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Galway depleted for opening round of National League against Meath

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Annaghdown's Damien Comer who has been ruled out of Galway's National Football League opener against Meath at Pearse Stadium on Sunday.

GALWAY’S bid to make a winning start to their Division 2 National League campaign against Meath at Pearse Stadium on Sunday (2pm) hasn’t been helped by a range of absentees due to injuries and Corofin’s All-Ireland club commitments.

The news didn’t get any better over the past few days with Annaghdown’s Damien Comer ruled out of contention for the next few weeks after breaking a finger in the intermediate hurling semi-final against Bennettsbridge on Sunday while Micheál Breathnach’s Peadar Ó Griofa picked up an injury with NUI Galway.

They join Paul Conroy and Johnny Duane on the injured list while Finian Hanley, on a belated January honeymoon, has just resumed training last week. The long term news on Conroy and Duane is quite positive with both expected to be back pushing for first team places for the March 1 home clash with Laois.

Back into contention for starting places on Sunday are the Cortoon trio of Adrian and Paul Varley and Cathal Mulryan, who were ruled out of FBD action due to their involvement with the third level colleges.

While the long term prognosis for Galway is encouraging, with the injection of possibly up to eight Corofin players into the panel and the return of his injured men, Kevin Walsh must face up to the far more immediate challenge in the shape of a Meath side that ran Dublin to two points in the O’Byrne Cup semi-final (1-15 to 1-13).

“For the moment we just have to look at what’s facing us on Sunday. In terms of player availability, we have what we have, and this will be an opportunity for a number of players to stake a place on the team.

“We could have done without the latest injury news on Damien Comer and Peadar Ó Griofa but we just have pick ourselves up and really make a huge effort to secure two home points on Sunday,” said Walsh.

He said that while they couldn’t ignore the lessons from Roscommon’s goal burst last Sunday, the overall performance from Galway was quite good, and they fought all the way to the end.

“We’ve had a good hard look at where things went wrong for us last Sunday, for a very short but a very crucial period of the second half, and we’ve been working hard to tighten things up for next Sunday.

“A good start in the league can make a really big difference and I know that the team we’ll line out on Sunday will give this match a big go. Early points in the league can help to build momentum but we are facing a major challenge,” added Walsh.

His Meath counterpart Tommy Dowd has made no secret of the fact that one of his big ambitions for 2015 is to win promotion to Division One of the National League and he will be travelling to Salthill with quite a settled side.

Paddy O’Rourke, sub Michael Newman and Sean Tobin, by all accounts, posed the most serious threat to Dublin in an O’Byrne Cup semi-final that drew a crowd of 7,500 people to Pairc Tailteann in Navan.

Meath are always an ultra-competitive outfit and in the corresponding fixture last year in Navan they dished out a 3-18 to 4-11 beating to Galway, a match that was to be a portent of things to come in terms of defensive frailties later in the year.

That scoreline does tend to take on an added relevance given Roscommon’s second half scoring burst in the FBD league final at Kiltoom on Sunday when they cut apart the Galway defence to rifle home four second half goals.

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

 

CITY TRIBUNE

Young Mystics cast their spell over Limerick visitors

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The NUIG Mystics squad that defeated Limerick Sport Husklies in the Women's Divison 1 last Saturday. Back row, from left: Kyle Walsh (assistant coach), Courtney Cecere, Laoise Walsh, Ava McCleane, Olivia Sasse, Sara Messler, Maggie Byrne, and Paul O'Brien (head coach). Front: Meadhbh O'Brien, Hazel Finn, Kara McCleane, Laura Lopez Morera, Caoimhe O'Sullivan, and Aoife Ryan. Missing from photo: Aine McDonagh.

NUIG Mystics made it two wins from two with a five-point win over Limerick Sport Huskies on Saturday in the Women’s Division 1, but there was disappointment for Galway’s other three sides.

Moycullen ran Tralee Warriors close on Sunday in the Men’s Super League but suffered another narrow defeat, having lost on the opening day to NUIG Maree. Maree’s hopes of making it back-to-back wins were ended with a poor fourth-quarter performance away to Neptune on Saturday, the Cork side running out convincing winners; while Titans also suffered a second defeat, going down at home to Dublin Lions.

