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Galway primed to gain revenge on Roscommon in Connacht final

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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.

Connacht Tribune

Strong third quarter proves the key to Galway’s victory

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Galway’s Niamh Hanniffy on the ball against Clare’s Sinead Conlon during Saturday's All-Ireland senior camogie championship group tie at Kenny Park. Photos: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

Galway 2-12

Clare 2-6

Eanna O’Reilly at Kenny Park

THE Galway senior camogie team made it two wins from two in their championship campaign, overcoming a hard-working Clare side on a hot afternoon in Kenny Park last Saturday.

A strong third quarter performance from Cathal Murray’s side, during which they outscored their opponents by 2-3 to 0-1, saw Galway take control of the contest. Although they conceded two late goals to the visitors, the Tribeswomen finished strongly with the last three points of the game to record a comfortable win.

Clare brought impressive physicality and work rate in the first half, and it was clear that the home side weren’t going to have it all their own way. The visitors tackled hard and closed down space for the Tribeswomen, particularly in the opening half, forcing Galway to roll up their sleeves and dig in. Aoife Donohue opened the scoring in the fourth minute, after a good attacking move involving the McGrath sisters.

The next ten minutes were quite scrappy, with both sides trying to take a foothold in a congested middle third. Chloe Morey pointed two frees for the Banner to put them ahead in the 13th minute, but Galway replied immediately at the other end. Some good work from Siobhán McGrath saw her win possession under pressure and play a pass to Catherine Finnerty, who pointed impressively.

Siobhán McGrath edged Galway ahead with a pointed free, before Morey equalised with her third to leave the sides at 0-3 apiece at the water break. Clare were competing very well but spurned some good point scoring opportunities in the first quarter. They went ahead however, with a good point from Morey, before Niamh McGrath pointed a free from the right wing to equalise. Niamh Kilkenny then got a terrific score, after making a great block on Clare’s Róisín McMahon, to put the home side in front by the minimum at half time.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Tribesmen only come to life when game done and dusted

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Galway's Jason Flynn shoots to the net for his first goal in the closing stages of Saturday's All-Ireland hurling qualifier in Thurles. Photo: Harry Murphy/Sportsfile.

Waterford 1-30

Galway 3-20

IN a way, it might have been better if Galway hadn’t tantalisingly teased us about how things could have worked out so differently during their unexpected final quarter resurgence in this spell-binding All-Ireland hurling qualifier at Semple Stadium, Thurles on Sunday.

Nobody wants to see their team beaten out the gate, but if that had been the Tribesmen’s fate – and for three quarters of the game it looked the only outcome – the result would have been more palatable to digest on the basis that the men in maroon just ran into a vastly superior force on the day.

Instead, Galway belatedly showed what they had in their locker in astonishingly reducing a yawning 16-point deficit to just three points by the 70th minute. They had all the momentum as 14-man Waterford were clinging on for dear life.

Nearly seven minutes of injury-time remained on the clock and the 4,400 sundrenched attendance stood on the brink of witnessing the greatest comeback in the history of inter-county hurling.

But typical of the inconsistency which continues to scourge Galway at the top level, their grandstand finish stalled and, significantly, Waterford somehow found the necessary reserves of stamina and character to land four of the last five scores.

On the balance of play, any outcome other than a Waterford victory would have been a travesty. They hurled Galway off the park for 55 minutes with their searing pace and support lines of running leaving their opponents chasing shadows.

A measure of Waterford’s dominance in the opening half, for instance, was that their half-back line of Calum Lyons, Shane Bennett and Kieran Bennett scored more from play than the entire Galway forward sector.

All over the field, Waterford’s hard running saw them carve open their opponents at will. Galway had no answers and not even their most die-hard supporter could argue against the merits of the Deise’s interval lead of a dozen points, 1-18 to 0-9.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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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 a beaten docket long before the end at Croke Park

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Galway's Johnny Heaney comes under pressure from Oisín Mullen of Mayo during Sunday's Connacht Football Final at Croke Park. Photo: Harry Murphy/Sportsfile.

By Pádraic Ó Ciardha

THERE are games where the margin on the scoreboard doesn’t reflect the true gap between the sides and last Sunday’s Connacht Football Final certainly felt like one of them. With 66 minutes on the clock, Galway trailed Mayo by just two points, a kick of the ball between them, but in reality, the Tribesmen looked a beaten docket long before then. On the scale of six point defeats, this one was a whopper.

In last year’s Connacht Final in Pearse Stadium, Galway recovered from a poor first half display to come within a point of Mayo. This year, Pádraic Joyce’s side threw away a strong position at half-time, five points to the good, with a capitulation as bad as any seen from the county in recent or not so recent memory. The post-mortem will be a long and difficult one for both players and management as they must wait until next spring for the chance to put things right.

In truth, that five point cushion at half-time papered over a lot of cracks in Galway’s first half performance. By their own manager’s account, Galway only reached 30 or 40 per cent of their potential in that first period. The problem was that those levels plummeted in the second half.

For their part, James Horan said after the game that there was no panic in the Mayo dressing room at half-time and, on reflection, their contentment was justified. Mayo had the majority of possession during the first half and were it not for some awful shooting, could have been much closer, or even level, at half-time.

Even Galway’s goals came thanks to, in large parts, Mayo switching off, although Shane Walsh still deserves huge credit for his role in both. For Walsh’s goal in the 19th minute, Lee Keegan literally stood still as the Galway captain blazed past him to pick up the rebound from Paul Conroy’s shot before blasting past Rob Hennelly in goal.

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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