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Forwards must deliver on judgement day in Thurles

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Galway attacker Jonathan Glynn, breaking away from Kilkenny's Conor Fogarty in the Leinster final, will be hoping to make a big impact in Sunday's All-Ireland quarter-final against Cork.

JUDGEMENT day has arrived for the Galway senior hurling panel. On the eve of Race Week, the Galway hurlers face a do-or-die clash with Cork in Thurles on Sunday (4pm).

Win and they qualify for an All-Ireland semi-final and are Croke Park bound. Lose and the usual loose talk about the management in particular, and players, will dominate discussion between races at Ballybrit.

Since the arrival of the Qualifiers, it was ever thus.  It’s a high-stakes, high-pressure game. Just the sort of game that hasn’t really suited Galway in the past decade, which is probably why Cork are slight favourites with the bookmakers (Cork are 5/6 with Mulholland’s, Galway are 6/5).

The general consensus is that there won’t be a puck of the ball between these two outfits, and they’re just siding with the Rebels because of the question marks over Galway’s big-match temperament.

The men in maroon have the ability to advance, but in the heat of battle, will they have the character and necessary bottle to back it up?

In fairness, since the depressingly familiar loss to Waterford in the league, they have, to an extent, answered those questions and Galway showed no shortage of spirit and battling qualities in the draw and replay win over Dublin and in defeat to Kilkenny.

Galway should have no reason to fear Cork either, having beaten them on their three most recent meetings in 2012, 2011 and 2009.

True, the Rebels ousted Clare from the championship, in the qualifiers, but the 2013 All-Ireland champions were no great shakes this season.

That win will have emboldened Cork, though, particularly since Clare were in a position to win it, until the Leesiders were bailed out by four points on the trot from Patrick Horgan, who is on fire this season.

Against Kilkenny three weeks ago, Galway produced a fairly decent performance that wasn’t rewarded with a result – the Leinster champions were simply too good.

On Sunday against Cork, manager Anthony Cunningham will settle for a result of any description . . . at this stage of the championship it’s all about winning.

Kilkenny were the better team that day, there’s no question but at least Galway mixed it with them, and there was a healthy attitude from the get-go and a ferocious work rate that is not always a quality found in abundance by men wearing maroon jerseys.

“The mood is very good,” said Cunningham mid-week.  “It’s excellent; couldn’t be better really. It doesn’t get any bigger than this, there’s a place in the All-Ireland semi-final at stake so we’re looking forward to it. We’ve had a nice break, we’ve had three weeks to prepare and a round of club championship in between and that was good to refresh fellas as well. We’ve trained hard and worked hard and we’re really all set.

“When you look back on the Leinster final, if we tidied up a bit, we weren’t far off. There were a few small points in defence and a few small points in attack. It’s easy to pinpoint two or three scores we coughed up easily and two or three scores we should have taken, so there was very little in it. Definitely the intensity that the lads played at and the work-rate was good and it’s going to have to be at that level again on Sunday.”

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

 

CITY TRIBUNE

Risk-takers Connacht reaping rewards of adventurous style

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Connacht’s Oran McNulty breaks through the Ospreys cover on his way to scoring a first half try in the United Rugby Championship at the Sportsground on Friday night. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

Connacht 46

Ospreys 18

THE numbers are ridiculous. The storm enveloped Sportsground on Friday night suggested we would be watching a game ultimately decided by kicks, scrums, mauls and lineouts, but instead we were treated to a contest where Connacht broke their season record for metres made with ball in hand, scored seven tries to their opponents two and wowed the home crowd with a night of scintillating rugby.

Six games into this season and Connacht have come with something very new. It hasn’t always worked, they underperformed in Cardiff and completely flopped at home to the Dragons. it hasn’t always been about exciting attacking play either, as they were pragmatic and stubborn in almost beating Munster in Thomond, but when it has come together, it has been spectacular.

In round two after the superb home victory over the Bulls, the Connacht team and management told us that this was the template. They lost their way a little but found it again in round five at the end of October when they produced that stunning all conquering performance against Ulster in the Aviva Stadium and at that juncture, the talk was of consistency and replicating this style. On Friday night in Galway, they ticked that box as well.

