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Inside Track

Galway teams fail to deliver on a disappointing weekend

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Galway's Aidan Harte shows plenty of determination as he tries to break free from Cork's Alan Cadogan during Sunday's National League Division 1A relegation play-off at Pearse Stadium. Photo: Stephen Glennon.

Inside Track with John McIntyre

IT was a forgettable weekend for the county’s four flagship sporting teams. Galway hurlers were relegated for the first time in 25 years; the Galway footballers failed to deliver in their promotion battle with Cavan; Galway United’s early season gallop was halted at Tallaght Stadium; while Connacht’s desperate record in Ravenhill continues.

Starting with the hurlers, and though it has to be acknowledged that a system where a team which is only beaten twice in their group campaign ends up fighting for survival in Division One in a play-off with a team which has won no match is fundamentally flawed, their defeat to Cork at Pearse Stadium was still a major disappointment.

There were some mitigating circumstances for Galway’s eclipse, notably a defensive injury crisis which was compounded when Aidan Hate was forced to retire approaching half-time, while Cork did have a motivational edge having lost to the Tribesmen in the opening round of the league at the same venue last February.

For all that and given the Rebels’ struggles of late, this was a game Galway ought to have been winning and they looked like doing so when they led by 0-23 to 0-20 heading down the home stretch, only to concede match-winning goals to Seamus Harnedy and the influential Pat Horgan. Conor Lehane was another thorn in the home team’s side, finishing the game with six points from play to his credit.

In contrast, 13 of Galway’s 25 points came from placed balls, all from Joe Canning, who didn’t manage to find the target from play on a day Cathal Mannion and Niall Burke bagged a half dozen between them. Given the high stakes, it was discouraging that the men in maroon struggled so badly early on, falling nine points to four down after only 12 minutes. To Galway’s credit, heads didn’t drop but just when they appeared to have turned the tide late in the match, they were unable to close the deal as Cork pulled off the great escape.

Though relegation is not a disaster in itself, given the backdrop to the appointment of Micheal Donoghue as new team manager last winter, it’s still probably the last thing Galway needed. The pressure was already on the players after their heave against Anthony Cunningham, but the strain has now increased sharply. Losing Division One status was not the kind of statement they intended to make to back up their off-field actions, and it can’t help morale in the camp either ahead of the championship.

Neither will the Galway footballers be heading towards the summer with a spring in their step. Though failing to win any of their home matches in Division Two, they still had picked up sufficient points to have their promotion destiny in the team’s own hands when facing resurgent Cavan at Breffni Park last Sunday. It was looking good for the visitors too when they led by 1-4 to 1-1 during the opening quarter, with the goal an opportunist effort from Patrick Sweeney after he reacted quickest when a fisted point attempt from Eamon Brannigan came back off the post.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

 

 

Connacht Tribune

Turlough’s thumping of title holders opens up the hurling championship

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St Thomas’ v Turloughmore Senior Hurling Championship game at Kenny Park, Athenry. Dara Whelan, Turloughmore and Victor Manso, St Thomas’

Inside Track with John McIntyre

TURLOUGHMORE blew the Galway senior hurling championship wide open with an unexpected thumping of title holders St Thomas’ at Kenny Park on Saturday. With questions to answer after fading badly in an earlier group tie against Clarinbridge, Franny Forde’s charges achieved a statement victory which must have sent shock waves throughout the county.

Having come up narrowly short in the 2020 decider against St Thomas’ in front of empty terraces in Athenry, Turlough looked like a team primed to exploit significant under-age success, but they had a blow-out in last year’s preliminary quarter-final when surrendering a 10-point lead to rank outsiders Kilnadeema/Leitrim.

That left the team with questions to answer heading into 2022, and that disappointing 0-24 to 0-17 loss to Clarinbridge in August appeared to confirm that Turloughmore were missing the level of substance and belief in their ranks which potential champions require. But all bets are off after last Saturday’s demolition job of St Thomas’.

Carrying the day by a scarcely believable 2-23 to 0-14 against an admittedly out-of-sorts champions must do wonders for the squad’s confidence, and with Seán Loftus continuing to hurl up a storm in the group stages – seven points of his 1-12 total came from play – Turloughmore are now serious contenders for title glory.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

McStay getting Mayo post means Galway must be wary about 2023

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Mountbellew-Moylough's Leo Donnellan and Mikey Culhane of Salthill Knocknacarra battling for possession during Sunday's Senior Football Champiomship tie at Tuam Stadium. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

Inside Track with John McIntyre

Those of us who were thinking that a protracted period of dominance in the province lay ahead of the Galway footballers are probably revising that opinion in the light of Kevin McStay taking over the unluckiest team of all-time. When it comes to bad breaks, Mayo are in a league of their own.

Losing six All-Ireland finals – including the 2016 replay against Dublin – over the past decade has been gut wrenching for both players and supporters. There is only so much big-day misery a county can take, but Mayo remain the eternal optimists; their spirits unbroken. Football is their lifeblood, the pulse of everyday life up there.

Yet, even their most optimistic fans must have thought that the All-Ireland dream is finally over for Leer Keegan, Rob Hennelly, the O’Connors, Kevin McLaughlin and Aidan O’Shea after a tame quarter-final exit to Kerry this summer. Coming on the back of last year’s demoralising final defeat to Tyrone, the general presumption was that Mayo faced a significant period of transition.

It was no surprise when James Horan stood down as manager in the wake of the Kerry loss, with four candidates interested in filling the vacancy – McStay being joined in the race by Ray Dempsey, Mike Solan and Declan Shaw who all put together strong backroom teams with the likes of Armagh’s Oisín McConville and Sligo’s Eamon O’Hara seemingly willing to throw in their lot with Mayo.

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

Donoghue and Kelly join the list of outsiders hoping to work the oracle

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Ardrahan team manager Syl Dolan supported by his grandchildren Jack, Shay, Leo and PJ against Portumna in the county hurling championship in Gort last Saturday.

Inside Track with John McIntyre

Why is it that a majority of hurling counties regularly shun homegrown local managerial talent in favour of high-profile outsiders? Sure, such a scenario remains an anathema to the traditional powers of Kilkenny, Cork and Tipperary, but most of the rest regularly have their heads turned by non-natives.

The reality is that no county in nearly 25 years has lifted the McCarthy Cup with someone from beyond their borders in charge. Of course, Offaly are the one team which has benefited from having an outside influence, with Diarmuid Healy, Eamon Cregan and Galway’s own Michael Bond between them leading the Midlanders to All-Ireland glory on four different occasions.

But still the fad persists. Look at what’s ahead of us in 2023. A Galway man (Micheál Donoghue) taking over Dublin; another Galway man (Johnny Kelly) about to be installed as Offaly boss; a Tipperary man (Darragh Egan) in charge of Wexford; another Tipperary man (Darren Gleeson) still occupying the Antrim role; a Clare man (Davy Fitzgerald) back with Waterford, and the prospect of a Waterford man (Derek McGrath) filling the vacancy in Laois.

It has caught most Galway hurling observers by surprise that Donoghue is throwing in his lot with Dublin for a three-year term, especially as it’s only the Autumn of 2019 that he pulled the plug on his management of Galway, citing family reasons and a difficult working relationship with some local GAA officials.

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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