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Gaelic football Minors eager for a double-header

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Galway's Ryan Forde in action against Sligo's Mark O'Dowd in last year's drawn Connacht final. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy

Galway minor football manager Stephen Joyce says his young charges are eager to join their senior county men for Connacht final day at Pearse Stadium on Sunday, July 10.

Although reigning Connacht minor champions Galway still do not know who they will be facing in next Wednesday’s Connacht semi-final – with Sligo and Roscommon to contest their provincial quarter-final at Markievicz Park this Saturday – Joyce said the opportunity to qualify both Galway teams for the July 10 showpiece is a huge incentive.

“You would be looking forward to a big day like that on the July 10th,” said Joyce of the prospect of both minor and seniors featuring on the day. “So, it is an incentive and hopefully that will give us an extra boost for the game next week.”

Who they play remains to be seen. Sligo will fancy their chances – especially after their two top nurseries, Summerhill College and St Attracta’s, Tubbercurry, contested the Connacht Post Primary Schools ‘A’ final earlier this year – but Roscommon have also featured strongly in the minor grade over the last decade or so.

Joyce tipped Sligo on both the basis of their Connacht final meeting last year – when Sligo took the young Tribesmen to a replay – and their clash in their Connacht Minor League in April, which Sligo won 1-12 to 0-8.

“We needed to draw the last game with Sligo to win it (Connacht Minor League). They beat us in the final group game. So, I think they could be our opponents again next week.

“They also took us to a replay in the Connacht (minor championship) final last year while, obviously, colleges football is strong in Sligo at the minute given they had the two teams in the Connacht colleges final. If you go on the colleges side of it, Sligo should be the strongest county in Connacht.”

However, after winning their first Connacht minor crown since 2007, Galway will not let go of their provincial title without a fight, regardless of the opposition.

They do have injury concerns, however. One of Galway’s three survivors from last year’s starting 15, Mountbellew/Moylough’s John Daly, is out with a cruciate while Cian Darcy (glandular fever), Lee Kenny (hamstring) and Darragh Silke (concussion) are all extremely doubtful.

“Unfortunately, the four of them will probably be out,” noted Joyce. “That said, things have been going well enough. We would be positive. John Daly is out but Finnian Ó Laoi and Ryan Forde are there from last year while a lot of the other players would have been on the panel in 2016. In fact, I would say most of them would have been.

“I suppose, last year, we were totally focused on Mayo and we knew where we were going. It is a bit different this year – not knowing – and it is a new challenge. At minor level, you don’t know how lads will react to that. We have been going well and prepared well and we are hopeful we will get the performance and that the result will follow. That is the hope anyway.”

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

CITY TRIBUNE

Big boost for Connacht as dozen make Irish squads

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Former Galway minor hurler Shane Jennings who is one of six Connacht players named on the Irish U20 rugby squad for the upcoming Six Nations.

By Rob Murphy

THERE was some off season good news for Connacht this week with confirmation of 12 players from the Sportsground having made it into international squads at senior and U-20 level.

Six Connacht players were called into Andy Farrell’s 37-man senior international squad for next month’s two tests against Japan and USA. Three of those are looking to make their international debut in Tom Daly, Paul Boyle and Caolin Blade; while three more are looking to continue their progress with the Irish squad in Dave Heffernan (5 caps), Ultan Dillane (18 caps) and Finlay Bealham (14 caps).

For Daly, the progress from fringe starter to captaining Connacht has been a rapid one. The 27-years-old inside centre from Carlow is now a key part of Andy Friend’s plans having led the way in starts this season and his consistent form has clearly caught the eye of Farrell too, with the recent stand-out effort in the win over Munster at Thomond Park no doubt a key factor.

At 24, Boyle has already amassed 57 appearances in the green of Connacht having made his debut in 2017. He also has captained Connacht on multiple occasions and while he missed some of the end of season Rainbow Cup games, the Gorey native was a consistent almost ever present part of the back row during the PRO14 campaign.

Monivea man Blade is back in Ireland camp for the second season in a row and will hope to get his first cap this time around. The 27-years-old is being rewarded for another excellent season in the nine shirt for Connacht where he led the team in starts at scrum half and scored five tries in 20 appearances.

Ireland will play two games in the Aviva Stadium next month starting with a clash against Japan on July 3 before they host USA on July 10.

The Irish U-20s will be involved in Six Nations action, starting tomorrow against Scotland with the month-long tournament taking place entirely in Cardiff to help guarantee a safe environment for players.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Galway surrender top flight status after Clones collapse

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Galway’s Robert Finnerty who scored 1-3 in their costly National League relegation play-off defeat to Monaghan in Clones on Sunday.

Monaghan 1-21

Galway 2-17

(After Extra-Time)

NO thermometer was required to take the temperature of those hundred or so die-hard Galway supporters who travelled to Clones last Sunday. With their side five points to the good and time almost up, they watched on in horror as a winning lead was blown.

The result: Galway beaten. The result: Galway are no longer a Division 1 county. The result: Galway now have just won one game in their last seven competitive outings. The result: Galway have gone from a side on the brink of something in spring of 2020 to an outfit that has regressed and have now been cast back to the land of mediocrity.

That Galway boss Padraic Joyce didn’t make himself available to the media afterwards to put some positive spin on the performance only compounded the result. By not offering some take, he left a dangerous void in which disgruntled supporters have begun to weave their own narrative about where Joyce’s Galway are at.

Ironically, with time almost up in Clones, it appeared the Tribesmen had turned the corner after a poor run of form. First half goals from Paul Kelly and Rob Finnerty saw Galway lead this thrilling relegation game by five points going down the home stretch, but in the five minutes plus of normal time injury-time, they came undone.

In hindsight, hauling off Galway’s two best forwards – Robert Finnerty and Shane Walsh (although he was nowhere near his best) – was a mistake as it not only blunted the point of attack but deprived it of the guile and experience that they needed to see this game out.

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

Galway U20s set to make up for lost time in delayed final

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Conor Walsh who is a key member of the Galway U20 hurling team seeking Leinster final glory when they take on Dublin next Wednesday.

GALWAY’S U20 hurlers have a number of injury concerns ahead of their long overdue 2020 Leinster final clash against Dublin at O’Connor Park, Tullamore, next Wednesday evening, June 23. Throw-in 7:30pm.

Among them are Sarsfields midfielder Alex Connaire and Craughwell wing-forward Adrian Prendergast, both of whom scored in the Tribesmen’s victories over Laois and Kilkenny last December, but they now look set to miss the provincial decider with groin and pelvis injuries respectively.

“This game is just too early for them, it has just come too quick,” says Galway manager Jeffrey Lynskey, who says Connaire and Prendergast join an injury list that also includes long-term victims Mark Gill of Castlegar (metatarsal) and Conor Hynes of Liam Mellows (shoulder).

“We are lucky enough though that we have depth in the squad and can pull on lads who are performing and doing well (in training). They have trained well, in fairness to them, over the last five weeks.”

Indeed, Lynskey says the form is good in the camp, outlining the focus has been getting the players back up to speed with in-house and challenges games against the Galway development panel.

“In all the in-house and challenge games, they have performed really well. They are all looking forward to getting back. They have trained hard, really, over the last five weeks and they put a serious bloc of work in during the third lockdown. Gym-wise, they all came back in fantastic shape.

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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