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Galway United make first signings for 2015 campaign

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Six of the Galway United squad which secured promotion to the Premier Division via the play-offs have signed with the club for the 2015 campaign.

Galway United manager Tommy Dunne expecting to add up to five more of the squad in the next 48 hours.

The club’s Player of the Season, Ryan Connolly, was the latest to put pen to paper with the club, and he joins Alex Byrne, Stephen Walsh, Jason Molloy, Ger Hanley and Jake Keegan in pledging their allegiance to a side that will revert to the name Galway United for the 2015 season.

Dunne is to speak to more of this season’s squad in the coming days, and hopes to finalise agreements with the likes of Marc Ludden, Gary Shanahan, Paul Sinnott, Conor Gleeson and Colm Horgan by tomorrow evening; while talks with Ryan Manning will begin after the club’s Young Player of the Year returns from international duty with the Irish U-19 side.

The budget for the 2015 season has been agreed by the Galway United board, and Dunne says it is along the lines of what he was expecting.

“Let’s just say there won’t be any million pound signings!” he said yesterday. “To be fair, the budget is what I was expecting, I wouldn’t have expected any more and we have to make that work as best we can now.

“The lads did the job this year, but of course making the step up to the Premier Division, we need to add a few bodies. We will need a bit of experience, I am looking at a few players, have made a few phone calls, but to be honest the money is fairly tight.

“It would be wrong to think we could compete on that level with the top sides, but I think with the players we had this year, if we can add a few more we’ll do okay,” he said.

Key to a successful season will be a strong start – Galway United certainly can’t afford to be as slow out of the blocks as they were in 2014, when they had to wait five games for a first win of the season. Athlone Town lost their first 10 games of the Premier Division campaign, and while they went on a late run of decent results, that poor start eventually cost them their place in the top flight.

Galway United can’t afford a similar start next season, but Dunne says that whatever start his side makes, his players will need the public to get behind them.

“There’s the saying that if the team does well, the fans will come out and support them, but for me, the fans need to come out for the club to do well. We need a minimum of 1,500 at every game, and I’d like to think that the clubs we will face will be a big attraction and I’d love to top the 4,000 mark at games, that would be a massive boost.

“Our fans were great to us this year, but we need more of them and on a consistent basis for next year. We played some lovely football, and if the people get behind us, it will help us build a successful team,” he said.

One of the big ‘hits’ with the fans last year was American striker Jake Keegan, and there is a chance he will be joined by more of his countrymen at the Dyke Road venue next season.

“Jake has signed, subject to a work permit being granted, but hopefully that won’t be a problem, and I’m not ruling out going to that side of the world for one or two more players. I have been told about a couple of players who could be worth a look at, so hopefully we’ll be able to get them over for a look,” Dunne said.

Pre-season training will begin on Monday January 12, and with the Premier Division fixtures list usually announced in December, it will be a busy few weeks for all involved with the club. Season tickets will go on sale in the coming weeks.

CITY TRIBUNE

Bragging rights go to NUIG Maree on opening weekend

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NUIG Maree's Eoin Rockall jumps to shoot as Grant Olsson of Moycullen tries to block in the Super League meeting between the sides in NUIG last Saturday. Photo: Ed Shiel.

NUIG Maree made it four straight wins over local rivals Moycullen in the Men’s Super League to get their 2021/22 campaign off to a winning start in the Kingfisher Gym last Saturday.

A tense game between two nervous-looking sides went the way of Charlie Crowley’s charges, though both sides will know there is plenty of scope for improvement in the weeks ahead.

NUIOG Mystics also made a winning start to their season, blowing away the challenge of the Marble City Hawks down in Kilkenny, and with a side featuring seven players who featured for Maree in the Women’s Super League two season ago, in addition to two string US imports, Paul O’Brien’s side could be dark horses for league honours this season.

Titans mase a welcome return to the national league on Saturday but their trip to league newcomers, Drogheda Wolves, ended in defeat, though jack Considine’s already young squad was hit by a raft of injuries ahead of the game, though taking a long-term view, the club is handing a lot of young players valuable league experience, which can only benefit Titans in the years ahead.