They have branded their new approach and repeated it over and over in public utterances almost in the hope of it becoming a self fulfilling prophecy. ‘Fast, relentless and adaptable.’ You see that’s the thing about catchy slogans and branding. If there’s substance behind it, the cheesy element almost makes it more compelling. And Friday’s performance in the wind, the rain and the cold was captivating from start to finish.

It wasn’t perfect but Connacht weren’t promising that. Mistakes are going to increase in the risk-taking environment they are in and they coughed up a couple of tries here that they probably wouldn’t have been happy with in past seasons, but probably won’t even think about now. Make no mistake, the Ospreys are good and were always going to have their moments. Yes they were without one or two stars, but they are a top side in this league and had won here with a similar squad in January.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
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CITY TRIBUNE

New boss Shefflin faces another former Kilkenny hero in his first Galway outing

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New Galway team manager Henry Shefflin and coach Richie O'Neill watching the recent Galway county hurling semi-final between Clarinbridge and Craughwell at Kenny Park. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

IT won’t be taking long for new Galway hurling team manager Henry Shefflin to be reunited with his Kilkenny past

For on Sunday, January 9, the Noreside legend faces a sideline collision with former Kilkenny teammate Michael Fennelly.

Not alone that, Shefflin and Fennelly both hail from Ballyhale, a club they helped inspire to a multitude of county and All-Ireland triumphs.

But they will be in opposition camps when Galway host Offaly in the opening round of the revived Walsh Cup in Ballinasloe on the second Sunday of January.

Adding further intrigue to that fixture is that former Galway U21 manager Johnny Kelly and Portumna player Johnny Kelly is continuing to assist team boss Fennelly in his coaching role.

Following that outing, Galway face further Walsh Cup group ties against Antrim in Abbotstown on Sunday, January 16, and Dublin at Parnell Park on Sunday, January 23. The final is scheduled for the final Sunday of the month.

Galway have also drawn Offaly in the opening round of the National League, but that game will be staged at Pearse Stadium on Sunday, February 6.

The Tribesmen’s other league fixtures are: away to All-Ireland champions Limerick on Saturday, February 12; home to Wexford on Sunday, February 27; away to Cork on Saturday, March 5; home to Clare on Sunday, March 20.

Though Galway’s path won’t be crossing with Kilkenny in the league unless they meet in the knock-out stages, a potential Pearse Stadium sell-out is on the cards when the counties collide in their Leinster Championship round-robin fixture on the weekend of April 30/May 1.

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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CITY TRIBUNE

A freak goal helps to send Salthill Devon on their way

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Knocknacarra FC'S Adam Nolan is at full stretch against Wallison Silva of Merlin Woods FC/Medtronic during the clubs' First Division tie at Cappagh Park. Photos: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

Salthill Devon 4

Liffey Wanderers 0

Soccer Wrap with Mike Rafferty

SOMETIMES it takes a fluke or a freak goal to turn a game and such was the scenario in Drom on Sunday as Salthill Devon eventually demolished the Dublin visitors in the fourth round of the FAI Junior Cup.

One up courtesy of an early Mikie Fox strike, they proceeded to dominate matters but found little comfort in front of goal. However, a stroke of good fortune came their way on 71 minutes. Aaron Conway fired in a shot that was pushed away by goalkeeper Craig Enriques only for the ball to rebound off inrushing central defender Jose Camarinha for an own goal.

Thereafter, their path to goal seemed easier to find and two later goals put a more respectable gap between two sides who were polar opposites in terms of ability and finishing.

The only issue for Devon after the game was the loss of Vinny Faherty to injury early on and while Rory Brennan and Timmy Molloy are certainly stepping up to the mark regarding goals, the former Galway United player brings a vast experience to the side and his potential loss over the next few weeks could be damaging.

The jet propelled Fox gave the visitors defence a bit of a going over and he opened their account on 12 minutes with a real team goal. The winger on the end of a fine passing movement, before cutting into the box and beating Enriques at the near post for a 1-0 advantage. For all their possession, only a Jackson De Silva close range header that was wide of the target threatened to increase their advantage before the break.

Liffey Wanderers could play a bit, but were not a threat in attack and, indeed, it was sloppy defending that allowed Dean Uzell possession to test Arek Mamala for the only time in the opening half.

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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