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Galway FC draw a blank against Finn Harps

Keith Kelly

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The bit of momentum created by Galway FC was checked by Finn Harps on Friday night as two well-organised sides cancelled each other out in scoreless draw.

Tommy Dunne named the same team that started the win over the Hoops ‘B’ side the previous week, but the outcome was very different this time around as the visitors really struggled to break down a very well-drilled outfit that came in to the game having kept four clean sheets in their past five games – Ollie Horgan’s side mightn’t score many goals, but they don’t concede too many either.

There was no fault in the visitors’ effort, but the application left a little to be desired as they struggled to deal with the pressing game of the home side. Harps had obviously done their homework, with Keith Cowan giving Jake Keegan a feeling of claustrophobia, so tight did he stick to him; while the home side pushed high up the pitch every time Ger Hanley was in possession to deny the visitors their usual tactic of playing the ball out from the back.

The visitors also struggled to get a foothold in the centre of the park, while Jason Molloy and Gary Shanahan never got in behind their opponents. Shanahan at least did try to take on Ciaran Coll a couple of times, but his delivery was poor, and in the end they resorted to lumping high balls into the Harps penalty area, which was just meat and drink to the centre-back pairing of Cowan and Packie Mailey.

“Sometimes physicality seems to be a bit of an issue for us at times. We are not the biggest of teams, but we have to get used to that, as physicality is part of the Irish game.

“If you’re not playing your game, then you have to battle. For us today we battled hard but for me it was just being able to get that goal and make them come out a little bit more – they were pressing us but they might have taken more chances and we might have done them on the break,” Dunne said after the game.

Connacht Tribune

Mulkerrins adopts a pragmatic stand as finals off

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Moycullen's Martin Mulkerrins on his way to winning the All-Ireland 60x30 senior softball title in July of 2019.

By Ivan Smyth

NATIONAL champion Martin Mulkerrins isn’t shocked that the World Handball Championships due to take place in Dublin later this year have been cancelled.

“To be honest I wasn’t surprised when I heard the news. It is understandable and in the current climate there is uncertainty over where the country will be in a few months.”

The World Championships take place every three years with Mulkerrins reaching the final of the 40×20 event in 2018, eventually losing out to Killian Carroll in the decider.

“I was excited for it this year with the last two World Championships not being in Ireland. I love travelling so with the 2018 Worlds taking place in Minnesota and Canada hosting it in 2015, I had the opportunity to travel and play.”

“I think every handballer was looking forward to playing in the new National Handball Centre in Croke Park, but I’m sure the powers that be are working on alternative arrangements when it’s safe to play.”

“It’s still promising to see that facility being built and shows that things are looking up for the sport despite not much action on the courts recently.”

The handball season is split into three main codes – 40×20, 60×30 and One-Wall (recently rebranded as wallball). In terms of coverage and crowds, the 40×20 Championships are the brand leader.

Last year the coronavirus pandemic caused the handball calendar to be turned upside down with the Moycullen man still waiting to play the 2020 All-Ireland 40×20 senior singles final against Westmeath’s Robbie McCarthy.

That final was initially due to be played on March 21 of last year but handball alleys across the land were forced to shut down the week beforehand due to the coronavirus. When action resumed, GAA Handball opted to play the 60×30 Championships from the beginning instead of concluding the 40×20 Championships.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Basketball’s uncertain times as ban on indoor sports takes toll

Keith Kelly

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Maree BC's U-14 squad were presented with the cup and their medals just before Christmas by former Maree player and Irish international Michelle Fahy, for winning the 2019/20 Galway league. Back row, from left: Michelle Fahy with Grace McAnespie, Kate Burke, Ella Hanniffy, Laoise Quinn, Aisling Jordan, and Katie Colleran. Front: Laoise Gallagher, Tara Molloy, Naoise Ni Bhroin, and Jessica Ross.

By Keith Kelly

THE treatment of basketball as something of a forgotten sport, especially during the coronavirus pandemic, could see the game lose a generation of players as, by the time collective training is allowed, children may have been up to 18 months without involvement in the sport.

While all sport has been impacted by the ongoing pandemic, the failure to bestow ‘elite’ status to the basketball’s national league clubs – which provide the bulk of the country’s international players – along with the seemingly more-stringent application of restrictions to the local game compared to other sports, has led to fears locally that the sport may suffer a setback which will take years from which to recover.

While the main GAA, rugby, and soccer seasons were allowed resume during the summer after being designated as ‘elite sports’, the failure to include basketball in that category disappointed many associated with the game.

Then, when children were allowed to do some form of training with their various sports clubs under level 3 of lockdown, restrictions appeared to be stricter for basketball than other sports: for example, children were not allowed to pass the ball to each other as it was deemed to be sharing equipment, a constraint which did not seem to be applied to other sports.

When asked about children effectively not being able to train or play games in the sport since March, head coach of Moycullen’s Super League men’s squad, John Cunningham, said that from a basketball point of view, that has been a “disaster”.

“At least our Superleague guys got a pre-season of 6-8 weeks collective activity but underage are currently 10 months without anything other than watching online videos. It’s possible that will stretch to next September which is 18 months without group training.

“In the meantime, they’ve had their soccer, GAA and rugby sessions continuing. There will definitely be some who will never return to basketball (or maybe never start). For those that basketball was ‘their sport’, they’ve lost a social outlet which may have been their only one,” Cunningham said.

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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Connacht Tribune

Passionate Divilly is ready to help Galway reach next level

Stephen Glennon

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Galway senior football coach John Divilly in action against Kildare's Willie McCreery during the 1998 All-Ireland football final at Croke Park.

ALTHOUGH there has been some movement in the Galway senior football set-up over the last month – most notably the return of talented Moycullen offensive midfielder Peter Cooke from the United States – selector John Divilly says that the squad is far from finalised.

In recent weeks, there has been plenty of comings and goings in the Galway squad. The long-serving Gareth Bradshaw, after 14 years involved, announced his retirement while Corofin’s Gary Sice, who briefly came out of retirement post lockdown, also hung up his inter-county boots once more.

In addition, Adrian Varley, Fiontáin Ó Curraoin, John Maher and Corofin duo Jason Leonard and former All-Star Ian Burke have not committed to Galway for 2021 for various reasons. “It just wasn’t for them this year and that’s it,” says Divilly, who lined out at centre-half back in Galway’s memorable All-Ireland triumph in 1998. “You have to respect their decision.

“It is unfortunate that these guys have chosen not to come in this year, but best of luck to them in their future careers. You never know, they might come back into the Galway fold again some time down the line, but for now it creates opportunities for new players.”

Divilly says that once inter-county squads are permitted to return to the training grounds, they will run the rule over a few players who have either shown potential with their clubs or with the Galway U20 side that defeated Dublin to win the All-Ireland title last December.

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

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