Maree  70

Moycullen 68

Super League basketball fans got a scintillating return to action Saturday night in NUI Galway as Moycullen and Maree played out a nail biter, with Maree scraping by as winners 70 to 68. writes Cian Nihill.

After an enthralling back and forth encounter, the local derby and season opener came down to the final minutes when six straight Grant Olsson points for Moycullen had the nominal visitors trailing by one with 24 seconds left and possession.

It would be Olsson again who took on the responsibility and, having dragged his side to within touching distance of the win, had to endure the heartache of seeing his 3-point attempt narrowly miss.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

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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

Hibs get off the mark with derby win over Rangers

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Mervue United goalkeeper Daire Geraghty gets his clearance away despite the challenge of Loughrea's Kieran Bane in Mervue's 5-2 league win over their visitors in Fahy's Field last weekend. Photo: Iain McDonald.

Soccer Wrap with Mike Rafferty

Recent seasons have proved to be somewhat of a struggle for Hibernians, but despite regular positioning in the lower regions of the Premier Division, they have always survived and in the current campaign with four teams to be relegated from the 12-team league, matters look like they will be very competitive for a number of teams to avoid the drop.

Just about six weeks into the new season, just four points separate the nine teams outside the top three and indeed just one point separates the bottom seven sides.

The action is competitive and indeed three of those lower positioned teams fashioned a first league win of the campaign over the weekend, with Hibernians the most impressive with a 5-0 success over Corrib Rangers.

Dean Cullinane, Shane Walsh, Jason McPhilbin, Jason McDonagh (pen) and Alex Murphy with his first senior goal all found the range for the Bohermore side on Sunday morning.

Maree/Oranmore were also convincing winners with a 3-0 away success over Tuam Celtic as Luke Smyth, Andrew Connolly and Pricewell Diala all found the range for the visitors.

Kerill Hardiman and Ryan Noone got the goals as Colemanstown United also fashioned a first win with a 2-1 success over a Corrib Celtic side for whom Shane Concannon got their lone reply.

Even at this early stage of the season, the challenge for Premier Division title looks to lie between three sides as Mervue United, Athenry and Salthill Devon appear to be the likely contenders.

Mervue United were making it five wins on the trot as they maintained their top position with a 5-2 win over Loughrea at Fahy’s Field. As ever, leading scorer Enda Curran found the range with a brace, as Jonathan Hannifin, Hakeem Ryan and Aaron Molloy also hit the target in a convincing success. Kieran Bane was on the mark with both goals for the visitors.

For more, read this week’s Galway City 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

Aki returns for daunting trip to Thomond Park

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Connacht’s Matthew Burke braces for a tackle from Aaron Wainright of the Dragons in last weekend's game in the Sportsground.

BY JOHN FALLON

The return of Bundee Aki will give Connacht a badly needed boost after their collapse against Dragons last weekend as they face into two crucial derby clashes against Munster this Saturday in Thomond Park (7.35pm)and then against Ulster in Aviva Stadium on Saturday week, October 23 (5.15pm)

Aki is set to become the first British and Irish Lion to play for Connacht in the professional era and Peter Wilkins, who has moved to a more senior role as well as taking charge of attack, said that Aki is gunning for action.

“The way we are playing gives him that little bit more freedom to express himself, and also for him to feed off the opportunity of other attackers around him. I think the way we are playing will suit him. He’s enjoying training and the details that goes into that. It’s enormously exciting for him and it’s great for us.

“Bundee’s specific role over the past few weeks was to get up to speed with the way we are trying to play in attack and defence. Obviously, there are way more changes to the way we are attacking so it has been him getting up to speed with that.

“There have been different avenues to that, there has been work off-field, one-on-one meetings with us as coaches, obviously he has had catch-ups with the players, with the leadership groups and he has been able to be on the grass at training in the past few weeks, observing, and then training with the group. So he has had a really nice layer of introductions to what we are trying to do.

For more, read this week’s Galway City 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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