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Galway primed to gain revenge on Roscommon in Connacht final

Francis Farragher

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IT is hard to credit that just less than a year ago Roscommon footballers sent Galway into temporary freefall with a resounding Connacht final victory at Pearse Stadium after being virtually written off in the run-up to the provincial decider.

Since then a lot has happened in both counties – most of it positive – but the build-up to Sunday’s Connacht final at Dr. Hyde Park (4pm) pretty much replicates what was happening last year.

Galway, after an invigorating Division 1 league campaign that brought them to a final showdown with All-Ireland champions Dublin, are red hot favourites at 4/9 to regain their Connacht title but the bookies’ odds won’t bother Kevin McStay’s charges one jot.

Roscommon also enjoyed a very productive Spring, winning promotion back to Division 1 after a one-year exile, before going on to take the Division 2 title thanks to a 4-16 to 4-12 ‘shoot-out’ victory over Cavan in Croke Park.

The Rossies are available at 9/4 with the bookies and those odds will be taken up by a fair quota of their die-hard fans, who will fancy their chances on home soil, of emulating last year’s success in Salthill.

Without doubt, Roscommon are settled and ready for this tie, with McStay not beating around the bush as regards team selection, his starting fifteen being announced at the weekend with 33 fit players out of a panel of 34.

Their only absentee is Ciarán Lennon – out with a broken thumb – as Roscommon make no changes from the side that defeated Leitrim by 0-24 to 0-10 at Carrick-on-Shannon a couple of weeks back.

Twelve different players scored in that defeat of Leitrim and a feature of Roscommon’s National League journey through Division 2 was their scoring exploits, with their only faux pas coming against Down early on in the campaign, when they only clocked up seven points.

That has very much been the exception with them. They put together some huge scores though in their other seven matches: 0-17 v. Cork; 0-15, Cavan; 2-19, Clare; 1-21, Louth; 1-17, Tipperary; 2-12, Meath and a quite remarkable 4-16 in the Division 2 decider against Cavan.

Galway on the other hand have enjoyed the considerable advantage of playing against higher quality and faster teams in Division 1 of the league with wins over Tyrone, Monaghan, Mayo, Kerry, Donegal and Kildare, as well as a credible draw against Dublin in Pearse Stadium, and an honourable four-point defeat (0-18 to 0-14) against the All-Ireland champions in the league decider.

Last year, Roscommon might have ended up close to the bottom of Division 1, but like Galway this year, they did have the advantage of playing their Spring football at the higher level – and it told last July in Salthill.

Full preview in this week’s Connacht Tribune.

CITY TRIBUNE

Connacht striving for greater consistency in home league tie with the Ospreys

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Connacht prop Denis Buckley who believes they still have areas to improve on from the Zebre rout for Saturday's visit of the Ospreys.

CONNACHT are looking to build some momentum again in the next few weeks off the back of a free-scoring win in Zebre last Sunday. Their quest for consistency might well prove to be the story of the season, if they can find it in the coming few weeks then you can reasonably expect them to win the two upcoming home games and put themselves firmly into second place in their conference heading into the European break. Anything less than that, just won’t cut it.

First up on this run is this Saturday’s clash with the Ospreys at the Sportsground (7:30pm). Much like the Scarlets game two weeks ago, the visitors are without a whole host of frontline Welsh internationals and struggling for form. They scrapped over the line at home to Benetton last weekend for a third win in seven outings but can count Zebre among their four defeats. A must win then for Connacht. Yes, we’ve been here before.

Conditions will be a challenge again. Parma last weekend offered a rare and welcome respite from the wind and rain facing them most nights. Connacht seem to like the hard ground and dry nights but they’re all too aware that they need to adapt better when running rugby isn’t as easy to produce such as was the case in the defeat to the Scarlets. After the game in Italy last week, Andy Friend acknowledged as much.

