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Galway scrape home in Leinster opener

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GALWAY boss Anthony Cunningham has paid tribute to the character of his players after the Tribesmen recovered from a seven-point second half deficit to narrowly edge out a plucky Laois outfit in a tense Leinster senior hurling quarter-final at O’Moore Park, Portlaoise on Sunday.

With Galway trailing 0-16 to 1-7 to a wind-assisted Laois at half-time – and falling further behind when the home side extended this advantage to seven with a Charlie Dwyer sideline cut on 39 minutes – Cunningham must have, in a sporting context, watched his life flash before his eyes.

In any event, he didn’t portray any such inner turmoil at his post match briefing, paying tribute to both his charges and the resurgence of Laois hurling under their manager Seamus Plunkett.

“Laois are a very good team and I think the hurling public have to acknowledge that. They are as good as any team you will meet now and it was a great match for us – a great match to win. It took great character from us in the second half,” began the St. Thomas’ man.

“We started well and then we had 20 minutes where we were out of sorts. In saying that, there was a big wind there but we knew we still had the capability and the skill but mentally we had to show that [to come back in the second half]

“Look it, there is a lot of character in this team and it took a lot of character to come back in a match like that. They had to show that and we had to persevere. You have to stick with it because you will have days when you might not be going as well as you can and it is then you need character from the team.”

In saying that, Cunningham acknowledged the overall performance of his side was not acceptable, adding: “To be honest, our first half performance there would be way off championship hurling but, our second – we got some great scores there in the second half – that is something we can build on. We will have to put 70 minutes of that together.”

See full coverage in this week’s Sentinel.

CITY TRIBUNE

Weld rolls back the years as Coltor proves best in feature

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Trainer Dermot Weld in the winners' enclosure at Ballybrit on Monday evening after saddling Caltor to land the featured Connacht Hotel Amateur Handicap. Photo: Iain McDonald.

HE may be disposed as the ‘King of Ballybrit’, but Dermot Weld hasn’t lost his touch for training big-race winners at the Galway Summer Festival.

Monday’s feature – the €100,000 Connacht Hotel Amateur Handicap – saw a maximum field of 20 runners face the starter and through the stable currently dominant at Galway threw six darts at the bullseye, it was Weld who hit the target with 14/1 shot Coltor.

A second consecutive win for jockey Finian Maguire in the most prestigious event on the racing calendar for amateur riders, however, looked unlikely as one of Willie Mullins’ half-dozen challengers travelled by far the best of the field around the home turn.

The well-fancied Foveros and Aubrey McMahon had just picked off the lone UK challenger, the pace-setting Litterale Ci, leaving the six-year-old poised to give the Mullins yard a fourth win in the last five runnings of the two-mile contest.

Though hard at work on market drifter Coltor, Maguire finally got the penny to drop inside the final 100 yards and Weld’s challenger swooped close to the line to deny Foveros by the three quarters of a length.

It was Weld’s first win in Monday’s feature since the Jane Mangan partnered Midnight Music obliged in 2012, prior to which he had won the race three times in a row between 2007 and 2009. This was his eighth victory in the race as a trainer.

“It’s a lovely race to win, it has been a very lucky race for me as a trainer and I also won it four times as an amateur jockey, starting as a 15-year-old,” said Weld.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Hurling legend Canning to hang up his inter county playing boots

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MOMENT IN TIME: Joe Canning celebrates scoring Galway's winning point against Tipperary in the 2017 All-Ireland semi-final. Joe announced his inter-county retirement this week.

HE couldn’t stay going forever and the rumour mill was in overdrive after Galway’s wipe-out by Waterford in Thurles last Saturday, but the thought of never again seeing Joe Canning in a maroon jersey is a scary one.

Recognised as one of the game’s greatest ever players and hurling’s record championship scorer of all-time, the Portumna ace has called time on a brilliant career ahead of his 33rd birthday in October.

A superb striker, lethal free-taker and the best exponent of the sideline cut we have ever seen, Canning’s extraordinary scoring deeds on the hurling fields will stand the test of time and he deserves to be feted in the same legendary company as Mick Mackey, Christy Ring, Jimmy Doyle and Henry Shefflin.

He burst onto the inter-county scene in 2008 and almost single-handily prevented Cork from winning their All-Ireland qualifier clash in Thurles, scoring 2-12 in a sensational individual display.

Many more were to come for Galway and if one was to nominate a moment in time from his inter-county playing days, it would surely be his superb winning point from the Cusack Stand side of the field in the Tribesmen’s epic 2017 All-Ireland triumph over Tipperary.

That was the year Canning finally got his hands on a cherished All-Ireland senior medal as Galway ended a near 30-year wait for the McCarthy Cup by overcoming Waterford in the All-Ireland final at Croke Park.

His tally of nine points against the same county in Saturday’s disappointing qualifier loss was enough for him to overhaul Shefflin as the championship’s record scorer – Canning assembling an extraordinary 27 goals and 485 points in nine games less.

Five times an All-Star, Hurler of the Year in 2017, winner of two minor and one U21 All-Ireland medal, Canning was also a strong presence in the county’s National League triumphs of 2010 and ’17.

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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CITY TRIBUNE

Flattering Galway footballers blown away by Mayo impressive in second-half

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Galway's Shane Walsh gets the ball away against Lee Keegan of Mayo during Sunday's Connacht Senior Football Final at Croke Park. Photo: Ray McManus/Sportsfile.

Mayo 2-14

Galway 2-8

NO elite GAA team in the country has had their fortunes turned upside down more by Covid-19 than the Galway footballers. Flying high before the pandemic hit Ireland last Spring, the Tribesmen have been struggling to get off the ground in the interim.

Since the resumption of inter-county activity last October, Galway have played nine competitive matches and bar league and championship wins over Roscommon, it’s been one defeat after another. Not alone that, they shipped a couple of terrible pastings in the league and have also lost their Division One status.

Their latest defeat came in only the second ever Connacht Final to be staged at Croke Park last Sunday. Unlike the county’s hurlers the previous day, Galway weren’t caught napping or passive in the opening-half. Padraic Joyce’s team were up for the fight.

Despite losing two potentially influential players – Seán Kelly and Rob Finnerty – due to leg injuries at opposite ends of the field inside the opening 25 minutes, an undaunted and well-organised Galway had the champions on the rack at half-time.

Five points clear (2-5 to 0-6) after two thunderbolts from Shane Walsh and Damien Comer, Galway were throwing down the gauntlet to Mayo in no uncertain terms. They had worked themselves into a position where regaining the Nestor Cup was a strong possibility.

Unfortunately, Galway’s challenge disintegrated on the resumption – a scenario not helped by a shoulder injury to Walsh sustained in an off-the-ball incident before the break which eventually forced his retirement. They didn’t score at all in the third quarter and only managed three pointed frees from Matthew Tierney over the entire second-half.

Sure, the strong wind was a factor in helping a more seasoned Mayo team take over, but the scale of Galway’s collapse made for unpalatable viewing. Players like Paul Conroy, Johnny Heaney, Dylan McHugh, Kieran Molloy, Tierney, Comer and Walsh who were on the front foot over the opening 35 minutes became increasingly marginalised.

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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