defeat against Mervue United.

Maree/Oranmore will be at home again on Sunday morning when they host Loughrea.

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

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CITY TRIBUNE

Niland nails a hat-trick as the Bridge hold off brave Kinvara

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Clarinbridge's Caoimhe Connolly breaking away from Olga Burke of Kinvara during the county intermediate camogie final at Duggan Park on Sunday. Photos: Mike O'Hehir.

Clarinbridge 3-8

Kinvara 2-9

Darren Kelly at Duggan Park

CLARINBRIDGE completed a second promotion in three seasons after securing the county intermediate camogie title at Duggan Park on Sunday.

A first half Niamh Niland hat-trick proved decisive for Brian Carr’s charges as the 2018 junior title winners booked their place among the senior ranks in 2021.

This was an exciting contest between two sides willing to attack, but also provided two assured half back lines who regularly cut out opposing threats in keeping the scoring low.

That being said, prominent forwards rose to the challenge with Niland also joined by Kinvara’s Rachel Burke who hit two crucial three-pointers either side of half-time. However, Kinvara couldn’t manage to get back on level terms despite getting to within one point in the closing stages.

Kinvara suffered defeat at this stage to Carnmore last season but made the ideal start with two early points. Ciara Helebert provided both white flags, the second coming from an acute angle on the left.

Clarinbridge fell to the same opponents in 2019 but got off the mark on four minutes when Niland opened her account. And when Fiona Armstrong picked out Carrie Dolan 60 seconds later, the sides were level at 0-2 apiece.

Siofra Boland was making her presence felt in the early stages as Clarinbridge tried to capitalise on the stiff breeze blowing towards the railway goal in Ballinasloe. She made it 0-3 to 0-2 on seven minutes before Rachel Linnane restored parity immediately afterwards.

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

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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