“It was a beautiful day in Parma, you could see the excitement with that so it certainly helps. We live in Galway so we have to be the team that functions well. We got to be the team that functions whether the weather is good, bad or indifferent. So it’s nice in this game but against the Ospreys we have to be ready for something different and we have to be the team that fronts up and plays a brand of football that still wins.”

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

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Connacht Tribune

Curran, Melody and Molloy all leave Utd as Caulfield confirms two new signings

Keith Kelly

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Enda Curran, pictured after scoring a goal for Galway United against Wexford in the season just finished, has left the club. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

The comings and goings have continued at Galway United in the past week, with the club busy re-signing players fork last season, adding some new faces, as well as confirming the departure of players who were part of the 2020 squad.

Having already said goodbye to the sextet of Conor Barry, Joe Collins, Vinny Faherty, Jack Lynch, Timo Partheons, and Josh Smith, the club this week confirmed the departure of three more players: Enda Curran (89 appearances, 20 goals), Conor Melody (108 appearances, five goals), and Timmy Molloy (16 appearances, no goals).

Curran was signed for United as an 18-years-old by Sean Connor ahead of the 2011 season and made his debut in the opening game of that campaign, coming on as a substitute for the injured Neal Keane in the 43rd of a 3-0 defeat at home to St Patrick’s Athletic.

He made a total of 13 appearances for United that season, and he was back with the Tribesmen for United’s return to the national league in the 2014 season, when he made eight appearances, scoring his first goal for United in the first of those games, coming off the bench to score in the 5-0 win at home to Shamrock Rovers B in July.

His most productive season for United was the following year’s campaign, when he scored 12 goals in 25 appearances in the Premier Division for United (he made 29 league and cup appearance in total that season), including his one and only hat-trick for the club, coming in the 5-0 win away to Bray Wanderers in April.

The following month, he had the distinction of scoring two penalties in a single game, in the 5-3 win over Bohemians.

That haul of a dozen goals saw him finish as the club’s joint top-scorer in the league that season alongside Jake Keegan, though the US striker finished as overall top scorer on 16 goals thanks to 2 goals in the FAI Cup, and two in the League Cup.

For more, read this week’s Galway City 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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CITY TRIBUNE

Galway’s improved conversion rate central to toppling champs

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Galway’s Jason Flynn follows the flight of the ball against Tipperary's Padraic Maher during Saturday's All-Ireland hurling quarter-final at the Gaelic Grounds. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

By Patrick Earley

MATCHES between Galway and Tipperary don’t get any easier to watch do they? Back and forth throughout, there wasn’t a moment where you could be confident of a Galway win until Johnny Murphy eventually sounded the final whistle.

Even that was stressful. Surely, after Joe Canning had pointed the final free of the game that should have been it? Murphy had played well over the indicated time of three minutes and Galway had cleared Tipp’s final venture forward before Evan Niland won that free but still, Tipp got one more chance and it took Daithi Burke to come up with a massive win in the Galway danger area for Murphy to decide that he’d seen enough.

That feeling at the final whistle was as sweet as in 2015 and ’17. Galway had faced adversity but had shown the courage and composure to weather the storm and come up with the big plays when they needed to edge ahead come full-time.

Make no mistake about it, this wasn’t a vintage Galway display. In terms of overall quality and individual performances, it was probably down a notch or two from the Leinster final display.

Conditions had a fair bit to do with that, for though the day itself was favourable, underfoot conditions were soft making life tricky for both sides.

Two Galway slips led to Tipperary goals – that’s not something you can plan for but that’s what transpired and after responding superbly to the concession of the first goal to Seamus Callanan, Patrick ‘Bonner’ Maher’s second came at a time where Tipp were in the ascendency and rocked Galway.

Leading by two at the first water break and four points by the 23rd minute, it seemed inconceivable that Galway would trail by four at the break but such is the nature of Galway vs Tipperary games, momentum changes and the Premier County capitalised to devastating affect in the final 10 minutes of the half.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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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