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Galway depleted for opening round of National League against Meath

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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

City sides will fancy chances of advancing as champions face Corofin

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Bearna's James Kennedy hits the deck in Ballinasloe on Tuesday as Annaghdown's Frankie Burke and Darragh Meehan try to chase down possession. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

The battle for this year’s county Senior Gaelic football club title looks to be wide open after the quarter-final draw was made this week following the delayed conclusion of the group stages on Tuesday night.

Salthill/Knocknacarra, who finished second in group 2, have been handed a last eight tie with a Tuam Stars side that finished third in group 1; while St Michael’s, who topped Group 3, will face an Annaghdown side that nabbed the final quarter-final spot in dramatic fashion on Tuesday night.

They went into their game with Bearna knowing they needed to win by a minimum of 12points to pip Milltown to the final qualifying spot as the second best of the teams that finished third in the group stages.

They looked to be coming up just short until they were awarded a late free, which goalkeeper James Healy converted, to snatch that remaining quarter-final slot on socring difference form Milltown.

The 2020 champions, Moycullen, will take on Claregalway in the last eight; while the pick of the ties is undoubtedly the clash of defending champions, Mountbellew/Moylough, with a Corofin side that was denied the five-in-a-row by Moycullen two years ago.

At the other end of the equation, St James’ are in a relegation battle, and face a clash with An Spidéal in the preliminary play-offs. A win will secure their senior status for another year, but a defeat will see them join Oughterard, An Cheathru Rua, and the losers of the other preliminary play-off between Caherlistrane and Monivea/Abbey in a round robin league, with the bottom two sides in those play-offs dropping to the intermediate ranks next year.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Play-offs dress rehearsal facing Utd against Treaty

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Former Galway United player Enda Curran celebrates his recent hat-trick for Treaty United in their FAI Cup quarter-final win over UCD. The in-form Mervue native will be facing the Tribesmen in a First Division clash on Friday.

GALWAY United head to Limerick this Friday evening for what is looking like a dress rehearsal for the end-of-season play-offs as they take on Treaty United in the Markets Field (7.45pm).

This is United’s game-in-hand over league leaders, Cork City, and a win will see them close the gap on the Leesiders to four points with three games remaining, and while a win would give the slightest of hopes of a late challenge for league honours, it is more likely to serve as a further boost to confidence ahead of the protracted play-off series that kicks-off at the end of next month.

United need to win their final four games to have any hope of snatching the title, and given the goal difference between the sides, they also need to hope that City don’t pick up more than four points from their last three games, if they are to finish top of the pile.

United’s last three games after this weekend are at home to Athlone, away to Wexford, and home to Longford Town; while City are home to Wexford, away to Athlone, and home to Bray, the easier of the two run-ins, so for United it is all about building momentum ahead of the play-offs.

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.

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Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

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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

Late points from Burke and Wall grab draw for Corofin

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Tuam Stars' Paul Collins tries to halt Ronan Steede of Corofin in his tracks during Sunday's Senior Football Group 1 encounter at Tuam Stadium. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

Corofin 0-16

Tuam Stars 0-16

Eanna O’Reilly at Tuam Stadium

A late point from Corofin’s Ian Burke denied Tuam Stars a notable win over their close neighbours in an entertaining contest at Tuam Stadium on Sunday afternoon. In a closely fought contest, the Stars appeared to have done enough with two late points from Brian Mannion putting them ahead by 0-16 to 0-14 in the dying minutes of the second half.

In typically composed fashion however, Corofin refused to panic and used all of their experience to engineer two late scores, the first from Dylan Wall, before Burke held his nerve to convert a mark to give Corofin a share of the spoils.

The result means that both sides qualified for the quarter finals, after both finished the group stages with eight points. Corofin were drawn against defending champions Mountbellew/Moylough in a mouth-watering tie, while Tuam Stars will face Salthill/Knocknacara in another intriguing clash.

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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