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Inside Track

Galway men are no busted flush heading to Thurles

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Chairman, of the Galway Race Commitee, Terry Cunningham, with trainer Gordon Elliott and John Moloney, General Manager, Galway Racetrack, at the launch of the Galway Summer Festival at Elliott’s yard in Longwood, Co Meath. Photo: Andrew Downes.

Inside Track with John McIntyre

Galway hurling supporters would have travelled to Tullamore last Saturday evening with renewed faith in the team on the back of their explosive finish to the drawn Leinster semi-final, but instead of the expected improvement the Tribesmen went backwards. And there can be no complaints about bowing out of the provincial championship even if the eight-point margin of defeat was a harsh reflection on their overall contribution to an absorbing contest.

Once more Galway failed to push on after generating excitement about their championship potential just six days earlier but, unlike some occasions in the past, this was no flop or self implosion before a near capacity crowd in O’Connor Park. It was simply that a lot of their difficulties were the product of a more consistent and vigorous effort by Kilkenny’s reshuffled forces over the 70 minutes. Ultimately, the better equipped team carried the day and there is no escaping that reality.

Both managements carried out major surgery to their ranks for the replay, but it was the Kilkenny changes – both personnel and positional – which really had a defining influence on the outcome. Jackie Tyrell, restored to corner back, hurled up a storm, the recalled Brian Hogan put the shackles on Joe Canning on the forty, while Padraig Walsh proved a revelation in his surprising new role of centre forward in a sector where the outstanding TJ Reid ruthlessly punished persistent opposition fouling in the opening half.

In contrast, the Galway alterations failed to pay off. Both Joseph Cooney and Jonathan Glynn had probably played themselves onto the team on the basis of their positive impact in the drawn semi-final, but neither of them ever really got to the tempo of the match. Cooney was taken off – Glynn could have gone too – as was the third change in personnel, Paul Killeen, who struggled to tie down Reid and appeared overwhelmed by the physicality and intensity of the exchanges. In the Tynagh man’s defence, he had been thrown in at the deep end.

Of course, nobody in the crowd of over 17,000 knew what team Galway were sending into battle until two minutes before the throw in. This growing practice of trying to keep the opposition guessing until the eleventh hour is a nonsense and Galway supporters who dug deep into their pockets for the replay deserved more respect. Kilkenny made several changes from the programme too, but their reshuffling was made known – at least to the media – an hour before the start.

Though huge credit has to be afforded Kilkenny for absorbing and heeding the lessons of the previous weekend, Galway hardly helped their cause with some needless fouling, unforced errors, poor distribution and an over-reliance on the route one approach for scores. To compound matters, Cooney, Glynn, Canning and Niall Burke all failed to score from play, while the repeated first half tactic of long puck outs down the right flank only served to make a hero of Cillian Buckley.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

 

Connacht Tribune

Joyce is right – Galway better off to target league glory than muddle on

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Galway’s Matthew Tierney on the ball against Mayo’s Conor Loftus during Saturday's National Football League tie at MacHale Park. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

Inside Track with John McIntyre

YOU could sympathise with Padraic Joyce’s frustration after Saturday evening’s rip-roaring National Football League clash at MacHale Park. Better game management in the closing minutes would have seen Galway over the line and dealt an early season blow to the new Kevin McStay led Mayo management.

In shades of their league tie against Monaghan in June of 2021 when Galway ended up being relegated after holding a winning hand, they were almost home, albeit clinging to a slender one-point advantage. Mayo were pressing desperately in trying to salvage a draw, but their hopes appeared dashed when Ryan O’Donoghue’s free from the left sideline dropped short.

Referee Joe McQuillan was about to blow the final whistle as Cathal Sweeney emerged with the ball only for the Salthill/Knocknacarra man to cough up possession by attempting a risky kick pass to a teammate. The delivery was over-hit, and the lively Donoghue pounced to bravely drive over the equaliser to send the Mayo fans in the big crowd of almost 14,000 into raptures.

Mayo’s second last point was also avoidable. Again, Galway had possession with Peter Cooke, who had just landed a mighty long-range free. Instead, however, of trying to force his way up the field, the Maigh Cuilinn player turned back towards his own posts, came under pressure, and ended up giving the ball away cheaply.  Galway players should remember that when under the cosh, the sideline is your friend.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

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

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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.

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Connacht Tribune

Early reality check might prove a good thing for Galway footballers

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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.

 

 

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