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Galway hurling and football camps critical of ‘Stone Age’ training facilities

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The Connacht Centre of Excellence in Bekan, Co Mayo, which the Galway hurlers have had to use due to a lack of training facilities in their own county.

STONE Age training facilities are jeopardising the All-Ireland championship prospects of the Galway hurlers and footballers this year.

Sources in both camps report a growing frustration among the managements and players over the lack of a dedicated training complex for the preparation of the county’s flagship GAA teams.

The atrocious weather in recent months has put into perspective just how ill-equipped Galway GAA is when it comes to catering for its county teams which have, on occasion, had to travel to Bekan in Mayo to prepare.

These concerns were not only due to be brought to the officers of the County Committee this week but also the depth of the concerns the management and players from both camps have in relation to the dearth of training facilities were also to be expressed.

With the Summer months approaching, and hopefully an upturn in the weather, the situation should improve for both county set-ups but a source within the Galway hurling camp, who does not wish to be named, believed that should not detract from a problem that needs an expedient solution.

“It is not at crisis point yet, only because the weather is improving, but, again, what happens down the line,” the source began. “It is now the middle of April and there have been less than 20 field sessions done.”

Given most of the counties around the country have their own Centre of Excellence, Galway’s inter-county sides are in real danger of falling behind. “Training was cancelled one night because there was nowhere to go and then you see the likes of the Wicklow with their four sand-based pitches or Meath with their facilities in Dungany.”

Indeed, the source outlined that the Friday night before Galway’s National League game against Kilkenny, the management and players arrived down to Ballinasloe to find the gates locked. “Ultimately, the gates did open but that was only after a number of phone calls were made,” the source added.

Adding to their concerns is that their rivals are racing ahead in terms of the infrastructure being made available to them.

For instance, Clare, who will replace Galway in Division 1A of the National Hurling League next year, finally opened their Centre of Excellence at Caherlohan thanks to a Munster Council grant of €500,000, a portion of which was also earmarked for the redevelopment of Cusack Park in Ennis.

For more, read this week’s Galway City 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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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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