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Galway FC take two-goal lead into second leg of play-off

Keith Kelly

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Ryan Connolly, who scored Galway FC's first goal and set up the second, tries to evade the challenge of Shelbourne's Adam O'Connor in Eamonn Deacy Park on Friday night. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy

Galway FC 2

Shelbourne 0

Galway FC manager Tommy Dunne is warning against any kind of complacency as his side head to Tolka Park this Friday night with a two-goal cushion in the First Division promotion play-off.

Goals in either half from Ryan Connolly – a penalty – and Gary Shanahan capped a season’s-best performance by the home side in atrocious conditions in Eamonn Deacy Park last Friday night, but it was a scoreline which does scant justice to the performance of Dunne’s side.

They completely dominated the opening 45 minutes – Shelbourne’s first shot on the Galway goal came in first-half injury-time – and while the Tribesmen were a little slow out of the blocks in the second-half, once they found their groove, they were again almost unplayable.

However, their season-long failure of not capitalising on their chances meant they were sweating on a single goal lead, given to them from the spot by Connolly in the 18th minute, until Shanahan gave a more realistic look to the scoreline five minutes from the end to put them firmly in the driving seat heading into the second-leg this Friday night.

“I think looking back at the game, 2-0 probably doesn’t flatter us given the possession and chances we had, and possibly we could have had 1 or 2 more, although to be fair to Shels, they had 1 or 2 chances as well.

“That said, the performance was good and I thought we were the stronger team – but we were at home, so you’d expect that. It’s only half-time, we have to go to Tolka and they’ll be coming after us, you can be sure about that.

“In football, people always say 2-0 is the worst lead you can have but in saying that I’d rather take a 2-0 to Tolka than a 0-0. We’ve just got to go up there and be positive, play our normal game and try to win the match – we can’t afford to say we’ll sit back and hold what we have, that’s just asking for trouble,” he said.

Dunne is right to sound a tone of caution – Galway United fans only have to cast their minds back to the promotion play-off final of 2003, when they defeated Drogheda United 2-0 in the first leg in Terryland Park, but Drogheda won the second leg 3-0 after extra time to break Galway hearts.

It was almost as if the players had that in the back of their minds on Friday, and decided to get the tie done and dusted after just 90 minutes, such was their dominance in the first half in particular. Their formation was a first this season, with Alex Byrne and Paul Sinnott sitting in front of the back four; while Ryan Connolly was in a more advanced role and flanked by Gary Shanahan and Ryan Manning, with that trio providing the support for Jake Keegan up front.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Sentinel.

CITY TRIBUNE

Sporting stars and coaches offer ideas on how to make it

Stephen Glennon

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Carnmore's Paul Kilgannon who interviewed successful coaches and sports stars for his latest book: Be The Best You Can Be In Sport: A Book for Irish Youth.

WITH contributions from 50 sports stars and coaches, Paul Kilgannon’s second book, ‘Be The Best You Can Be In Sport: A Book for Irish Youth’ offers a succinct blueprint for any youth looking to excel in their chosen sport – and, indeed, for those coaching aspiring athletes.

In recent years, Kilgannon’s reputation has grown, particularly since he released his first book, ‘The CARVER Framework’, which focused on the development of the child and young player through a coaching model which the Carnmore native formulated.

While that book was a great success, his latest offering, released just before the Christmas, looks set to surpass it given the amounts of plaudits it has received locally and nationally, with the likes of The Irish Examiner and The Irish Times referencing it among their sports books of 2020.

Then again, one only has to look at those who contributed to the book to see why. They include Henry Shefflin and Eamonn O’Shea (hurling), Kieran Donaghy and Johnny Cooper (Gaelic football), Stuart Lancaster and Andy Friend (rugby) and Mick McCarthy and Kevin Doyle (soccer).

There are also contributions from a number of Galway coaches and sports stars, among them Corofin footballers Gary Sice and Liam Silke, sports psychologist Tony Óg Regan, physio David Hanly and expert game analyst Dave Morris.

One area Kilgannon was also conscious to promote was young females in sport and some of the role models who lent their experience are ladies footballers Rena Buckley and Valerie Mulcahy (Cork) and Sinead Aherne (Dublin), former Republic of Ireland international Claire Scanlan, Ireland rugby player Lindsay Peat and athletics star Nadia Power.

“That (having the female perspective) was something that was really important,” says Kilgannon. “I tied in early with the 20×20 group and they got me a few (interviewees). I struggled with female coaches, though. I didn’t get one or two of them over the line, and there is not a huge body of them there or, at least, that I’m aware of.”

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

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CITY TRIBUNE

Daithí Burke who is likely to be Galway’s only All Star between hurling and football in 2020.

John McIntyre

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Daithí Burke who is likely to be Galway's only All Star between hurling and football in 2020.

NINE Galway players between hurling and football are in line for All-Stars awards in 2020, but the county may have to settle for just one honour.
Aidan Harte, Daithí Burke and Padraic Mannion are all nominated in defence for the hurling team, with Joe Canning, Conor Whelan, Brian Concannon and Cathal Mannion shortlisted for recognition up front.
Galway’s two nominations for the football team – which is set to be dominated by six-in-a-row champions Dublin – are team captain Shane Walsh and the long-serving Paul Conroy.
The anticipation is that only Daithí Burke will make the final cut – a scenario which would see the Turloughmore man win a fifth All-Star award, emulating the feat of Galway greats Joe Cooney, Pete Finnerty and Joe Canning.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Connacht aiming to close the deal this time in refixed clash

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Connacht’s Alex Wootton breaking the tackle of Munster’s Chris Farrell at the Sportsground in their previous outing. The Westerners host the Ospreys in a re-arranged PRO14 tie on Sunday.

RUGBY returns to the Sportsground on Sunday as Connacht take on the Ospreys in a re-arranged PRO14 clash that will kick off at 3pm. Two rounds of European action have been postponed, the Six Nations is on the horizon and players are just keen to be playing rugby, so rarely has a simple league clash against a Welsh region brought so much enthusiasm within the competing squads.

Connacht will be looking to maintain their position among the top three in their conference over the next couple of months. A place in the March 27 final seems beyond them after the narrow defeat to Munster last time out, but securing their place in the Champions Cup for a third successive season would be a major achievement. Head coach Andy Friend underlined the mood in the camp this week.

“We were disappointed to see the European games postponed but I’m pleased we have a fixture to slot in here. This is good for us. It was also good to have one week away from the Sportsground. There’s always a lot going on but just not to have to come in to the office for a few days was good for everyone. People bounced back in this morning and there’s a spring in their step.”

This tie fell by the wayside in November and once the European competitions were postponed two weeks ago, both parties jumped at the chance of bringing the fixture forward to keep momentum going with the Ospreys having won five of their last six games in all competitions and Connacht coming off some high octane if ultimately disappointing run of results during the same period – the one exception being the famous win in the RDS against Leinster.

The main feature in Connacht’s defeats has been indecision and critical errors in the closing minutes of games. Against Racing 92, Bristol, Ulster and Munster, Connacht had late chances to either win games or at least secure some much needed bonus points and on each occasion, the westerners failed to keep their composure and execute. Friend spoke about the impact of those mistakes this week.

For more, read this week’s Galway City 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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