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Galway hurlers unfairly condemned

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The Galway team lines up for the National Anthem ahead of their All-Ireland qualifier against Tipperary in Thurles on Saturday evening. From left: David Collins, Jonathan Glynn, Daithi Burke, Jason Flynn, Conor Cooney, Iarla Tannian, Fergal Moore, Joe Canning, Ronan Burke, Cathal Mannion, Johnny Coen, Padraig Brehony, Colm Callanan, David Burke and Andy Smith.

ANOTHER reality check for Galway hurlers – not that it was needed – in Thurles on Saturday evening has led to the usual chorus of criticism of players and management from some supporters. You’d almost swear a few of them get a perverse pleasure in knocking them down.

Logic is the first thing dispensed with. Exiting Tullamore the previous Saturday after the replay loss to Kilkenny, I overheard one outraged fan uttering the damning if nonsensical line that ‘they didn’t even try’. What planet are people like this on?

It’s a pity the critics don’t have a first-hand insight into the staggering levels of commitment required now to perform at inter-county level as, maybe, that might soften the vitriol. These hurlers on the ditch are clueless about the sacrifices demanded and the overwhelming pressures on players’ time

It also might have done them no harm if they were in the tunnel underneath the old stand in Thurles last Saturday to see how cut up the Galway players were at how the last 20 minutes had unfolded in an All-Ireland Qualifier they had fought bravely in for so long.

Team captain Joe Canning was hardly able to talk, his watery eyes demonstrating aptly how crushed he was by another big day reversal. His predecessor in that role, Fergal Moore, managed a few sentences but he wore a haunted look. Both men were utterly distressed and aching. Even as their former manager, I felt I was intruding on their grief.

The reputations of everyone in the Galway camp are again being held up to public ridicule. Supporters who weren’t even at the game have all the answers, know what should have been done, who should have played and who should have been left off. It’s easy to win matches from the armchair.

Nobody knows better, or are hurting more this week, than the players and management over their late implosion at Semple Stadium. Leading by six points with 20 minutes to go and getting beaten by nine is unacceptable by any standard of competition.

Even allowing for battle fatigue, Galway shouldn’t have been taken to the cleaners to that extent. Instead, they were buried under a flood of Tipperary scores and appeared to have no ideas or plan to limit the damage.

Undoubtedly, a number of players didn’t perform to the expected level and though a series of changes were made during the course of the game, the one obvious one – taking the struggling Ronan Burke out of full back – wasn’t. Bringing on Damien Hayes with barely three minutes remaining was also something of an insult to one of the county’s great servants.

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

CITY TRIBUNE

O’Keeffe says season’s goal of winning promotion remains very much in United’s sights

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Conor O’Keeffe in action against Cobh Ramblers FC earlier this season. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

Galway United full-back Conor O’Keeffe insists there is no talk in the camp about the upcoming promotion play-offs, with all the focus each week being on the next game up for the side rather than the battle to join champions-elect Shelbourne in the top-flight next season.

A scoreless draw at home to Treaty United last weekend, coupled with a 2-0 win for Shelbourne away to Cork City, means the Dublin side has moved 10 points ahead of United at the top of the table with five games remaining.

Having lost just once all season – a defeat which was inflicted by United – the Tolka Park side are unlikely to let that 10-point lead slip, meaning that United’s hopes of promotion will rest with the play-offs.

O’Keeffe, who turns 28 on Sunday, says that promotion remains the goal of the squad, and that is the focus, not on the route that will be needed to secure that.

“We are taking things one game at a time, if you look beyond that, you forget to do that’s in front of you, so we are not even looking at the playoffs, you have to show up for each game.

“You have to take it just game by game, if you look farther ahead, you get a little carried away and you lose focus, and you just have to keep going.

“We just need to finish as high up the table as we can, anything can happen, it is a funny game at times, football, we have just got to believe – if you don’t believe there is no point, our goal is to get promoted and we still believe we can do that,” O’Keeffe says.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Favourites all advance with ease in the FAI Junior Cup

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Athenry's Seán O'Callaghan heads in his side's second goal despite the best efforts of Paddy Gannon and Shane Trill. Photo: Kennedy-Beirne/Eirefoto.

Soccer Wrap with Mike Rafferty

It might only have been the preliminary round of the FAI Junior Cup, but for certain teams with ambitions, it was hopefully the start of a long trail towards ultimate success, and the four fancied sides all advanced from their games with various degrees of comfort last weekend.

In the only all Premier Division clash, James Ryan secured the match winner as West United saw off St Bernard’s 1-0 in South Park. It was Ryan again who went closest to a second, but his effort on this occasion was thwarted by the woodwork. The victory sets them up for a First Round contest against Tuam Celtic on the last weekend of the month.

Hibernians were 3-2 winners over Dynamo Blues in Bohermore as Shane Hulgraine, Nathan Ward (striker) and an own goal were enough to see off the Tuam side for whom Alex Schmitt scored twice.

Scoreless at the break, Colga did all the damage against Bohemians on the resumption as they ran out 4-0 winners with Neil Greaney (3) and Colm McDonagh sharing the goals – Colga and Hibernians meet in the next round.

As to be expected Athenry were the most comfortable winners of the day as they defeated Renmore 6-0 with three goals coming in each-half. New central defender, Sean O’Callaghan, scored his first goals for the club as he notched a brace, while Adam Duffy, Declan Cullen, Colm O’Donovan and Garvan Broughall were also all on the mark as they set up a neighbourly contest with Corofin United.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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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

Galway United nearly there but scope for improvement

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Galway United's Joe Gorman on the ball against Kieran Hanlon of Treaty United FC during Friday night's First Division tie at Eamonn Deacy Park. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

Galway United 0

Treaty United 0

A contest between two evenly-matched teams finished in stalemate on Friday night, nudging both sides closer to the play-offs, but leaving neither in doubt that major improvement is needed if they are to escape the doldrums of the First Division.

United shaded things in the first-half, with the visitors being the marginally better side for much of the second until they were reduced to 10 men with the dismissal of former United man, Marc Ludden.

Already providing a stubborn and frustrating resistance to their hosts, Treaty dug in even further following that 73rd minute red card, and with United struggling to find their mojo of late, the game petered out into that predictable scoreless draw.

The league takes another break this weekend with the quarter-finals of the FAI Cup taking centre stage, giving the United camp some additional time to find that spark that has been missing for the past three games following that stirring 3-1 win over Shelbourne in mid-August.

With free-scoring UCD up next for United, that additional time needs to be well spent for, while United are almost assured of the play-offs, they have serious work to do to if they are to take confidence and momentum into those play-offs, and the visit of the Students to the Dyke Road on Friday week will really test the home side.

John Caulfield made two changes to the team which beat Cabinteely the previous week, with Luke Dennison coming in for the suspended Conor Kearns in goals, while Stephen Walsh replaced Alex Murphy at left-back.

The game was preceded by a thunderous minute’s applause from both home and away fans for the late Sam Oji, a man who graced the jersey of both Galway United and of Treaty United’s predecessor, Limerick FC, who died suddenly last month from cancer at the age of just 35.

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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