WOMEN’S DIVISION 1

 NUIG Mystics 65

 Limerick Sport

 Huskies 60

A strong final quarter which saw Irish underage international Hazel Finn rattle in nine points helped Mystics make it two wins from two against a visiting side that was overly reliant on Yuleska Ramirez Tejeda.

The US import returned a stunning 31-point haul for her side, to add to the 27 points she hit on the opening weekend’s 79-76 win over Portlaoise Panthers, but a better spread of a scoring threat for Mystics saw Paul O’Brien’s claim what was at time a scrappy win.

It is a very young Mystics squad this year – there were three 18-year-olds in their starting five on Saturday – but they are mature as players, none more so than Kara McCleane, who finished the game with 23 points.

She drained a three in the first quarter to help Mystics take a 16-11 lead, with McCleane hitting 10 of those points, but the visitors rallied in the second quarter, with Ramirez Tejeda (8) and Taylor Herd (6) helping them draw level at 29-apiece at the break.

Maggie Byrne began to dominate under the defensive boards for Mystics, and when she threw in a big 3-pointer, which was soon followed by one from Finn, Mystics moved into a 41-31 lead early in the third quarter, with the visitors’ first points of the quarter coming just before four of the 120 minutes had elapsed.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Shefflin named as surprise new Galway senior hurling manager for first intercounty role

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Henry Shefflin

Galway GAA are pinning their hopes on one of the greatest hurlers of all time proving that he’s fairly handy at management as well after unveiling Henry Shefflin as the new Galway senior hurling manager.

The shock appointment of Shefflin (42) was confirmed on Wednesday night, catching many people on the hop, including our sister paper, the Connacht Tribune, as it had been widely expected that Davy Fitzgerald was getting the job.

“Galway GAA is delighted to announce Henry Shefflin as the new Galway senior hurling manager,” read a statement posted on the Galway GAA website on Wednesday night.

“Henry’s achievements as a player are unrivalled. As a manager he has guided Ballyhale Shamrocks to All Ireland Club titles in 2019 and 2020. Henry will be joined by fellow Kilkenny man Richie O’Neill as a coach and his management team will be finalised in the coming weeks,” the statement read.

The appointment ends a seven-week period of speculation as to who would replace Limerick native Shane O’Neill who held the position for two years, before announcing at the start of September that he would not be seeking a third year in charge.

He had led Galway to the All-Ireland semi-final in 2020, only to lose to Limerick; before a nightmare 2021 in which Galway failed to win a game in the championship, losing lost to Dublin in the Leinster semi-final, and Waterford in the All-Ireland qualifiers.

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

Connacht need the win for two very different reasons

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Abraham Papali’i will be hoping to start against Ulster this Saturday, having come off the bench in last weekend's defeat to Munster. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

By JOHN FALLON

The switch of Connacht’s game against Ulster from the Sportsground to Aviva Stadium was, from the outset, met with not insignificant negativity by some fans and the business community, and with the anticipated attendance expected to be in the region of a disappointing 8,000 or so, some must be wondering if was worth moving the fixture at all.

Two things can alter that. There could still be a decent run on tickets which would make the venture financially worthwhile; and the other is a Connacht victory. A Connacht loss and the forfeiture of home advantage will come into the equation.

It could, equally, be argued that no matter where this game is a played, form so far in the URC suggests an Ulster victory. They are the only side with maximum points, four straight bonus point wins, and Connacht go into it with just one win in four.

Connacht coach Andy Friend says the players and management are not under any extra pressure to win Saturday’s clash.

“No, I don’t think so. I think we’ve got a lot of Connacht supporters who are going to be there. Family and friends are going to be there, so there’s always pressure to try and impress in front of them and to make sure you’re playing the best brand of rugby.

“But I don’t think moving the game to the Aviva has added pressure to us. Certainly, I don’t feel that, and I don’t think any of the players feel that.”

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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