Classifieds Advertise Archive Subscriptions Family Announcements Photos Digital Editions/Apps
Connect with us

Inside Track

Galway double offers hope for summer hurdles ahead

Published

on

Inside Track with John McIntyre

THIS is the right time of the year to be winning league matches, especially when teams are under pressure to do so. For different reasons, the stakes were high for both the Galway hurlers and footballers last weekend and it’s heartening to report that there was no shortage of positives emanating from the Limerick Gaelic Grounds and Tuam Stadium respectively.

The Galway footballers have been having a fraught campaign in Division Two of the National League. Almost expected defeats against both Meath and Donegal in the opening two rounds were followed by a demoralising away trouncing at the hands of Laois. Supporters were left in despair; players’ confidence was in tatters; and there were rumblings about the position of manager Alan Mulholland.

After three consecutive losses, the odds weren’t great against Galway avoiding the humbling drop to Division Three. In such an environment, it was never going to be easy for the Tribesmen to salvage their current status, but with the final round of group matches looming, the squad has admirably regrouped to such an extent that their destiny is now in their own hands.

A home win over Down stopped the rot and though Galway subsequently frittered away a winning advantage in drawing with Louth, at least they were getting results. It still left them desperate for victory over Armagh at Tuam Stadium last Sunday and though Galway mixed the good with the bad, when the needed was greatest, they had the bottle to land the last four points of the match from James Kavanagh, Paul Conroy, Michael Farragher and Tom Flynn.

In the circumstances, it was a massive win for the home team, especially as they had allowed 14-man Armagh to work their back into the contest, thanks largely to Tony Kernan’s goal in the 39th minute and some neat point-taking from Kieran Dyas. Critically, Paul Grimley’s outfit also had the momentum and the outcome was hanging in the balance until Galway pulled it out of the fire. It could be a season changer.

Mulholland and his mentors had shaken up their team for the visit of Armagh and there was some surprise when Gary Sice was left off the starting 15, but nobody was seemingly more surprised than the Corofin player himself if the bush telegraph is to be believed that he threw a wobbly and briefly walked away from the panel before sanity prevailed. In any event, Galway got off to a flier with two goals in the opening four minutes from Eddie Hoare, following a surging run from Gareth Bradshaw, and Micheal Martin.

Debutant Michael Lundy was central to Martin’s green flag and his pace was causing Armagh problems. With team captain Conroy having registered a point inside 15 seconds as well, Mulholland might have been forgiven for thinking that he was about to experience a stress-free day on the sideline. Unfortunately, Galway tend not to make life easy for themselves at present even if they were to enjoy a healthy interval advantage of 2-8 to 0-9.

Galway were still five clear by the 47th minute when Armagh defender Gary McCooey got his marching orders. That should have been the signal for the men in maroon to push on but, instead, they became overly defensive and handed the initiative to their visitors. Goalkeeper Tom Healy made a couple of vital interventions, but there were frayed nerves all over Tuam Stadium when Finian Moriarty levelled matters with just seven minutes remaining.

For more, see this week’s Connacht Tribune.

 

Connacht Tribune

Dream year for Maigh Cuilinn ends with club’s first ever Connacht title

Published

on

Maigh Cuilinn's Michéal O’Reilly on the attack against Oisin Kennedy of Tourlestrane during Sunday's Connacht Club Senior Football Final at Pearse Stadium. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

Inside Track with John McIntyre

Watching Maigh Cuilinn dismantling Westport a few weeks ago, you could never imagine the Galway champions failing to score from play in a half-hour’s football as they chased an historic first ever Connacht title.  Perhaps, the warning signs were there in Maigh Cuilinn’s subsequent struggles against Strokestown in the provincial semi-final when they required extra-time and a terrific individual display from Seán Kelly, together with the accuracy of Owen Gallagher, to eventually fend off the Roscommon men.

After that scare, we presumed Maigh Cuilinn would cut a dash in last Sunday’s Connacht final, especially that they were back on their favourite hunting ground at Pearse Stadium and the opposition was being provided by the Sligo champions Tourlestrane.

