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

Inside Track

Galway hurlers way off pace and lucky to get away with it

Published

on

St Thomas camogie team

Inside Track with John McIntyre

Sometimes being forewarned makes little difference as Galway hurlers almost discovered to their huge cost in Portlaoise last Sunday. They would have headed to the midlands venue under no illusions about what lay ahead of them and the tactics the home team would employ, but the Tribesmen were still clueless in their attempts to counteract the opposition’s packed defensive lines in scraping into the Leinster semi-final.

Galway had just survived a similar ambush at the same venue 12 months earlier, so they knew what to expect in this repeat encounter against Laois only to blindly stumble their way to a fortunate victory despite making a terrific start against the influential elements. Ultimately, that unanswered burst of 1-3 saved them from being completely wiped out in the first half and a probable embarrassing defeat.

Goodness knows, it was bad enough anyway as a well drilled Laois outfit subsequently outscored their visitors by 16 points to four from there to the interval. Wind or no wind, this was a shocking indictment of Galway’s poor play and had Neil Foyle not spurned a clear-cut goal scoring opportunity in the 32nd minute, the maroon dam could have been burst completely.

Defending in numbers and cleverly freeing up their shooters to fire at the opposition posts, often from long range, Laois gave themselves a great platform to pull off the biggest upset in the championship in years. It was still a tantalising prospect heading into injury time but goalkeeper Eoin Reilly was unable to conjure up a Roy of the Rovers finale from a late 20m free. They deserved better as Galway struggled for long periods to match their hosts’ intensity and sheer heart.

Though Laois were facing into their fifth championship outing on consecutive weekends, they were clearly much sharper than sluggish opponents whose persistence in bombing high balls down on their full forward line in the second-half proved naive in the extreme. Galway were simply too one-dimensional and needed to mix it up, but they were impatient and found it difficult to produce the expected fluid team-work on the team’s championship debut.

For much of this contest, Galway were shambolic as poor defending, loose marking, a below average work ethic and flawed tactics ensured they more than flirted with a disastrous outcome. In the circumstances, it is to the team’s credit that they manage to survive thanks largely to a strong closing quarter surge as their greater technical ability finally becoming influential with substitute Jason Flynn proving his worth with three priceless points.

It was hard to imagine this Leinster quarter-final going down to the wire after Galway flew out of the blocks with points from Johnny Coen, David Burke and the tireless Padraig Breheny augmenting an admittedly scrappy goal from Jonathan Glynn in the third minute. It was a demoralising start for Laois, but heads never dropped and they went on to dominate the remainder of the opening half action with Joe Fitzpatrick, the impressive Tommy Fitzgerald, Willie Hyland, Tom Delaney and Foyle among those bombing over rousing points. At the other end, Conor Coney was the only Galway forward making a significant impact on a day Joe Canning was again extremely subdued.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune

Galway under a little pressure to stop Mayo’s early-season gallop

Published

on

Hall of Fame award winner Tommy Joe Gilmore with his daughter Olivia, his son Brian and daughter in-law Karen Monks at the Metronic Galway Sports Stars banquet in the Galway Bay Hotel on Friday night. Photo: Iain McDonald.

Inside Track with John McIntyre

We won’t even have reached the end of January and the paths of Connacht’s great footballing rivals will have already crossed twice, with the prospect of more clashes between Galway and Mayo before the end of the inter-county season in late July.

The early 2023 bragging rights have gone to Mayo manager Kevin McStay after their defeat of the Tribesmen in the semi-final of the FBD League – a competition they went on to win last weekend with a comfortable 0-13 to 0-9 victory over Roscommon in the Connacht Air Dome.

Though both teams were in understandably experimental mode, Mayo managed to secure this pre-season competition for the first time in a decade with late points from Cillian O’Connor and Conor Loftus sealing the deal. In the overall scheme of things, the FBD league doesn’t count for much but delivering some silverware so early into his tenure won’t do McStay’s management any harm.

