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Galway hurlers romp home in Mullingar

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Galway 3-27

Westmeath   0-19

FLIGHT of fancy, glorious pipedreams and loose chatter of an upset were unmercifully put to bed by 2015 All-Ireland finalists Galway as they got their Leinster senior hurling campaign underway with a comprehensive provincial quarter-final victory over a lacklustre Westmeath outfit at Cusack Park, Mullingar last Sunday.

Given the Mediterranean-like conditions over the Bank Holiday weekend, you would have thought the universe was attempting to give Westmeath the heads up before the delayed throw-in as, first, the black clouds gathered, then lightning filled the humid air before, finally, the heavens opened for a torrential downpour.

In equally Old Testament fashion, Galway’s dismantlement and dismemberment of the home side’s challenge was ruthlessly biblical and, by half-time, the Tribesmen had the job completed having built up an impressive 0-17 to 0-5 lead. This contest was over.

In this opening period, the defence, particularly the half-back line of Padraic Mannion, Daithí Burke and Aidan Harte, had totally dominated and this in turn ensured the supply lines were always open to the forwards.

Joe Canning led the way by clipping over eight points that incorporated every element of marksmanship – three from play, three from frees, one ’65 and one, as ever, sublime sideline cut. Westmeath had simply no answer to him.

Well, they had, as early in the second period corner back Shane Power downed Canning in an off-the-ball incident, which led to Canning’s substitution through injury – a precaution – and the Westmeath defender’s dismissal. The home side were already in a big enough hole without going a man down.

In truth though, the Galway forward unit – and the team as a whole – adopted a very professional approach and this was evident from the throw-in. In the opening five minutes, they hit four points without reply, two from Cathal Mannion, a Canning 65 and a fantastic score from Davy Glennon.

Westmeath did rally subsequently with two points – a Niall O’Brien free and Alan Devine effort – but they were so far off the pace even at this stage that it was difficult to see them causing Galway any great trouble. So, it proved.

In the next half hour or so, Westmeath only scored three more times – all coming from the stick of former NUI Galway student O’Brien – while in contrast Galway tallied 13 points from a myriad of players.

As noted, Canning was to the fore but there were telling contributions from several of the other forwards.  Mannion and Jason Flynn hit two points apiece while Shane Moloney and Conor Whelan also found the target.

Full coverage in this week’s Connacht Tribune

Connacht Tribune

Agony for St Thomas’ as mighty effort goes unrewarded

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St Thomas' Conor Cooney and John Headd give chase to Ballyhale Shamrocks' TJ Reid during Sunday's All-Ireland Club Senior Hurling Semi-Final at Semple Stadium. Photos: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile.

Ballyhale Shamrocks 2-15

St Thomas’ 0-20

John McIntyre in Thurles

THIS harrowing All-Ireland Club hurling semi-final defeat in Thurles on Sunday will traumatise and torment St Thomas’ for weeks to come. It was that gut-wrenching – that undeserved.

On an afternoon when St Thomas’ did Galway hurling proud, we are all struggling to come to terms with how they lost a match that they had largely dictated the terms of engagement of, and had Ballyhale Shamrocks in all sorts of distress.

Producing arguably their best-ever team display – characterised by unrelenting commitment and the slick transfer of possession – St Thomas’ stood on the brink of a famous victory over the most decorated club in the over 50-year history of the championship.

Protecting a 15-match winning run outside their county borders, Ballyhale were staring down the barrel of a surprise defeat, having played second fiddle to an inspired St Thomas’s outfit for significant tracts of a gripping and high-quality encounter.

But the reigning All-Ireland champions have mastered the art of pulling games out of the fire – notably their Leinster semi-final escape against St Rynagh’s – and there was always the chance of late drama at Semple Stadium.

St Thomas’ had done so many things right on the day: making great starts to both halves; carrying the battle to Ballyhale; picking off a series of wonderfully-crafted points; and looking the more accomplished stickmen. And somehow . . . it still wasn’t enough.

On a couple of occasions in the second-half, they went four points clear and with the scoring rate of both teams starting to drop, it appeared a healthy advantage in the circumstances. By the 57th minute, St Thomas’s were still 0-18 to 0-15 ahead.

You could sense the rising hope of their supporters in the stand, but they too were left visibly shocked after the influential TJ Reid bailed Ballyhale out of trouble with two bullets from placed balls in the dying embers of the match.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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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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Connacht Tribune

St Brendan’s best comes up short in low-scoring struggle

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St Brendan's Ava Trayers is chased by Nicole Shelly of Mullinahone during Sunday's All-Ireland Club Ladies Football Junior Semi-Final in Callan. Photos: Michael P Ryan/Sportsfile.

Mullinahone 1-6

St. Brendan’s 0-6

Eanna O’Reilly in Callan

A gallant effort from St. Brendan’s ladies football team came up just short on Sunday in the All-Ireland Club Junior semi-final in Callan.

Tipperary and Munster champions Mullinahone proved to be a step too far for John Kilroy’s side in a game where St. Brendan’s never managed to lead on the scoreboard.

Nevertheless, this was an evenly contested semi-final and St. Brendan’s brought a huge effort and highly impressive work rate on the day. Very little separated the sides throughout the game, with Lorraine O’Shea’s first half goal keeping Mullinahone’s noses in front.

Although they got back to within a point on a couple of occasions, St. Brendan’s never managed to equalise the contest. Mullinahone did just enough to keep the Connacht champions at bay in a low scoring, hard fought struggle.

Mullinahone opened the scoring with a point from Kilkenny camogie star Denise Gaule, who was a huge presence for the Tipp side on the day. St. Brendan’s equalised with the next attack, which saw Liadan Greally kick a point from the right corner.

Lorraine O’Shea soon kicked an impressive score to put Mullinahone back in front, after a neat passing exchange with Aoibhe O’Shea. The O’Shea’s combined again shortly after, with Aoibhe putting Lorraine through on goal, before the latter fired to the bottom corner of the net past Sinéad Kelly.

With St. Brendan’s in need of scores, full forward Michelle Delaney stepped up to the plate and kicked three consecutive points. Delaney followed up a converted free with two points from play as she linked up effectively with Becca Conway on two occasions. A pointed free from Lorraine O’Shea saw Mullinahone take a 1-3 to 0-4 lead into the half time interval.

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

Galway Sports Stars award winners to be revealed next week

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Galway senior camogie captain Sarah Dervan, lifts the O'Duffy Cup after their All-Ireland final triumph over Cork at Croke Park last September.

By John McIntyre

GALWAY’S vibrancy as a sporting county will be underlined next week when the Medtronic Galway Sports Stars award winners of 2021 will be announced.

With the lifting of Covid hospitality restrictions, the Galway Sports Stars banquet will now go ahead in the Galway Bay Hotel on Saturday night, February 19.

After the historic achievement Olympic Games’ achievement of rowers Fiona Murtagh and Aifric Keogh, together with the Galway camogie team regaining the All-Ireland title, there will be no shortage of star talent to be honoured

There will also be a Hall of Fame recipient, somebody who has gone into sporting folklore. Who is that person? Find out in next week’s Connacht Tribune.

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