But every game is different and with Fergal O’Donnell’s team setting up defensively on a cold December day and having the advantage of the wind in the opening half, Maigh Cuilinn had to be content with a paltry tally of four points – all from Dessie Conneely’s frees – up to the interval.

Compared to their free-scoring outing against Westport, Maigh Cuilinn were having to dig deep and be patient against teams adopting a conservative approach. Their players aren’t robots either and it’s been a long season for the Galway title holders, especially their swathe of county players.

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.

 

Continue Reading

Connacht Tribune

Superb St Thomas’ take dominance of Galway club hurling to new level

Published

on

St Thomas’ Victor Manso is about to pounce on this loose ball against Dylan Shaughnessy of Loughrea during Sunday's Galway Senior Hurling Final at Pearse Stadium. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

Inside Track with John McIntyre

Barely five minutes after Sunday’s thrilling Galway hurling final replay at Pearse Stadium, the clouds burst open – raining more misery on a Loughrea team which had covered themselves in glory for the second week running only to discover that their best wasn’t quite good enough.

Of course, Loughrea could have won both the drawn final and replay, and there were times where St Thomas’ were hanging on for dear life, but they were unable to close the deal. They weren’t let, for starters, as the champions enhanced their reputation for getting out of tight corners in Galway.

In the days between the two matches, you’re wondering what either finalist can do differently to give them an edge; what switches might be made; or what new tactical approach might they bring to the battlefield. Mark Caulfield would hardly have featured in any of that conjecture.

He’s a big unit but inexperienced at this level. He was promoted to centre back in the continued absence of Shane Cooney and was doing enough to stay on the team. Caulfield, however, only lasted until half-time last Sunday week and you sensed he was about to make way for the fit-again county defender.

Cooney, however, jarred a hamstring in training which ended that plan. Instead, St Thomas’ turned to former Galway captain David Burke to take over at centre back. If those on the outside had got wind of that, you’d be left thinking that there would be no place for Caulfield at all.

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.

 

Continue Reading

Connacht Tribune

Loughrea’s standing is enhanced as champions pushed to the wire

Published

on

St Thomas' Victor Manso and Darragh Burke tussling for possession with Johnny Coen and Brian Keary of Loughrea during Sunday's County Hurling Final at Pearse Stadium. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

Inside Track with John McIntyre

EVEN the might Kilkenny hurlers couldn’t manage it in 2010 which underlines how difficult the challenge was for St Thomas’ to complete their own ‘Drive for Five’ at Pearse Stadium last Sunday. Breaking new ground is never easy for the best of teams, but at least the Galway champions will have a second crack at it.

They entered the 2022 county final as heavy favourites to capture a fifth consecutive Galway title despite five of their team – it would have been six only for James Regan’s injury – having started in the club’s historic triumph of ten years ago. It was their first appearance in a final and it heralded a period of unexpected domination which has resulted in six championships in a decade.

Having won every final they have featured in up to now, St Thomas’ have it down to a fine art in taking care of business on the big days that matter. But they were shaken to the core in Salthill and, at times in a great game, you felt their time at the top was about to come to an end. Four points down with eight minutes of normal time remaining. St Thomas’ had never previously faced such a crisis in a county final.

Typically, their response spoke volumes for the team’s resilience and talent. A late goal and two points from the outstanding Éanna Burke looked to have turned the tide in their favour, and they were seconds away from celebrating a milestone achievement – only done twice before by Castlegar and Turloughmore in Galway.

It would have represented the crowning glory for the glorious club careers of the Burke brothers, David, Cathal, Darragh and Éanna – a utilised sub in 2012 – Conor Cooney and Bernard Burke, but fairytales don’t happen as often in sport as some people would like to think. St Thomas’ have to do it all over again but, on the balance play last Sunday, they should be grateful for that opportunity.

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.

Continue Reading

Local Ads

Local Ads

Advertisement
Advertisement

Facebook

Advertisement

Trending