Naturally, Mayo will be anxious to keep the momentum going in Saturday evening’s televised National League clash at MacHale Park, especially given that they narrowly failed to Galway in last year’s provincial championship. A first-half Johnny Heaney goal and some quality free-taking from Shane Walsh just about saw the Tribesmen through in the face of a late siege by the home team.

Galway boss Padraic Joyce kept a sense of perspective after that early season loss to Mayo a couple of weeks ago, but he was blunt enough in assessing the merits or otherwise of some of the players being trialled. Joyce is experienced in the post now and knows what he is looking for. And having led Galway to league promotion, the Connacht title and the All-Ireland final last year, he has earned that leverage to call it as he sees it.

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

Early reality check might prove a good thing for Galway footballers

Published

on

Galway’s Johnny Heaney secures possession against Mayo’s Jack Coyne during Saturday's Connacht FBD League semi-final in Bekan. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

Inside Track with John McIntyre

IF the Galway footballers and team management needed any reminding that their substantial progress in 2022 offers no guarantees for the season ahead, they would have got in spades in Bekan on Saturday evening. Losing a FBD League semi-final to arch-rivals Mayo is no big deal in itself, but does underline the reality that the Tribesmen can’t take for granted building on last year’s achievements. And that may be no bad thing in the long run.

Naturally, Padraic Joyce would have preferred if Galway had got over the line at the weekend, especially in the context of preventing Mayo building up early season momentum under new manager Kevin McStay. In the end, he was probably grateful his team were only three points adrift after a difficult second quarter.

When Mayo went 2-10 to 0-5 ahead early in the second-half, it appeared Galway might suffer a hiding. Their goals came from Jordan Carr and Paul Towey, with Matthew Ruane and Jordan Flynn dominant around midfield. Mayo were also performing with the greater energy.

Gradually, however, Galway got to the pitch of the battle, thanks in no small way to the telling contribution of substitute Tomo Culhane, a player who didn’t make the match-day squad for last year’s All-Ireland final. The Salthill/Knocknacarra clubman scored 2-2 after coming on to revive the Tribesmen’s challenge

With Matthew Tierney also finding the opposition net, Galway were belatedly building up a head off steam. Mayo, however, just did enough to hold on with Towey, Aiden Orme and Bryan Walsh picking off some invaluable points, although it took Rory Byrne’s late save from Nathan Grainger to keep their noses in front.

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

Galway hurlers and footballers get the handy stuff out of the way first

Published

on

Maigh Cuilinn's Owen Gallagher is challenged by Conor Glass of Glen during Sunday's All-Ireland Club Senior Football semi-final at Croke Park. Photo: Daire Brennan/ Sportsfile.

Inside Track with John McIntyre

Well, that was the expected seamless start to the new GAA season for the Galway footballers and hurlers in their weekend tournament fixtures. Neither team endured too much hardship in assembling big winning margins over Leitrim and Westmeath respectively.

Padraic Joyce’s footballers were first into action in Bekan last Friday evening. Though they were only facing a Division Four outfit, the Tribesmen fielded a strong enough team, including recalled trio John Maher, Barry McHugh and Ian Burke. As expected, the result was never in doubt as Galway sauntered to a 3-21 to 1-13 win.

Their star man was Rob Finnerty, who finished the game with 2-7, including a haul of 1-4 from play. Ian Burke was also impressive on his return to the inter-county scene, with both Seán Fitzgerald and Billy Mannion putting in big shifts at the heart of the Galway defence. They will face a big rise in tempo and class in Saturday’s semi-final against Mayo at the same venue.

It’s been a challenging start for new Mayo boss Kevin McStay. Losing Oisín Mullin to Australian Rules was bad enough, but the news this week that Lee Keegan – surely the greatest footballer never to have won an All-Ireland senior medal – is hanging up the inter-county boots is an incalculable blow to Mayo’s prospects for the year ahead.

The 33-year-old has given his heart and soul to the county’s cause over a decade of sterling service. Keegan always kept coming back for more despite suffering the kind of big-day agony which would have broken most players. The former Footballer of the Year won five All-Stars awards and seven Connacht championships, but his team simply couldn’t get over the line in All-Ireland finals.

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